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    AQA GCE English Language and Literature (B)
    Module 6 Critical Approaches
    This module is sometimes known as the synoptic module. It is worth 20% of your final mark.


    Assessment Objectives

    AO1 (2.5%) Communicate clearly the knowledge, understanding and insights gained from the combination of literary and linguistic study, using appropriate terminology and accurate written expression.

    AO2ii (7.5%) Respond with knowle3dge3 and understanding of texts of different types and from different periods, exploring and commenting on relationships and comparisons between them.

    AO3ii (5%) Use and evaluate different literary and linguistic approaches to the study of written and spoken language, showing how these approached inform their readings.

    AO4 (2.5%) Show understanding of the ways contextual variation and choices of form, style and vocabulary shape the meaning of texts.

    AO5 (2.5%) Identify and consider the ways attitudes and values are created and conveyed in speech and writing.

    What You Have to Do

    This module requires you to explain and interpret unseen and unprepared texts that you have not specifically studied.

    You must be able to:

    apply different critical approaches and justify the particular approach you use when you examine the texts

    make connections between the texts, using appropriate literary and linguistic concepts

    use appropriate vocabulary to discuss the different kinds of text.

    analyse the difference between spoken and written language.

    explore the importance of audience, purpose and context when looking at the texts.

    analyse and evaluate the ways in which attitudes and values are conveyed or implied in texts


    How It Works

    Three days before the exam you will be given the pre-release material.

    The pack will contain 10-12 texts from a variety of genres, both literary and non-literary, fiction and non-fiction, modern and historical.

    You will need to read and study the texts and make brief annotations which you can take into the examination with you. The annotation must not go beyond individual words and phrases.

    Your teachers are not allowed to discuss the texts with you.

    The examination will be 2 ½ hours, including ½ hour reading time.

    With the exam paper will be two more texts which you will not have seen before. All the texts will be thematically linked.

    Normally, there will be two questions. The first requires discussion of the texts themselves, the second asks you to comment on the methods you used to analyse the texts.

    The first question carries 50 marks, the second 20. You should therefore spend more time on the first question. In the days preceding the exam you should explore the relationships and comparisons that may be made between the pre-release texts.


    Reading the pre-release material

    When you receive the pre-release material it is important that you set aside enough time to read and study the texts thoroughly. The first thing you will want to do is classify the texts. (See module 1).

    An initial classification could be based on binary opposites. However, be aware that this can only be a very broad classification method and you should be prepared to find that the material you have is too complicated to fit neatly into these categories.

    Binary classification:
    Fiction/non-fiction
    Formal/informal
    Speech/writing
    Standard/non-standard
    Prose/poetry
    Drama/dialogue

    Another way of classifying the material is to look at how it varies across two axes, the synchronic/diachronic. (See module 2). This will enable you to look at the texts in the context of history and the development of language and literature. The vertical axis, the synchronic (variations at a single point in time), suggests that all texts produced at a particular historical moment share the same qualities. This may not always be sufficient. A look along the horizontal axis, the diachronic will allow you to comment on significant factors such as:

    social dialect
    geographical dialect
    register
    idiolect

    Frameworks

    The following frameworks can provide a useful point of reference for your study of the texts. However, they are not as clear cut as they appear to be. Any difficulty in applying one or more of the frameworks to a text is itself worth commenting upon.

    Literary/non-literary

    What is literature? There are bound to be areas of overlap here. By exploring these you could challenge the distinction between them.

    Poetry/prose/drama

    The three main genres of literature provide a seemingly neat and useful distinction. However, consider poetry in Shakespearean drama, dramatic monologues in novels, autobiographical texts written as novels. What about poetic descriptions in prose and narrative in poetry?

    Genre/purpose/audience

    Look for and comment upon areas of overlap in this framework.

    Conversation/dialogue

    Dialogue is often said to be the literary representation of conversation. Yet there are areas of overlap apparent here too. Be aware of these and comment on them.

    Literary/linguistic approaches

    Should you use a literary or a linguistic approach? Remember that the distinction, as with other frameworks, is difficult to maintain. Close linguistic analysis of texts is often referred to as Stylistics, while a more traditional literary approach is called Practical Criticism. Use whichever approach (or both) best serves your purpose.

    Context

    However you decide to look at the texts, a systematic way of looking at their context can help you organise your responses. You will need to examine:

    Audience: the original intended audience and the modern audience. Consider: age, ethnic identity, gender, social status, values and attitudes.

    Purpose: the function(s) of the text. Inform, persuade, instruct or entertain?

    Mode: written or spoken language? Representations of a spoken language?

    Social, economic and political structures: how was society organised? Who had power? What were the issues of the day? Who opposed those in power?

    Historical Background: How did society view the Arts? What events were considered significant? Who were the real people upon whom the texts were based?

    Genre: What is the genre of the text? Did the writer produce the text within or against the conventions of the particular genre?

    Cultural practices and values: the accepted ways of behaving. What are the rituals, values and beliefs which bind groups together and make them recognisably different from other groups?


    Attitudes and Values

    Whether we realise it or not, whenever we communicate with others we are conveying attitudes and values. It is important to ask two questions:

    Am I being encouraged to share the writer’s particular outlook or assumptions?

    How am I being encouraged to share the writer’s outlook or agree with the writer’s view?


    In speech you should look at:

    Prosody: the way we make utterances. Look particularly at pitch, pace, rhythm and volume

    Standard and non-standard forms. Note whether the speaker is taking care with utterances by conforming to accepted standards or deviating from the norm by using non-standard words and constructions such as colloquialisms and slang.

    Lexical choice and use of modifiers. Certain words can be chosen for emphasis or contrast. Look particularly at the use of modal verbs.

    Grammatical construction. The manner in which utterances are structured reflects a certain attitude.


    What to do with the Pre-release material – step by step.

    Skim read the materials.

    Decide and note down what each piece is. (Look at the title, the text’s source, the layout of the text on the page).

    Skim read again to find a date for the text. (A date may be given, if not, you will have to look for historical or contemporary references. Also consider the language and vocabulary. Does this help to date the piece?)

    Read each piece again – this time in more depth. What is the theme? Decide and note how each text is relevant to the theme? (Consider how the word is used. For instance, “Dreams” may suggest a number of things, including hopes and aspirations as well as sleep experiences).

    Read the texts again. This reading should be more detailed

    Analyse the texts by considering:

    the writer’s/speaker’s choices of form, style and vocabulary.

    any variations in genre and context.

    how attitudes and values are conveyed.


    The Examination

    On the examination paper there will be at least two texts you will not have seen. One of these will probably be a transcription of speech. You will have to compare these texts with texts from the pre-release materials that you have been working on.

    Question 1

    Plan your answer to the first question in this order:

    Look at form, style and vocabulary. Refer to and describe the texts in terms of grammar, lexis, phonology, morphology and graphology.

    Look at genre and context. Comment on the different genres, any mixed genres and areas of overlap. Look at and compare the ways in which audiences are addressed. Consider whether the contextual factors are different or similar. Comment on the ways attitudes and values might affect the response of the reader/listener. (Use the observations you have made in step 1 to support your comments)

    Consider the ‘meaning’ of each text. This should include your assessment of the attitudes and values conveyed, audience and purpose. (Again, use the observations you made in step 1 to support your conclusions).

    Question 2

    Points to remember:

    Question 2 is worth less than half the marks but it is still important.

    You are obviously not expected to write as much or to spend as much time on the question.

    Whereas the first question requires you to discuss the texts themselves, the second asks you to comment on the methods you used in this discussion.

    During the AS/A2 course you will have been introduced to various ways of looking at language and literature. Look again at your notes and the work you did for other modules.

    You will not be expected to apply all these frameworks, nor will you have to stick to just one.

    Probably the most useful revision you can do for this part of the paper is to make sure you are familiar with the concepts of Stylistics and Practical Criticism.

    Use either of these methods as you find them useful.
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    pretty awsome guide
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    Thanks!

    The anthology thing is actually available tomorrow...but our teacher won';t let us have it until after the exam on Wednesday
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    haha, I have made a seperate topic for that which will open 12:00am tonight
    But must be used ONLY for case study stuff ^^

    http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/showthread.php?t=120433

    Please do not post until you get the casestudy though guys because the point is ruined then :P In there you will also find links to various other unit 6 related threads.
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    Well I'll be on Wednesday night to print off all your info and join discusions!
 
 
 
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Updated: June 13, 2005
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