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English essay too narrative

(14 Posts)
Allthebestnamesareused Mon 06-Nov-17 19:25:34

This was the only feedback given on DS's mock essay on Macbeth.

He asked the teacher again and was basically told the sameso doesn't want to ask again.

Any suggestions? I have read it. He has referred to historical context and given opinions too so I am not sure what else to suggest.

(Edexcel igcse by the way). any English teachers have any idea?

Fluffysparks Mon 06-Nov-17 19:26:42

DD didn’t get a target on her last piece and then got shouted at when her tracker was empty confused

elephantoverthehill Mon 06-Nov-17 19:31:57

Too narrative means basically just retelling the story instead of looking closely at the language, structure etc. I am not an English teacher but perhaps your DC could ask for an exemplar answer to see what is needed?

northcoastmum Mon 06-Nov-17 19:33:36

Too narrative suggests he’s been retelling the story, or stating opinions without really arguing in response to the question, or without enough textual support/analysis.

northcoastmum Mon 06-Nov-17 19:35:05

Also, using lots of historical context without clearly linking it to either the argument or analysis of language can make an essay more narrative.

KeiraTwiceKnightley Mon 06-Nov-17 19:45:13

I'm an English teacher. Too narrative means he is reliant on telling the story. He needs to focus on approx 3-4 scenes which really fit his question, then look at the way the language used shows this.

Eg If he is looking at whether Lady M is evil, he might use act 1sc5 where she says "look like the innocent flower/but be the serpent under it". Here he could talk about how she is expert at being two faced; she picks a beautiful aspect of nature which she describes as innocent (with all the connotations of purity and honesty) and juxtaposes this with a serpent - dangerous, aggressive etc. Could compound this further by relating to Adam and Eve and the woman tempting the man and causing both to fall.

Ttbb Mon 06-Nov-17 19:45:45

Well the historical context is barely relevant unless it contributes to an analysis of Shakespeare's use of characterisation. Instead of recounting the play (both the text and the play is a socio-historical context) your son should be making a literary analysis of the text. He should identify and amylose the use of literary techniques such as characterisation, symbolism, poetic techniques (metaphors, imagery etc) incorporating quotes within the text.

For example, if he wanted to discuss the play within a historical context his broad theme would be Shakespeare's characterisation of Macbeth as a villain to satisfy his mobarch's dislike of the historical figure.

In his introductory paragraph he would make an opening statement e.g. Shakespeare's Macbeth was portrayed as (insert appropriate quote about his fiendishness) contrary to true historical events in the author's attempt to please his morach. Then he would make three Sen races briefly introducing the themes of his body paragraphs. E.g. The author utilises evocative imagery (insert a few quotes) to communicate the duplicity of Macbeth's actions contrasted to his true 'desires'. Then a closing statement such as: Masterfully utilising techniques a, b, c, Shakespeare crafts a complex and multidimensional Macbeth that, while far from the genuine article, nonetheless creates an authentic character.

In his three body paragraphs he should choose one technique per paragraph through which the author statistics his aim of creating this sinister Macbeth. For example he could use imagery (dark imagery is a strong theme is the play, stars hide your fires undoubtably one of the most evocative and memorable words ever written by a man is simultaneous heart breaking my beautiful and sinister). Another technique may be setting. The majority of the play's significant scenes take place in dark and sinister settings (the encounter with the witches, the murder). This can be cobrasted with the 'above board' daylight scenes to illustrate Macbeth's duplicity. Lastly he may choose to analyse supporting characters with a particular focus on the female characters throwing into relief Macbeth's inner turmoils again the contrast between male and female characters can show duplicity. Think witches=evil ambitions, lady Macbeth, a guilty conscience and the deeply dare anger nature of his acts.

Lastly he must have a covlyding paragraph of about three sentences where he restated broad theme, the techniques he has observed and general closing statement on their success.

<going off to be nostalgic about English class now>

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 06-Nov-17 19:50:39

Thanks for the assistance.

It is to examine the extent to which Lady Macbeth is responsible for Macbeth's downfall. He has answered along the lines that to examine the extent that she is you have to look at other factors such as the witches influence and his own ambition being partly responsible. Do you think he has widened it out too much and shouldn't mention other factors? I thought he should because to examine the extent she is you have to see whatever things might have influenced him too.

He seems to have referred to text that supports her manipulating him and how , what the witches did and how his own ambition to be King play a part in his downfall. Again with relevant text.

The historical parts he refers to relate to "conspiracies to kill a king" - conspiracy between Lady M and M - topical conspiracy at the time Gunpowder plot. Witches - James 1 obsessed with witchcraft, play written specifically for him etc.

I thought it read quite nicely as was to the point with relevant quotes embedded etc!

Ttbb Mon 06-Nov-17 19:58:41

Ok right, so that is just a poorly worded question. He's not actually supposed to make an analysis of whether she was responsible or not but rather to analyse how the author deals with the questions of her culpability. So again he needs to pick three different techniques for three paragraphs. All analysis must compare and contrast Lady M with her husband. Best to do one that is damning of her, one that exonerates her and one that shows them to both be culpable in near equal measure.

Allthebestnamesareused Mon 06-Nov-17 20:11:53

Thank you. He now feels he has had a better steer as to what he is supposed to do.

northcoastmum Mon 06-Nov-17 21:59:56

Just to add, he doesn’t need to restrict himself to 3 paragraphs - I’ve never come across this advice in 16 years as an English teacher.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 07-Nov-17 11:57:59

He has amended it for homework , taking out the parts where he "narrated" the story, added in a few more embedded quotes to back up his points and I can assure you it didn't squeeze into 3 paragraphs!

Again thanks to everyone who gave me the ability to make useful suggestions. It seems so much more sophisticated a way of writing than when I did my O levels but maybe I have just forgotten over the passage of the 37 years since I took mine!

Pengggwn Sat 11-Nov-17 20:01:22

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Kerrys341 Tue 19-Dec-17 09:21:56

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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