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Elat 2012

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    I think we need a thread for the ELAT 2012. Post your essays on this thread and we could all contribute in marking and reviewing the answers?
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    Yess this seems like a good idea Slightly terrifying though aah!
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    Is anyone else struggling with the past papers in that many of the texts cannot be displayed due to copyright laws? Are they online elsewhere in full?
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    Some texts are online. I generally just do the ones that are on the paper and leave it at that. You could compile some texts together from an anthology with a similar theme if you run out.
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    Seeing as this thread has been rather inactive I've decided to post the practice ELAT I did (November 2009). Please read it and mark it if you like. Any criticism is welcome.


    ELAT November 2009


    In both John Milton’s ‘On Time’ and the extract from Shakespeare’s ‘Trolius and Cressida’ the idea of time is discussed and indeed demonized. Both texts, even with similar structure and imagery, convey time in a personalized way as a gobbling beast. Different perspectives and hopes of the speakers, however, disjoin these similarities between the texts. It seems that Milton’s poem has a focus on what occurs after time has been vanquished and Shakespeare’s excerpt is less concerned with the future and instead with reminiscing the past.

    Both texts use imagery to covey time as a hungry monster, snatching up events as they pass. In ‘Trolius and Cressida’ Ulysses describes time as having “a wallet at his back/ Wherein he puts alms for oblivion”. It seems that time is actually receiving charity here, the personification of a beggar with his alms is an interesting analogy. Shakespeare uses this comparison to show how we give to time and time cruelly “[devours]” us. Indeed, this idea is portrayed throughout Ulysses’ speech as he describes time as “envious”. We give him the gold that is our lives, emphasized in how Ulysses describes deeds as “new born gawds”, and instead of showing gratitude he takes such “good deeds” as “scraps”. So we see that from the start and end of his speech, time is seen as someone who is given something who then ungratefully devours it for his own liking. In Milton’s poem we see a similar idea of time ”[glutting] thyself with what thy womb devours”. Just like Ulysses, the speaker of this poem portrays the sin of time, the word ‘glut’ alluding to the deadly sin of gluttony and with the potent sound of the ‘t’ at the end of the word disgust resounds from the speaker. Indeed, the word ‘devour’ is used in some form in both texts, the diction of the two writers alluding to a similar picture of an avarice-ridden monster, consuming experiences in its wake. However, even in this regard there seems to be a difference between the two texts. Milton’s speaker almost encourages time to ‘glut’ its appetite, the word being an imperative. The speaker in this poem seems to be in control, demanding time to fulfill its desires rather than the other way around. However, the style of Ulysses is very much different, instead of a commanding tone we see the opposite, a feeble uselessness. Time is in a cool control as “a fashionable host”, Shakespeare implying that time controls the ‘event’ that is life, he is the one that decides to “[shake] his parting guest by the hand”. Time is in control.

    In the imagery of the two texts it is clear that there has been similarities and differences. These also exist in the way the texts are structured. Both the poem and Ulysses’ speech have no interruptions, akin to time itself both texts flow continuously without stanza breaks. Milton, unlike Shakespeare, uses rhyme to emphasize a different point. As the words rhyme at the end of the lines, in a cross-rhyming fashion initially, a contrast is represented between what the speaker wants time to do and what it is actually doing. The speaker urges it to “run out thy race”, the word aligned with “pace”, the fast-flowing ‘s’ sounds give the compulsion for time to move faster. Alternatively, what time is actually doing is much different and this is highlighted by the words in-between-“hours” and “devours”. The words are more laborious to say, ‘our’ being half way and ambiguously between one and two syllables, the actual sounds are “lazy-leaden” just as Milton describes. Such a contrast is not seen in Shakespeare’s text as Ulysses does not ask time to do anything. Instead he is controlled by time and this is even seen in the structure of the piece. He describes how deeds are “forgot as soon/As done”. Just as time restricts deeds it also restricts sentences, Ulysses almost forced to stop his speech with a full-stop, the audience being able to notice the pause, as his deeds are forgotten. The word ‘Time’ also seems to control its positioning within the speech. Ulysses personifies time from lines 1 to 31. At the start of this segment is the word ‘Time’ and at the end of the segment is the word ‘Time’. It encloses Ulysses, his thoughts and ideas are preceded and followed by this “great-siz’d monster”, which encapsulates him. Unlike Milton’s persona who orders time- “Fly envious Time, till thou run thy race”, his language littered with imperatives-Ulysses has no control. This is further evoked by the last three lines of this segment as the asyndeton of the list- “For beauty, wit,/High birth…etc”- relate to the enormity of time, able to entrap all of those elements.

    Within both texts there have been similarities in how time is presented but differences in the relationship between time and the speaker. This seems to be epitomized by the perspectives of the speakers in what they expect from time. Shakespeare’s extract opens with a look into the past, Achilles’ “What, are my deeds forgot?” Immediately, the focus is on former events and remembrance. In this battle with time Ulysses advises “Perseverance”, one must constantly initiate new ideas in order to be remembered. Re-invention is the key to please “the present eye [which] praises the present object”. This is in fear of being “trampled on” by those behind, a long line of aspiring youngsters who will diminish your past deeds. Indeed, these fears relate to a lack of control as Ulysses knows he will never outlast time, as recognized earlier time structurally and thematically encloses all and so he is a “[subject]” to time itself. Indeed, this seems to be the major difference between the two texts, Milton’s persona knows that he will outlive time into “Eternity” and so feels a sense of potency. It seems that this is also reflected in rhyme, the certainty of the speaker portrayed in couplets. Early in the poem, in a truncated couplet to mirror the loss of time itself, the speaker asserts his power: “And meerly mortal dross;/ So little is our loss,/ So little is thy gain”. The usage of iambic trimetre mirrors the “little” spoken, just as the line receives few syllables time gains little. This certainty of dominance is also seen in couplets later in the poem, for example: “Then all this Earthly grosness quit,/ Attir’d with stars, we shall forever sit”. The resolve and determined certainty of the speaker is mirrored by the perfect rhyme in couplets in the latter half of the poem as the speaker talks of eternity. No such confidence exists with Shakespeare’s text, Ulysses does not “[triumph]” but gives in to time, admitting his enclosure in the “present”.

    To conclude, both texts consider time and its malevolence but differ greatly on its power. Shakespeare’s text immediately focuses on the past and this co-exists with entrapment by the perpetual time. However, Milton’s speaker defeats time, assured in his faith by God (the synecdoche of the word ‘Throne’ being significant as it is the only ‘end word’ that does not rhyme within the poem, seen as a pivot in which the world revolves) that time will not defeat him. This gives the speaker confidence, a sense of optimism as he triumphs over time. Overall, it seems that the texts’ major differentiating factor is the attitude of the personas: Milton’s is confident in his faith using imperatives and certainties whereas Shakespeare’s text opens with ambiguity and a lack of confidence as Achilles questions the role of his past actions.
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    Wow This is amazing! I winced when I saw this question whilst looking through past papers, I think time/transience/mortality is a horrible theme :P But I thought you dealt with it extremely well You have some really interesting points, you make some good comparisons and you cover everything- language, structure, form, meaning
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    (Original post by Morgasm19)
    Wow This is amazing! I winced when I saw this question whilst looking through past papers, I think time/transience/mortality is a horrible theme :P But I thought you dealt with it extremely well You have some really interesting points, you make some good comparisons and you cover everything- language, structure, form, meaning
    Thank You. Has anyone else got any past ELAT answers that we could look at criticise (either positively or negatively), or compare?
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    So I thought that I'd smash out another one, the same applies- any criticism is welcome.


    ELAT November 2008


    Within George Eliot’s excerpt from ‘Middlemarch’ and Sonnet VII from Sir Philip Sidney beauty is represented and the way in which it is portrayed or released is analyzed. Both texts seem to have some sort of ‘portrait’ within them: Eliot’s by comparing the living female with the sculptured “Cleopatra” and Sidney’s sonnet by the black “veil” surrounding the eyes of Stella. The role of these portraits is in question and it seems that in Eliot’s text the portrait is ultimately restrictive to beauty whereas in Sidney’s sonnet it forms a protective function.

    Firstly, there are similarities in the texts in how they represent beauty. A common theme seems to be the use of angelic language, Sidney’s poem opening with such language: “When nature made her chief work, Stella’s eyes”. With the syntactical placement of ‘Stella’s eyes’ not only at the end of the line but also within a subordinate clause, the reader internally pauses at either end. The eyes are singled out, emphasized as unique objects separate from the dullness of other objects. The word ‘work’ gives the idea of nature laboring to knit such eyes with the upmost care and perfection, the word ‘chief’ implying something angelic or greater than human. This is only supported by the imagery pervading the rest of the poem: “beams so bright”, “brave gleams”, “sun-like”, and “dazzle”. The reference to light is prominent and alludes to Genisis. It could be argued that Sidney’s speaker is symbolically saying that the light of Stella’s eyes is creating life within, the idea of a sun nurturing the reader or the recipient of Stella’s stare. Similarly, we notice such angelic beauty in Eliot’s text. Just as Sidney uses structure to hold “Stella’s eyes” at the end of the line and in that subordinate clause, Eliot also holds the beauty of that nameless girl. The action in the first paragraph is remarkably quicker, the urgency of the “animated German”: “Come here quick”. This “Quickness” evaporates rapidly as Eliot almost cinematically zooms in on the two females, especially the “breathing-blooming girl”. As the narrator describes her hand and her breathing, this semi-onomatopoeic phrase, sounding powerfully with increased alliteration, captures not only the vivacity of the girl as we hear her breaths but also the beating hearts of the two spectators. Indeed, the action is dramatically postponed from lines 6 to 16 so that the reader can enjoy the description of the girl before things move on “immediately”. The imagery in this extract is also angelic- “a sort of halo to her face”, the scenario within the Vatican and the classical presence of the semi-deified Cleopatra. However, even within these descriptions, seemingly uniting the texts, there are subtle differences. Eliot’s female is passive whereas Sidney’s is active. The “halo” light illuminates the girl and Sidney’s Stella is a halo. This is symbolically represented in how Eliot’s girl is “fixed dreamily on a streak of sunlight” whereas Stella’s eyes are “sun-like” in their very being.

    This difference in language soon starts to gather importance when analyzing the portraits of the two texts. At first it seems that both portraits restrict their respective females. Her “Quakerish grey drapery” obliquely encloses the “breathing-blooming” girl, the clothes themselves surrounding her. The long cloak seems to be restrictive as it is “fastened at the neck”. This image implies imprisonment, the “grey” and restrictive nature of her garments are enclosing her beauty. Even the phrase “ungloved hand” implies restriction. The use of the negative ‘ungloved’ instead of a word like ‘bare’ emphasizes how the hand is usually ‘gloved’ and this happens to be a rare moment for the uncovering of her hand. This is even seen in the sculpture she is compared to, the German describing ‘the Cleopatra’ as “arrested”. Beauty in this text is thus restricted. This almost causes us to view the angelic or religious imagery in a different light, “she should be dressed as a nun” trying to hide and entrap her beauty or the “wedding ring” or “halo” a restrictive device, just like the “grey cloak” ‘fastening’ her. The idea of outside ‘portraits’ is also seen in Sir Philip Sidney’s sonnet. The ugly word, both in sound and visually, of “wrapt” to describe how the “beams” of Stella’s eyes are enclosed emphasizes how convoluted it is that such a beauty should be so restricted. The contrast via a rhetorical question that the speaker makes further proves this point: “Would she (nature) in beamy black, like painter wise,/ Frame daintiest lustre mixt of shades and light?”. The words ‘beamy black’, the distaste resounding with harsh alliteration, illuminate the distaste of the speaker that such light and beauty should be so enveloped. However, unlike Eliot, we see possible explanations for why such a portrait exists: “Lest if no veil…more dazzle than delight” and “she even in black doth make all beauties flow”. Sidney offers two explanations for why the black surrounding Stella’s eyes exists: so that they do not blind the one looking into them and that nature works so that beauty can be seen even through black. So the portrait of Stella’s eyes is eventually seen to be a magnifier of beauty and not as entrapping as first thought. Indeed, the alternating rhyme scheme mirrors how the black portrait and eyes complement each other. No such harmony exists in the restriction of Eliot’s female.

    Both writers directly consider the beauty of each female. However, they do not only represent such beauty and its shackles within the portrait by analyzing the females themselves but also by comparing them with other objects. Eliot’s female is compared to the marble statue of “the Cleopatra” and they are shown to be similar as they are both beautiful, the narrator describing the statue as in the “marble voluptuousness of her beauty”. But whereas the living girl is prevented by her garments and possibly her ring or the “halo” of light, the sculpture seems free “with a petal-like ease”. The word ‘voluptuousness’ implies sexual freedom, the word itself expansive and liberal in its length, representing the classical figure of Cleopatra perfectly, the exact opposite to the ‘nun-like’ living girl. The irony of this idea is that a woman that is encased in non-moving stone is in “complete contentment”, described as “not corpse-like even in death”, suggesting that the girl is ‘corpse-like even in life’. Alternatively, the use of contrast in Sidney’s poem is not to show restriction but instead to elaborate the beauty and power of “Stella’s eyes”. Contrast was remarked at earlier to show how the black surrounding the eyes actually complements the eyes’ beauty rather than diminishing it. The last three lines of the poem have a particularly effective dichotomy. The argument for Stella’s eyes’ beauty has been proved- “Be so and thus”- and now the speaker analyses the effect on the anonymous “him”. The language metamorphoses into death imagery in the sonnet’s ‘volta’, him having a “mourning weed/to honour all their deaths who for her bleed”. The first couplet of the text occurs at the very end, the emphasis on the strangled ‘ee’ sounds evokes how he is left lifeless in “mourning”. In his misery he acts as a contrast to Stella, leaving her beauty as even more joyous. Hence, the beauty of the females in Sidney’s poem aggrandizes the eyes’ beauty whereas Eliot’s girl is shown to be increasingly constrained.

    To conclude, the beauty of the two females in Sidney’s poem and Eliot’s excerpt is clear. Eliot’s female is hindered; even in the nuances of ‘light’ language Eliot’s female is passive whereas Sidney’s is active. This difference is shown to be even further cemented in how Sidney’s speaker proves that the ‘portrait’ and the comparison actually serves in highlighting the beauty of “Stella’s eyes” whereas the ‘portrait’ symbolically in both the clothes and ring of the living girl and the comparative sculpture of “the Cleopatra” is shown to entrap her initial beauty rather than complement it. From this thesis it could be argued that the suspension of the females’ beauty seen in both texts is a moment of rare uncovering in Eliot’s work and a showcase of wonderment in Sidney’s.
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    oooo yay! *watches*
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    (Original post by Wellie)
    So I thought that I'd smash out another one, the same applies- any criticism is welcome.
    Were both your essays done under timed conditions? Seriously impressed, if so.
    Also, do you reckon it is better to analyse and compare two texts, rather than three?
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    Anyone else struggling with actually writing these essays? I can analyse all the texts and pick out interesting points about them but when it comes to writing it down I am finding it surprisingly hard! I think i am probably over-thinking it and trying too hard to sound intelligent aha, anyone have any tips on how to structure these essays/ plan them or any other tips? Thanks!
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    Same here, organising the points into a coherent essay is the hardest and I think that by the time I manage it, I will only have time to write 2/3 sides. And I'm only comparing two extracts!
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    I'm going to go for a really basic structure, I'm comforting myself with the thought that I had a comparative essay to do in the exam and I got full marks, but I spent a year studying those texts so... It's the unseen-ness that unsettles me! I think my structure will probably go something like this: Introduction - note main similarities/differences between texts in terms of theme; Para 1 - similarities/differences between texts in terms of language; Para 2 - s/d in terms of style; Para 3 - s/d in terms of structure; Para 4 (if possible) - s/d in terms of anything else that catches my eye; Conclusion - sum up points succinctly.
    I think I'm going to go for two extracts as well, I could write about 3 if we had more time but I don't want to end up rushing or not finishing! D:
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    Its tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!
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    (Original post by SecretGarden)
    Its tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!
    I'm dying. I haven't written an essay since my exam in June, WHY AM I DOING THIS?!?!
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    I'm not from UK..scared out of my mind for tmrw!!!!!!
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    (Original post by NickyJWatkinson)
    I'm dying. I haven't written an essay since my exam in June, WHY AM I DOING THIS?!?!
    Oh really! Are you on a gap year? if so SNAP!!! To be honest I think if the creative juices are flowing all will be well Hopefully we will get a lovely topic and won't get a writer's block and cry :P
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    (Original post by SecretGarden)
    Oh really! Are you on a gap year? if so SNAP!!! To be honest I think if the creative juices are flowing all will be well Hopefully we will get a lovely topic and won't get a writer's block and cry :P
    Haha, yes, and I did badly in the ELAT last year which is making me more nervous (I did get an interview, but I'm trying to strike a balance between complacent and panicking, which is hard!) :P
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    (Original post by NickyJWatkinson)
    Haha, yes, and I did badly in the ELAT last year which is making me more nervous (I did get an interview, but I'm trying to strike a balance between complacent and panicking, which is hard!) :P
    Do you know what your score for the ELAT was? And what the minimum score you have to get is, in order to get an interview?
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    (Original post by Morgasm19)
    Do you know what your score for the ELAT was? And what the minimum score you have to get is, in order to get an interview?
    I am ashamed to say I got 41/60, and I've just re-googled everything, and it appears that candidates with 0-37 are "unlikely to be invited to interview, unless other factors outweigh the evidence of the test", 38-43 (me) are candidates who "may not be called unless there is other convincing evidence to suggest they ought to be interviewed" (in my case, this will have been the Classics aptitude test, which was pretty easy, written work, which was okay (grade A), personal statement (which was, looking back, not that good) and previous grades, which were not good! Haha so I must have got very lucky with the competition), 44-49 "should probably invited, provided other information supports this", and 50-60 are "most likely to be called to interview (unless other indicators strongly suggest otherwise)".
    All this from the explanation of ELAT results published last year: http://www.admissionstests.cambridge...sults_2011.pdf

    Now you can say no, but would any of you guys mind reading a practice ELAT I did today? Just for a bit of feedback, as my teachers from last year both refused to mark any and I haven't written an essay since 5 months ago, it would be nice to have an outside opinion.

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