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AQA A Level English Literature - could someone mark my answer? watch

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    Hello people! Now, I'm a GCSE student, but I really loved this poem and want to study A Level English, so I asked my teacher for an A Level question on the poem, and had a go. My response won't be perfect, but I'm hoping to get a rough understanding of how I can push my analysis up to A Level standard, so when it comes to my Literature exams, I should be able to analyse well.

    The mark scheme is: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects...1-W-SMS-07.PDF

    It's question 2(a), but I'm just answering the question to a different poem.

    Write about the ways Browning tells the story in ‘The Laboratory.’ (21 marks)

    Browning only gives away small glimpses of the characteristics of the speaker in each stanza, but, as we read on, we begin to learn more about her evil personality. Since the word “laboratory” sets the scene for a very sinister poem, the readers await to learn more about the inhabitants of the laboratory. In stanza one, Browning gives out clues of the speaker by using the word “I,” yet he doesn’t tell us much. The “curling” smokes perhaps suggest something mysterious about the speaker while Browning’s use of repetition, of the word “poison,” creates an image of quite a malevolent woman. When we read the next few stanzas, Browning begins to use more of a foreboding tone to describe the laboratory and the speaker’s poison, which we begin to interpret to be symbolic of the speaker’s personality – she seems almost selfish, vengeful and jealous, but we are left with the question: why? Browning tells the story in this ambiguous way to create a link between the poem and the woman’s misplacement in the society of that time period – in the 1940’s, most women merely stayed at home and obeyed the orders of their husbands, yet this women doesn’t fit the reader’s expectations, which creates a sense of ambiguity as the reader doesn’t know why she is not abiding with society’s expectations of the time while there is another sense of ambiguity in the reason why the women is at the laboratory.


    Browning not only tells his story through its chronological structure, but his use of a consistent rhyme and metre is very effective. Throughout the poem, Browning adopts a, never-broken, rhyme scheme of AABB. We associate this alternating rhyme with love poetry, yet we learn that the speaker is out to destroy love, so that she can have it herself, which contrasts with the rhyme scheme. Browning’s intentions were to create a sense of expectations being broken – throughout the poem Browning breaks the readers’ expectations, which I think he did to reflect the dilapidated life of the speaker. The rhyme scheme of AABB is consistent throughout the poem, which could also possibly reflect the perfect plan of the speaker. Browning tells the story through the rhyme scheme by using alternate rhyme schemes to contrast the reality of the occurrences in the poem. What’s more is the anapaestic metre used by Browning helps tell the story by giving the poem a jaunty, upbeat rhythm. This upbeat rhythm highlights how the speaker gets more hasty for the poison as the poem goes on, suggesting her urge to have power. Browning uses the principle of the speaker wanting to gain power to tell the story in a way that allows the reader to see the reality of the time period – although many women were at home, there were many others that were rebellious of the expectations of society, like the speaker, which Browning highlights by telling the story through the use of the anapaestic metre. The anapaestic metre gives the poem a jaunty beat, which Browning uses to tell the story in a way that portrays to the audience how selfish, bitter and evil the speaker is.

    Browning writes the poem in the form of a dramatic monologue in the present tense. The use of a dramatic monologue is meant to make the reader connect with the inner emotions of the character. Some readers will find that the dramatic monologue makes them feel sorry for the speaker, that’s husband has been “ensnared,” giving the reader the sense that this woman has been emotionally broken to pieces. Other readers however will see that the use of the dramatic monologue doesn’t suit its general purpose in this poem.
    Browning intentionally used a dramatic monologue so that we can see the contrast between this speaker and other woman of the time, whilst also being able to see her wicked characteristics. What’s more is that the use of the present tense in this poem makes it seem as if the reader is going on a journey with the speaker and learning more about this almost sinister laboratory and her personality. At first, we see the woman as emotionally broken, and we begin to get the sense that she’s psychopathic, since she consistently talks about people who she refers to as “they,” representing the contrast between the unity of them against her. However, as the stanzas go on, we learn more about her wickedness and begin to lose sympathy towards her. For example, in the third stanza she begins to feel powerful as she commands the apothecary to “grind away, moisten and mash up [his] paste//pound at [his] powder” as she is not in “haste.” We see that Browning uses alliteration of the soothing ‘m’ sound which almost represents the speaker chewing these words away with excitement at the sight of her rival’s death. However, this soft ‘m’ sound is contrasted with the plosive ‘p’ sound with suggest the brutal affects this poison will have on her rival. Browning therefore tells the story in such a way that it seems as if that the twelve stanzas are a representation of time and as we increase time - by reading on – we see the speaker’s desire for power grow, as she becomes quite hasty and commanding, as Browning portrays, since the speaker very much increases her use of the imperative verb more as the stanzas go on.



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    Hi there,

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    (Original post by IAmCharlie2)
    Hello people! Now, I'm a GCSE student, but I really loved this poem and want to study A Level English, so I asked my teacher for an A Level question on the poem, and had a go. My response won't be perfect, but I'm hoping to get a rough understanding of how I can push my analysis up to A Level standard, so when it comes to my Literature exams, I should be able to analyse well.

    The mark scheme is: http://filestore.aqa.org.uk/subjects...1-W-SMS-07.PDF

    It's question 2(a), but I'm just answering the question to a different poem.


    Thanks.


    When reading your essay, I noticed that you had a very good academic style. I feel like it was the strength of you essay and I went out of my way to highlight it. There were points where it flagged, such as you jumped straight to the explanation without making a point linking to the question, and I hoped that by showing how strong your first points in this form were you could work on always making a point and always linking it to the question.

    In particular, the end paragraph in which you repeat your discussion on her wickedness when really your Point and Analysis are about the passage of time in the 'Story'. I got what you were trying to do, but it felt disconnected and maybe needed a more focused discussion.

    Overall though, it's a very strong essay, especially considering you're currently at GCSE level. I'm a bit rusty with my marking, but I think it's a band 4 or even 5 depending on how you want to cut AO4. You get a bit sidetracked on points that are very good but that you don't keep 'always relevant with sharp focus on the task'

    With your insight and understanding of the text, a reshuffle could probably place you in top band. As I said, my marking is rusty at the moment, but it's on the side of overly harsh which is always better anyway

    Oh - and you need a conclusion and introduction. I'm marking under the assumption that you had a perfect one of each. More often than not it mainly helps you to stay focused on the task and question. I'd say you definitely need a discussion of 'Story' in the introduction to validate your personal definitions and assumptions throughout the essay.

    Hope this helps, I'm sure you'll get good marks

    Spoiler:
    Show


    Write about the ways Browning tells the story in ‘The Laboratory.’ (21 marks)

    Point: Browning only gives away small glimpses of the characteristics of the speaker in each stanza, but, as we read on, we begin to learn more about her evil personality.


    Example: Since the word “laboratory” sets the scene for a very sinister poem, the readers await to learn more about the inhabitants of the laboratory.

    Example: In stanza one, Browning gives out clues of the speaker by using the word “I,” yet he doesn’t tell us much [ Quite a weak sentence, why doesn't he tell us much? Clarity needed]

    Example: The “curling” smokes perhaps suggest something mysterious about the speaker while Browning’s use of repetition, of the word “poison,”

    Explanation: creates an image of quite a malevolent woman.


    [Example Missing: How does he make it more foreboding? ] more of a foreboding tone to describe the laboratory and the speaker’s poison, which we begin to interpret to be symbolic of the speaker’s personality –

    Inter medial Explanation: she seems almost selfish, vengeful and jealous, but we are left with the question: why?

    Analysis: Browning tells the story in this ambiguous way to create a link between the poem and the woman’s misplacement in the society of that time period – in the 1940’s, most women merely stayed at home and obeyed the orders of their husbands, yet this women doesn’t fit the reader’s expectations, which creates a sense of ambiguity as the reader doesn’t know why she is not abiding with society’s expectations of the time while there is another sense of ambiguity in the reason why the women is at the laboratory.


    Your analysis is actually really strong here, and I really like the points you made. You'll certainly get bonus marks for mentioning gender issues (which are very popular when reading Browning). Your points are strong and rooted in good quotes from the text, except when you discuss how the language becomes more foreboding.



    Point: Browning not only tells his story through its chronological structure, but his use of a consistent rhyme and metre is very effective.


    Example: Throughout the poem, Browning adopts a, never-broken, rhyme scheme of AABB. We associate this alternating rhyme with love poetry,

    Explanation: yet we learn that the speaker is out to destroy love, so that she can have it herself, which contrasts with the rhyme scheme.


    Analysis: Browning’s intentions were to create a sense of expectations being broken – throughout the poem Browning breaks the readers’ expectations, which I think he did to [Dropped academic tone, consider alternatives 'he possibly did', opening yourself up to saying a dead guy did this because makes your argument weaker.] reflect the dilapidated life of the speaker.


    The rhyme scheme of AABB is consistent throughout the poem, which could also possibly reflect the perfect plan of the Explanation: Browning tells the story through the rhyme scheme by using alternate rhyme schemes to contrast the reality of the occurrences in the poem. What’s more is the anapaestic metre used by Browning helps tell the story by giving the poem a jaunty, upbeat rhythm. This upbeat rhythm highlights how the speaker gets more hasty for the poison as the poem goes on, suggesting her urge to have power. Browning uses the principle of the speaker wanting to gain power to tell the story in a way that allows the reader to see the reality of the time period – although many women were at home, there were many others that were rebellious of the expectations of society, like the speaker, which Browning highlights by telling the story through the use of the anapaestic metre. The anapaestic metre gives the poem a jaunty beat, which Browning uses to tell the story in a way that portrays to the audience how selfish, bitter and evil the speaker is. [Very good, and relevant to the question.]


    Browning writes the poem in the form of a dramatic monologue in the present tense. The use of a dramatic monologue is meant to make the reader connect with the inner emotions of the character. Some readers will find that the dramatic monologue makes them feel sorry for the speaker, that’s husband has been “ensnared,” giving the reader the sense that this woman has been emotionally broken to pieces. Other readers however will see that the use of the dramatic monologue doesn’t suit its general purpose in this poem.
    Browning intentionally used a dramatic monologue so that we can see the contrast between this speaker and other woman of the time, whilst also being able to see her wicked characteristics. What’s more is that the use of the present tense in this poem makes it seem as if the reader is going on a journey with the speaker
    [Love this point]and learning more about this almost sinister laboratory and her personality.At first, we see the woman as emotionally broken, and we begin to get the sense that she’s psychopathic, since she consistently talks about people who she refers to as “they,” representing the contrast between the unity of them against her. However, as the stanzas go on, we learn more about her wickedness and begin to lose sympathy towards her. For example, in the third stanza she begins to feel powerful as she commands the apothecary to “grind away, moisten and mash up [his] paste//pound at [his] powder” as she is not in “haste.” We see that Browning uses alliteration of the soothing ‘m’ sound which almost represents the speaker chewing these words away with excitement at the sight of her rival’s death. However, this soft ‘m’ sound is contrasted with the plosive ‘p’ sound with suggest the brutal affects this poison will have on her rival.

    Browning therefore tells the story in such a way that it seems as if that the twelve stanzas are a representation of time and as we increase time - by reading on – we see the speaker’s desire for power grow, as she becomes quite hasty and commanding, as Browning portrays, since the speaker very much increases her use of the imperative verb more as the stanzas go on.


    [This final point is good, but comes as almost a bolt from the blue. It might be worth littering the textual analysis with more discussion of time before jumping straight to this point.]

 
 
 
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