AS Level - AQA English Literature A - Victorian Literature

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HannaGads
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#1
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#1
So I just did the AQA AS Level Victorian Literature exam this morning and despite finishing and hoping I've done ok - the paper was, in my opinion, very poor. The unseen extract was extremely difficult to analyse and the Tennyson questions were hard to write balanced arguments for... Thoughts?
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KirtonCloser
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#2
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#2
I agree. The extract seemed very bizarre. It didn't link with any of the major wider reading themes explicitly and was somewhat hard to understand as it's just Ruskin describing a painting. The Tennyson questions were ok but I thought the decision to use 'Break, Break, Break...' over 'The Outcast' (which is the actual introductory poem) was also bizarre.
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HannaGads
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#3
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I found the same with the Ruskin article, although the dominant theme was 'the position of women' which loosely connects with religion there was very little versatility which allowed contrasting points to be taken from it; all of my topic sentences were similar. I generally found the Tennyson -slightly- easier, and I fully agree with your views regarding the 'Break, Break, Break...' question - extremely odd! I ended up doing that one however, because there was a lot of structure/form comparisons with 'Crossing the Bar' the 'end' poem and I found it to address some key themes, (mainly death) which are embellished and explored through out his poetry. My converse argument in retrospect is terrible however! How did it go for you?
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jjmichaeljadson
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#4
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#4
I found I made quite a lot of links with the extract, but then again, I too thought my essay was complete ****. A lot of people from my sixth form and my friends said they found the paper quite difficult, so I would expect the grade boundaries to be fairly low. Although, the grade boundary has always been lowest for Jan exams and high for May exams so.... ****.
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moinoi
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#5
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I'm shocked, I thought it was brilliantly easy. All of my coursework was on fallen women and so I just used all of my knowledge from that, and then included a little bit extra on culture, the idea that art should be morally improving and this was most certainly not by victorian standards. I really liked the extract. If you consider that one of the previous ones was literally a description of the canadian backwoods, and that was it, this was very easy by comparison,
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jessicaq
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#6
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#6
hi, i did this exam yesterday! i found the section a stuff so nice, the theme of fallen women made me feel relaxed because thats what i did my coursework on! but the Tenny question properly threw me i was like er first of whats a dramatic monologue?? so i went for Break, Break, Break and compared it with The Outcast and then with Ulysses, i thought it went okay but my tennyson side was so much weaker than my section A, so im just praying that i wrote enough for section A to make up for the terribleness of my section B! What did you talk about in terms of Break, Break, Break? I came to the conclusion that it wouldnt make a good opening poem?
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jjmichaeljadson
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#7
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(Original post by moinoi)
I'm shocked, I thought it was brilliantly easy. All of my coursework was on fallen women and so I just used all of my knowledge from that, and then included a little bit extra on culture, the idea that art should be morally improving and this was most certainly not by victorian standards. I really liked the extract. If you consider that one of the previous ones was literally a description of the canadian backwoods, and that was it, this was very easy by comparison,
Same here, my coursework was on the 'Fallen Woman' too so AO4 in my essay was done in a lot of detail. Plus the context is where the most marks are, so hopefully I did not so something silly. The Paxman documentaries really helped, because the same painting was talked about in detail in the documentary, luckily I decided to watch them, otherwise I would not have been that confident on contextual knowledge! Do you have an idea of what you got on the coursework? Also, hit the reply button when replying, it makes it much easier to track a convo, otherwise you get no notification aha
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HannaGads
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#8
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#8
(Original post by moinoi)
I'm shocked, I thought it was brilliantly easy. All of my coursework was on fallen women and so I just used all of my knowledge from that, and then included a little bit extra on culture, the idea that art should be morally improving and this was most certainly not by victorian standards. I really liked the extract. If you consider that one of the previous ones was literally a description of the canadian backwoods, and that was it, this was very easy by comparison,
Ah I see, I'd imagine having coursework on that topic would offer you masses of advantages in terms of contextual (AO4) knowledge for that. Unfortunately however, my school opted for a different coursework scheme which didn't support the topics covered in the article as much. See I disagree, that previous paper had a lot of empire and culture links, which also seeped into industrialisation and the bourgeois lifestyle: they cover far more of the topic areas than this one did.
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HannaGads
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#9
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#9
(Original post by jessicaq)
hi, i did this exam yesterday! i found the section a stuff so nice, the theme of fallen women made me feel relaxed because thats what i did my coursework on! but the Tenny question properly threw me i was like er first of whats a dramatic monologue?? so i went for Break, Break, Break and compared it with The Outcast and then with Ulysses, i thought it went okay but my tennyson side was so much weaker than my section A, so im just praying that i wrote enough for section A to make up for the terribleness of my section B! What did you talk about in terms of Break, Break, Break? I came to the conclusion that it wouldnt make a good opening poem?
Ahhh see this is what I'm finding from quite a few people who did the Victorian lit course - they did the fallen women coursework, we did something entirely different. This would then make this extract perfect for you guys! I thought, more than anything, that the article itself was so hard to interpret, and took a couple of reads to understand fully. The Tennyson questions frustrated me purely because the options are supposed to be that one is a thematic question (Ie, time/loss/death/love/women/consumerism/society etc etc) and the other is supposed to relate to a specific poem. Yet 'compelling', in my opinion, is not a theme.

I found the choice of 'Break, Break, Break' weird also because that poem is actually in the middle of his collection, however, I argued it would be a good opening - I said that in relation to 'Crossing the Bar' it has a similar, four quatrain structure however with a much calmer tone and 'gothic' references, which resembles the cyclical nature of time and the cycle of life- which is referenced in The Golden Year. It also introduces a number of themes including the extended ocean metaphors through out his poems that resemble death and loss. However my converse argument was how it doesn't discuss consumerism and materialism in society, which is a fundamental theme.. But yeah, I feel I worded it pretty poorly.
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HannaGads
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#10
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#10
(Original post by jjmichaeljadson)
I found I made quite a lot of links with the extract, but then again, I too thought my essay was complete ****. A lot of people from my sixth form and my friends said they found the paper quite difficult, so I would expect the grade boundaries to be fairly low. Although, the grade boundary has always been lowest for Jan exams and high for May exams so.... ****.
Well I'd hope because of the lack of January exams this year they'd be nice and lower them, but we'll see...
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harrietp
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#11
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#11
(Original post by HannaGads)
I found the same with the Ruskin article, although the dominant theme was 'the position of women' which loosely connects with religion there was very little versatility which allowed contrasting points to be taken from it; all of my topic sentences were similar. I generally found the Tennyson -slightly- easier, and I fully agree with your views regarding the 'Break, Break, Break...' question - extremely odd! I ended up doing that one however, because there was a lot of structure/form comparisons with 'Crossing the Bar' the 'end' poem and I found it to address some key themes, (mainly death) which are embellished and explored through out his poetry. My converse argument in retrospect is terrible however! How did it go for you?

Completely agree. I feel past extracts have been more flexible and have had far more things to link to wide reading and I found this one quite narrow.
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Lizmarch12
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#12
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#12
Just out of interest...did anyone do the dramatic monologue one? I did but don't think I wrote enough for Tennyson! Both the tennyson questions were quite weird in my opinion
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yodawglol
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#13
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#13
(Original post by HannaGads)
So I just did the AQA AS Level Victorian Literature exam this morning and despite finishing and hoping I've done ok - the paper was, in my opinion, very poor. The unseen extract was extremely difficult to analyse and the Tennyson questions were hard to write balanced arguments for... Thoughts?
Same omg! The extract defo had a prime focus on women and how she was unhappy and he failed to notice. I also think think the author was very superficial, concerned with art, rather than what problems were occurring in society. I don't remember much but these were my main points.. Anyone else?? Lol

What did people write about / compare it to?!!
Plz reply x
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yodawglol
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#14
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#14
(Original post by jjmichaeljadson)
Same here, my coursework was on the 'Fallen Woman' too so AO4 in my essay was done in a lot of detail. Plus the context is where the most marks are, so hopefully I did not so something silly. The Paxman documentaries really helped, because the same painting was talked about in detail in the documentary, luckily I decided to watch them, otherwise I would not have been that confident on contextual knowledge! Do you have an idea of what you got on the coursework? Also, hit the reply button when replying, it makes it much easier to track a convo, otherwise you get no notification aha
What did you compare it to?
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jjmichaeljadson
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#15
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#15
(Original post by yodawglol)
What did you compare it to?
Can't remember now, it has been a while, sorry!
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HannaGads
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#16
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#16
(Original post by yodawglol)
Same omg! The extract defo had a prime focus on women and how she was unhappy and he failed to notice. I also think think the author was very superficial, concerned with art, rather than what problems were occurring in society. I don't remember much but these were my main points.. Anyone else?? Lol

What did people write about / compare it to?!!
Plz reply x
I thought it focused more on fallen women than position of women, which was the primary focus of my AO4 which was annoying.. umm I can't really remember too well..

but I linked to Jane Eyre about the 'sinful' nature of women, 'A Doll's House' for naturalism (ie. the furniture of the room in the painting correlating with the set of the play - making it controversial as it was identifiable with the audience etc etc) then a really weak poetry comparison that I can't remember, but it was so bad.
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