Thursday, June 10, 2010

Leaving Cert English Higher Paper 2

It's all over for our Leaving Cert English candidates, with the literature paper finishing half an hour ago. As yesterday with Paper 1, here's a quick response to the Higher Level paper (all but 2 of our pupils sat it).

There were two oddly similar King Lear single text questions, both essentially on the nature of goodness and badness, with no named characters - 'Honour and loyalty triumph over brutality and viciousness' and 'The villainous characters hold more fascination for the audience than the virtuous ones' (issues dealt with in at least three of our podcasts). The comparative questions featured General Vision and Viewpoint and Literary Genre, and the two 'unsplit' questions were more specific and perhaps more tricky than normal: 'the general vision and viewpoint of a text can be determined by the success or failure of a central character in his/her efforts to achieve fulfilment' and 'the unexpected is essential to the craft of storytelling.' The 30/40 split questions were more bland and straightforward.

Poetry: the big excitement is always 'who comes up': in 2010, Yeats, Rich, Kavanagh and Eliot. All these questions were straightforward. Finally, the unseen poem was 'Seed' by Paula Meehan (pictured), in which she blesses 'the power of seed, its casual, useful persistence.' Quite a dense poem, which certainly left plenty of scope for able candidates. A little irony, too: Meehan's most recent book, Painting Rain, is dedicated to Eavan Boland, about whose absence from the paper there's plenty of fuss on the airwaves right now.

Overall, a fair paper with a bit of bite. Good luck to the candidates in all their other subjects now...

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