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Louise's current project is to make all her sweet romances available on the internet.
Look out for her new Regency romance, Regency Fortune, coming soon!


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Creating a Thesis Statement - Hamlet

Revision for AQA English Language and Literature B - Talk in Life and Literature

An essay that focuses on analysis usually contain one or more key words such as describe, examine, explore.

These questions ask you to evaluate: they require you to give your opinion, to make a judgment call. This means you can't sit on the fence. You have to take a stand. Students sometimes say they have no idea about the text, but if pressed will offer a comment that gets everyone laughing. This is what I call  a ‘BIG IDEA’ and it's important. Once you have an idea, you can turn it into a thesis statement. All you do is put your idea into academic language. The best essays come from an idea that interests you and connects to the material in the extract that you have to write about in the exam.

Big Idea: I think Horatio was a big wuss. Thesis Statement: It could be argued that Horatio’s role is that of confidant and chorus.
Big Idea: Hamlet was well OTT. Thesis statement: Hamlet is not just the archetypal revenge hero; he is the most introspective, the most melancholic, the most pensive hero ever.

Be confident - your ideas about Hamlet are worth reading, and your essay will be easier to write if you are saying what you truly think.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Poetry Comparision Essay Template

I know some people regard essay templates with hatred because they stifle creativity and can be limiting - as any model can if it is used too rigidly - on the other hand, if you are drowning in the deep end of essay writing, a template can feel like a lifebelt. Regard this template as baby-pink water wings! It is designed for the poetry section of the WJEC English Literature Exam, and it is based on work done in class, so it's by no means comprehensive, but if any part of it is useful, feel free to cut, paste and adapt.

Link to Handout on Poetry Comparison Essay.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Writing a Text Book

Being that writers should write, and I can't think of a story right now, it occurred to me that a text book might be a good idea, especially because there seems to be a gap in the market. I've been looking at books about writing essays because most of my students need help with this, but the books on the market seem to be a) tediously dull and b) aimed at university students. There is some helpful stuff on the Internet, but it's fragmentary. There isn't a bright, clear, interesting book aimed at people in the first year of A-level study - or if there is, I haven't found it yet.

A lot of English Literature teachers don't teach their students how to write essays - mine didn't, not at night school, not at university. My PGCE mentor didn't. It was Andy, who had the benefit of a Grammar school education, who taught me how to answer the question being asked and structure an essay. Students spend thousands of hours taking information in, but very few in organising it out again - and yet that's what you get marked on. You won't even get into university if you don't write a good enough essay to pass your exams.

I thought I could post my notes here, and then if I have enough material, organise it all into a book. Sounds like a plan.