Thursday, June 09, 2016

English Paper 2 2016

Our Sixth Formers have just finished their marathon in the sticky heat. English Literature is over, and most seemed tired but happy with the exam papers.

First, the answer to the tedious question: Emily Dickinson, T.S.Eliot, Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Durcan. Only worth just over half the marks available for the Unseen poem (this time one from the Polish writer Czeslaw Milosz - why not a poem originally written in English, and why no credit for the co-translator of 'And Yet the Books'? Robert Haas), but still. The questions were fair, and not too wordy.

Our candidates, like most others', studied King Lear as the single text, and both questions were untroublesome: Lear and Gloucester compared, and 'the destructive and redemptive power of love' (those two adjectives may have sidetracked some - were they both properly addressed, and did all candidates understand 'redemptive'?).

For the comparative, it was Cultural Context and Genre. 'Challenging aspects' of cultural contexts might have tested some. 'Authors can use various techniques to make settings real and engaging' for Genre will have had some candidates straying into Cultural Context, but no problem if under control.

No problems either for the small number of Ordinary candidates. Evidence that life is sometimes difficult for Gloucester is not exactly hard to find. Relationships and social setting for the comparative, and easy enough poems too ('Filling Station' and 'I felt a funeral' we'd already tested). Good choice for the Unseen, too: the lovely 'Mother, Washing Dishes' by Susan Myers.

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