Higher & National 5 Prelims

Close Reading, Creative Writing, Critical Essay Writing, Discursive Writing, Language, Welcome

Good luck to all Vale of Leven Academy pupils with their prelim exams on Monday. Work as hard as you can this weekend & do your very best. We have great faith in you all.

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Close Reading Challenge

Close Reading, Language

Please read the passage and answer the questions that follow:

Glasgow is a city which has experienced constant change and adaptation, from its period as a great industrial city and as the Second City of Empire, to its latter day reinvention as the City of Culture and the Second City of Shopping. This is a city with pull, buzz, excitement, and a sense of style and its own importance. It has a potent international reach and influence. Glasgow’s story continually weaves in and out of a global urban tapestry: following the trade threads of Empire, there are nearly two dozen towns and cities around the world named after Glasgow—from Jamaica to Montana to Nova Scotia. And there is even a Glasgow on the moon.

Glasgow’s constant proclamation of its present success story is justified on the basis that it benefits the city: confidence will breed confidence, tourists will visit, businesses will relocate and students will enrol. But, despite the gains this approach has brought for Glasgow and cities like it, there are signs that the wind is starting to come out of the sails. What felt radical when Dublin, Barcelona and Glasgow embarked on the city makeover path in the late 1980s and early 1990s, now feels derivative and is delivering diminishing returns. When every city has commissioned a celebrity architect and pedestrianised a cultural quarter, distinctiveness is reduced to a formula.

(a) Explain why, according to the writer, Glasgow was in the past an important world city. (1) U

(b) Explain why Glasgow could be considered important now. (1) U

(c) Show how the writer’s use of language (“This is a city . . . the moon.”) emphasises Glasgow’s importance. (2) A

(d) What does the writer mean by the words “radical” and “derivative” in his discussion of city development? (2) U

(e) Show how the writer’s use of language in the second paragraph suggests his doubts about the alleged “success story” of Glasgow. (4) A

Imagery Practice

Close Reading, Language

Comment on the imagery used in the following extracts:
______________________________________

The shipyard cranes have come down again
To drink at the river, turning their long necks
And saying to their reflections on the Clyde,
“How noble we are.”
______________________________________

The gas mantle putted like a sick man’s heart. Dimmed to a bead of light, it made the room as mysterious as a chapel. The polished furniture, enriched by darkness, entombed fragments of the firelight that moved like tapers in a tunnel. The brasses glowed like icons.
______________________________________

But pleasures are like poppies spread:
You sieze the flow’r, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white – then melts for ever.
______________________________________

Textual Analysis Practice

Language, Textual Analysis

Read this extract from ‘Oliver Twist,’ by Charles Dickens, answering the questions that follow.

The room in which the boys were fed was a large stone hall, with a copper at one end; out of which the master, dressed in an apron for the purpose, and assisted by one or two women, ladled the gruel at mealtimes. Of this festive composition the boys had one porringer and no more – except on occasions of public rejoicing when he had two ounces and a quarter of bread besides. The bowls never wanted washing. The boys polished them with their spoons again till they shone again; and when they had performed this operation (which never took very long, the spoons being nearly as large as the bowls), they would sit staring at the copper, with such eager eyes, as if they could have devoured the very bricks of which it was composed; employing themselves meanwhile, in sucking their fingers most assiduously, with the view of catching up any stray splashes of gruel that might have been cast thereon. Boys have generally excellent appetites. Oliver Twist and his companions suffered the tortures of slow starvation for three months. At last they got so voracious and wild with hunger, that one boy who was tall for his age, hinted darkly to his companions that unless he had another basin of gruel, he was afraid he might some night happen to eat the boy sleeping next to him, who happened to be a weakly youth of tender age. He had a wild, hungry eye and they implicitly believed him. A council was held; lots were cast for who should walk up to the master after supper that evening and ask for more; and it fell to Oliver Twist.

The evening arrived; the boys took their places. The master, in his cook’s uniform, stationed himself at the copper; his pauper assistants ranged themselves beside him; the gruel was served out; and a long grace was said over short commons. The gruel disappeared; the boys whispered to each other and winked at Oliver; while his next neighbours nudged him. Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity,-

“Please, sir, I want some more.”

The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed with stupified astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds; and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralyzed with wonder, the boys with fear.

“What!” said the master at length, in a faint voice.

“Please, sir,” replied Oliver, “I want some more.”

The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle, pinioned him in his arms, and shrieked aloud for the beadle.

Questions

1) How does the author use sentence structure to convey the hunger of the boys in paragraph 1. (3)

2) How does the context of “temerity,” in the 2nd paragraph help you to understand its meaning? (2)

3) How does the author use word choice in the 4th paragraph to convey the reaction of the master to Oliver’s request? (2)

4) How effective is Charles Dickens in conveying the contrast between those who distributed the food and those who ate it. (3)

Textual Analysis Practice

Language, Textual Analysis

Read the following Robert Frost poem and answer the questions below. Please bring your answers and a copy of the poem to class tomorrow.

Design

I found a dimpled spider, fat and white,
On a white heal-all, holding up a moth
Like a white piece of rigid satin cloth –
Assorted characters of death and blight
Mixed ready to begin the morning right,
Like the ingredients of a witches’ broth –
A snow-drop spider, a flower like a froth,
And dead wings carried like a paper kite.

What had that flower to do with being white,
The wayside blue and innocent heal-all?
What brought the kindred spider to that height,
Then steered the white moth thither in the night?
What but design of darkness to appall?
If design govern in a thing so small.

Robert Frost

______________________________________________________________________________________

a) In what ways does the choice of words to describe the spider in line 1 seem inappropriate or surprising?

b) Explain how the poet suggests fragility and beauty in the following images:

         “a moth / like a white piece of satin cloth”

         “dead wings carried like a paper kite.”

Technical Accuracy Test

Language

Rewrite the following passage, inserting all appropriate punctuation.

__________________________

two examiners have been suspended after claims that teachers were given secret advice on how to improve their pupils exam results the Welsh Joint Education Committee confirmed that it had suspended paul evans and paul barnes both chief examiners evans had been recorded by the daily telegraph saying were cheating were telling you the cycle of the compulsory question probably the regulator will tell us off the exam board said in a statement we take the daily telegraphs allegations very seriously indeed and we are investigating the circumstances revealed by their undercover reporter as a matter of urgency ministers have ordered an inquiry into the claims that examiners gave detailed advice on exam topics in seminars that teachers paid to attend glenys stacey chief executive of the exams regulator told bbc radio 4s today programme that it was certainly not acceptable for examining bodies to tell teachers about the cycle of question setting so that they have a good idea what questions their pupils will face the education secretary michael gove has asked ofqual to investigate the claims and report back in two weeks in a statement gove said the revelations confirm that the current system is discredited

_____________________________

 

Close Reading Advice

Close Reading, Language

Close Reading Method

  • Make sure you’re confident about how to tackle each question type.
  • Revise your answering method just before you tackle a practice paper in class.
  • Make sure the time you spend on each question corresponds with the mark value (no use spending 10 minutes on a 1-mark question).

 

Tackling Understanding Questions

 

  • Read the question very carefully. Highlight the relevant lines of the passage.
  • You must prove you understand the reference, so there is no use just quoting it – remember to explain in your own words.

 

Imagery Questions

  • Read question carefully.
  • Highlight any examples of imagery in the lines you’re asked to look at. This means looking for metaphors, similes and/or personifications.
  • Quote the image(s) in your answer.
  • Explain what is being compared with what (literal origin), using different words from the ones you quoted.
  • Explain how this comparison helps the writer to make a point or achieve an effect.

 

Word Choice Questions

  • Read question carefully. Highlight any words that will help you answer the question.
  • Decide which quotations you want to use in your answer. Quote one word or phrase at a time and discuss its connotations. (Connotations are the ideas or associations that come into your mind when you read this word or phrase.)
  • Make sure you focus on particular words or phrases – don’t quote too much at once or it won’t be clear which bits you’re talking about.

 

‘Link’ Questions

  • Make sure you understand the point that has been made just before and after the link sentence.
  • Highlight the word(s) in the link sentence that connects back to the previous point.
  • Highlight the word(s) in the link sentence that connects forward to the point that follows.
  • In your written answer, quote the word(s) that links back and explain the point to which it links in your own words. Then quote the word(s) that links forward and explain the point to which it links in your own words.

Common mistakes

  • Not reading the question properly – discussing one example when it’s meant to be two, for example.
  • Identifying a language feature successfully but then failing to explain how it works.
  • Spending too much time on low-mark questions and not getting to the high-mark questions at the end.

 

Textual Analysis – Directed Questions on ‘Emma.’

Language, Textual Analysis

Reread the following extract from ‘Emma,’ by Jane Austin, answering the questions that follow. ______________________________________________________________

Never had the exquisite sight, smell, sensation of nature, tranquil, warm, and brilliant after a storm, been more attractive to her. She longed for the serenity they might gradually introduce, and … she lost no time ill hurrying into the shrubbery. – There, with spirits freshened and thoughts a little relieved, she had taken a few turns, when she saw Mr. Knightley passing through the garden door and coming towards her.

It was the first intimation of his being returned from London. She had been thinking of him the moment before as unquestionably sixteen miles distant. – There was time only for the quickest arrangement of mind. She must be collected and calm. In half a minute they were together. The “How d’ye do’s” were quiet and constrained on each side. She asked after their mutual friends; they were all well… He meant to walk with her, she found. “He had just looked into the dining-room, and as he was not wanted there, preferred being out of doors.”

She thought he neither looked nor spoke cheerfully; and the first possible cause for it, suggested by her fears, was, that he had perhaps been communicating his plans to his brother, and was pained by the manner in which they had been received. They walked together. He was silent. She thought he was often looking at her, and trying for a fuller view of her face than it suited her to give. And this belief produced another dread. Perhaps he wanted to speak to her, of his attachment to Harriet; he might be watching for encouragement to begin. She did not, could not, feel equal to lead the way to any such subject. He must do it all himself. Yet she could not bear this silence. With him it was most unnatural.

She considered – resolved – and, trying to smile, began – “You have some news to hear, now you are come back, that will rather surprise you.” “Have I?” said he quietly, and looking at her; “of what nature?” “Oh! the best nature in the world — a wedding.” After waiting a moment, as if to be sure she intended to say no more, he replied, “If you mean Miss Fairfax and Frank Churchill, I have heard that already.” “How is it possible?” cried Emma, turning her glowing cheeks towards him; for, while she spoke, it occurred to her that he might have called (on Harriet Smith) in his way. “I had a few lines on parish business from Mr. Weston this morning, and at the end of them he gave me a brief account of what had happened.”

Emma was quite relieved, and could presently say, with a little more composure, “You probably have been less surprised than any of us, for you have had your suspicions. – I have not forgotten that you once tried to give me a caution. – I wish I had attended to it – but -” (with a sinking voice and a heavy sigh) “I seem to have been doomed to blindness.” For a moment or two nothing was said, and she was unsuspicious of having excited any particular interest, till she found her arm drawn within his, and pressed against his heart, and heard him thus saying, in a tone of great sensibility, speaking low, “Time, my dearest Emma, time will heal the wound. — Your own excellent sense — your exertions for your father’s sake – I know you will not allow yourself. -” Her arm was pressed again, as he added, in a more broken and subdued accent, “The feelings of the warmest friendship – Indignation – Abominable scoundrel!” – And in a louder, steadier tone, he concluded with, “He will soon be gone. They will soon be in Yorkshire. I am sorry for her. She deserves a better fate.”

Emma understood him; and as soon as she could recover from the flutter of pleasure excited by such tender consideration, replied, “You are very kind – but you are mistaken – and I must set you right. – I am not in want of that sort of compassion.” _______________________________________________________________________

Questions

1. By referring to lines 1-2, show how the word choice and sentence structure highlight the beauty of nature for Emma at that moment. (4)

2. In Paragraph 3, what does Emma  think about the demeanour of Mr Knightley and how does she explain this to herself? Provide two pieces of evidence to support your answer. (3)  

3. How does the structure of the opening two lines of paragraph 4 affect our understanding of Emma’s state of mind? (2)

4. By the end of this passage, how do you feel towards the character of Emma OR Mr Knightley and why? You should support your answer with evidence from the whole extract.

Textual Analysis Practice – Emma

Language, Textual Analysis

Below, you will find an extract from ‘Emma,’ by Jane Austin. Read this carefully, underlining all examples of the following:

• Interesting Word Choice

• Imagery

• Interesting Sentence Structure

Pick one example of each of these techniques and fully analyse it, explaining what it suggests to the reader.

This will form the basis of a class discussion tomorrow. Please ensure you have it with you.

_______________________________________________________________________

Never had the exquisite sight, smell, sensation of nature, tranquil, warm, and brilliant after a storm, been more attractive to her. She longed for the serenity they might gradually introduce, and … she lost no time ill hurrying into the shrubbery. – There, with spirits freshened and thoughts a little relieved, she had taken a few turns, when she saw Mr. Knightley passing through the garden door and coming towards her.

It was the first intimation of his being returned from London. She had been thinking of him the moment before as unquestionably sixteen miles distant. – There was time only for the quickest arrangement of mind. She must be collected and calm. In half a minute they were together. The “How d’ye do’s” were quiet and constrained on each side. She asked after their mutual friends; they were all well… He meant to walk with her, she found. “He had just looked into the dining-room, and as he was not wanted there, preferred being out of doors.”

She thought he neither looked nor spoke cheerfully; and the first possible cause for it, suggested by her fears, was, that he had perhaps been communicating his plans to his brother, and was pained by the manner in which they had been received. They walked together. He was silent. She thought he was often looking at her, and trying for a fuller view of her face than it suited her to give. And this belief produced another dread. Perhaps he wanted to speak to her, of his attachment to Harriet; he might be watching for encouragement to begin. She did not, could not, feel equal to lead the way to any such subject. He must do it all himself. Yet she could not bear this silence. With him it was most unnatural.

She considered – resolved – and, trying to smile, began – “You have some news to hear, now you are come back, that will rather surprise you.” “Have I?” said he quietly, and looking at her; “of what nature?” “Oh! the best nature in the world — a wedding.” After waiting a moment, as if to be sure she intended to say no more, he replied, “If you mean Miss Fairfax and Frank Churchill, I have heard that already.” “How is it possible?” cried Emma, turning her glowing cheeks towards him; for, while she spoke, it occurred to her that he might have called (on Harriet Smith) in his way. “I had a few lines on parish business from Mr. Weston this morning, and at the end of them he gave me a brief account of what had happened.”

Emma was quite relieved, and could presently say, with a little more composure, “You probably have been less surprised than any of us, for you have had your suspicions. – I have not forgotten that you once tried to give me a caution. – I wish I had attended to it – but -” (with a sinking voice and a heavy sigh) “I seem to have been doomed to blindness.” For a moment or two nothing was said, and she was unsuspicious of having excited any particular interest, till she found her arm drawn within his, and pressed against his heart, and heard him thus saying, in a tone of great sensibility, speaking low, “Time, my dearest Emma, time will heal the wound. — Your own excellent sense — your exertions for your father’s sake – I know you will not allow yourself. -” Her arm was pressed again, as he added, in a more broken and subdued accent, “The feelings of the warmest friendship – Indignation – Abominable scoundrel!” – And in a louder, steadier tone, he concluded with, “He will soon be gone. They will soon be in Yorkshire. I am sorry for her. She deserves a better fate.”

Emma understood him; and as soon as she could recover from the flutter of pleasure excited by such tender consideration, replied, “You are very kind – but you are mistaken – and I must set you right. – I am not in want of that sort of compassion.” _______________________________________________________________________

Technical Accuracy Exercise – Answers

Language

In 1798, an English clergyman, the Reverend Thomas Malthus, predicted that one day the population of the world would outstrip the globe’s ability to feed it. He based this on a simple and, on the face of it, unarguable premise: population grows exponentially – increasing by a set percentage per year – while food production grows arithmetically, by a set quantity per year. Even the smallest exponential progression will, given enough time, outstrip any arithmetical one. Eventually, by the relentless laws of mathematics and demography, humanity would overreach itself and face mass starvation.

According to the United Nations, the world is growing by 80 million people per year – more than two every second. Clearly, the dire predictions have not come to pass: England and America are not starving, and there has been no great population collapse. So what has happened?

In short: technology. Malthus was wrong not because of his mathematics, but because of his inability to see into the future. His belief that humanity’s ability to feed itself would grow only arithmetically did not take into account the rise of agricultural efficiency, of industrial farming, of fertilisers and chemicals. At the time he wrote, 20,000 square metres of agricultural land were required to feed one person. Now, only 2,000 square metres is needed.

However, the fact that previous soothsayers have been wrong does not mean that the future is necessarily secure. It means that humanity is overconfident in its ability to predict it. The author Dan Gardner points out that it’s not new: “If you look at the history of demographic predictions, they are not only often wrong, they are routinely wrong. And we swing from one to the other: we swing from fear of overpopulation to under population and back again. If you go back to the 1930s, you’ll find many smart people – George Orwell among them – saying that it’s terrifying that Britain will be completely depopulated by the 1980s.”

We must not be complacent: more than a billion people worldwide are starving or undernourished, and the world’s population is growing by more than 200,000 people a day. Human ingenuity is needed now as much as ever. But the seven billionth human is not necessarily a harbinger of disaster: and anyone who confidently says otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about.