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AQA Literature - Love Through the Ages

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    I was looking through past papers and mark schemes whilst practicing for the exam on June 20th. I am little stuck with context, which is a quarter of the marks. How and what is everyone else writing? Our teacher tried doing a lesson focusing on what to include but ended up going off in a completely different direction, any help is appreciated
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    Our teacher puts SO much emphasis on context. She tells us to write about Courtly love (earl 13th-14th C), and anything we know about the time period. If it's the Victorian period, we'll talk about the strict social conventions, early feminism, how women are repressed in society and try to relate it to the text.

    Or if its a modern piece, such as in the 60s, you can talk about the sexual revolution, how people had more freedom and that the text is obviously going to be more potent than something of the Victorian ages, because the writer would have had more freedom.

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    I got full marks last year and included things like:

    -When it was written
    -The status of the person writing it and the significance (woman in 1600s, unusual etc)
    -The reception it may have had at the time/now.
    -Any references to current affairs at the time (Henry VIII by Shakespeare/Fletcher was written to appease pro-Elizabeth audiences, The Rover by Aphra Behn was considered to have references to Charles II)

    I tried to include these things throughout the piece rather than just a paragraph at the beginning. For example, one of the questions was on 'They flee from me that sometime did me seek', Wyatt and I talked about how at the time he was writing short-lived sexual relationships and the idea of courtly love were prominent, as well as his potential link with Anne Boleyn...

    Does that help?
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    For example in 'Antony and Cleopatra' is it revelent to say that it was written just after the death of Elizabeth 1 and therefore Cleopatra represents Elizabeth and her power, with James 1st then joining England and Scotland as Cesaer tries to join Rome and Egypt. Or is this too much historical opposed to contextual knowledge?
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    (Original post by VictoriaL)
    For example in 'Antony and Cleopatra' is it revelent to say that it was written just after the death of Elizabeth 1 and therefore Cleopatra represents Elizabeth and her power, with James 1st then joining England and Scotland as Cesaer tries to join Rome and Egypt. Or is this too much historical opposed to contextual knowledge?
    Perfect, but always use 'could represent or at the time it was written, Cleopatra was often thought to represent...showing that you dont think it is a set fact.
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    Thanks, we had our examiner come in and say we needed to get the context from the text we were presented with, so our teachers have been focusing on that rather than historical facts
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    (Original post by VictoriaL)
    Thanks, we had our examiner come in and say we needed to get the context from the text we were presented with, so our teachers have been focusing on that rather than historical facts
    If the historical facts fit with the text though, that's entirely fine. You've got to make sure you get the balance right.
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    (Original post by hr30)
    If the historical facts fit with the text though, that's entirely fine. You've got to make sure you get the balance right.
    Just look at the era the text is from- The 19th Century is most likely to be the romantic poets, who typically use imagery of the pastoral and love of nature within their poems, think Wordsworth.
    I think you can also consider a little about the writer's own thoughts and feelings, for example I did a practice essay on a Larkin poem, which may have represented his own thoughts and feelings on the subject of love in a more sexually free era (the 1960s)
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    (Original post by PrinceSarah)
    Just look at the era the text is from- The 19th Century is most likely to be the romantic poets, who typically use imagery of the pastoral and love of nature within their poems, think Wordsworth.
    I think you can also consider a little about the writer's own thoughts and feelings, for example I did a practice essay on a Larkin poem, which may have represented his own thoughts and feelings on the subject of love in a more sexually free era (the 1960s)
    Not sure why you've quoted , but yes, what you've said is entirely right its as much as you know or can deduce about the text. So historical facts that are relevant, combined with knowledge about the writer's own life and the literary period in general are all useful.
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    Hey, sometimes quoting is fun

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Updated: May 11, 2012
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