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    Hello guys,

    I wrote a comparison essay on a question regarding my English Literature exam...
    I'm hoping that you all can give me some feedback on it as I feel that I'm constantly doing something wrong and can't hit the B/A grade.
    My tuition teacher has already told me that I am not actually comparing the poems, but I'm just writing a lot of analysis for each poem regarding a few quotes - so it's not even a comparison essay.

    But, I want to know that just in terms of the analysis, is it an A grade styled analysis - if the task was just to analyse?

    Question: Consider what other poems say about human nature in comparison with ‘Hawk Roosting’.

    In the two poems ‘Hawk Roosting’ and ‘Flag’, both poets use imagery to manifest the evil nature of humans and also to show how these symbols represent the influences that compel humans to take a brutal path of life, where they either exploit resources or take undue advantage of nature for their benefit.

    In ‘Flag’, Agard uses the flag as a powerful and patriotic symbol to describe how it can be a basis or influence to make a person go against their instinct and start fighting in the war. This is evident as Agard says “It’s just a piece of cloth / that brings a nation to its knees.” The author’s use of the diminutive word ‘just’ indicates that the bearing of the nation’s flag is futile as it does not stand for the individual. Furthermore, he reinforces this idea by suggesting that the cloth is coercive in that it is used to make people love their country even if the person or the flag does not merit that love, since all it creates is violence. In addition, the second part of the quote ‘that brings a nation to its knees’ may suggest a virtuous swelling of emotion as it creates a violent imagery of a country falling apart. Alternatively, the plural noun ‘knees’ could connote surrender or even the image of a person praying – asking for help. In addition, the phrase itself just personifies the flag as being on your knees suggests a lower position – as if you are lower-classed or less powerful, which juxtaposes with the description of the flag as ‘just a piece of cloth’ as this part of the quote suggests that it can degrade a person and subjugate them through its symbolic power, often making the audience feel angry at the actions of this ‘piece of cloth’. In that stanza, Agard is simply showing us the corruptive nature of humans as they will use even the slightest of all, ‘just’ a piece of cloth, to start war and try to increase their economy and conquer over countries, neglecting all the losses, e.g. deaths in the wars.

    Similarly, in ‘Hawk Roosting’, Hughes presents various inanimate objects of nature or elements of the Earth to describe how they can be used as an advantage for the hawk to hunt its prey. However, Hughes presents the hawk as a creature who follows its natural instinct and hunts for its food, and uses nature for its safety and protection – because without it, there is no chance of survival. This is evident in the following quote “The air’s buoyancy and the sun’s ray / Are of advantage to me;”. This suggests that the elements of the Earth seem to be tailor-made for the hawk’s gain, which is reinforced by the fact that the hawk can shelter itself from the man-made concrete cities but resign in the serenity of nature itself. Furthermore, the hawk’s detachment from human contact makes it able to achieve this as it resides in the arms of nature, a place where it can dominate and also be secure. The mention of the ‘sun’s rays’ are almost described as a possession, which shows that the hawk is able to possess nature which allows it to exploit it for its benefits. It also reinforces the idea that the hawk is a ‘perfect’ killer, owing the fact that the preys have no chance because the hawk is supported ‘air’s buoyancy’, by nature. This relates to the metaphor of the bird flying directly ‘through the bones of the living’. The uneasy juxtaposition of bones with living creates an unsettling effect, and makes the bird seem almost supernaturally powerful: as if he exists beyond this one moment in time. In addition, it also shows how ‘perfectly’ it kills and the graphical image not only highlights its cruel nature, but also represents the humans and their remorseless nature as they feel that they are the most dominant species on the planet, like the hawk, which allows them to exploit natural resources for their benefit through the excavation of fossils, gold and other rare materials.
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    I'm not clued up on GCSE mark schemes anymore so I can't be of much use to grade your work but I think you have some good close reading skills.

    With regards to the comparison side of things it might be an idea to try and write about the two texts together instead of analysing one text and then the other. Think about similarities and differences and then discuss the way authors have handled these things. Or if you prefer your method use phrases through such as "similarly to ..." "Unlike ..." "Contrasting with" "this links to ... Use of .... In ...." Throughout your paragraph just to get the comparisons in and remember a comparison doesn't always have to be doing something the same - discussing the ways two others handle a theme differently is also drawing a comparison


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    Just to make sure this is English Literature isn't it?
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    Firstly, I'd like to say that this is actually a really good essay, this should at least be an A. I did Literature in Y10 and was a 3 marks off an A*.
    Few points:
    -Make sure your SPAG is correct - really important because it will give a good impression to the examiner.
    -Give in depth analysis on each poem as your tutor said. However, it is important to cross reference both poems (make some links)
    -Your answers should entail the form of the poem, structure, language and evidence.
    -After explaining in depth of each poem draw to a conclusion
    -Get to the point. (Some parts of your essay are a bit waffaly but thats ok, its natural to have a rant)
    Points you could make:
    • Hughes writes about death from the point of view of a killer.
    • The regular form suggests the killer is very calm and controlled about what he does.
    • The structure shows that the hawk is trying to justify what he does and the social position he holds that enables him to do it.
    • Dry technical language in stanza two shows the hawk distances itself from his violent actions.
    • The imagery of the hawk in the tree also shows how far above and far away the hawk is from what it actually does.
    • This also works as a metaphor for politicians who are a long way from the consequences of their actions.
    • The repetition of the 'I' sound shows the hawk is only concerned for itself.
    • The metaphor in the opening line is therefore also ironic: the hawk suggests he looks like the symbol of justice (depicted blindfold to show justice does not take sides) yet the whole poem is his attempt to justify his actions.
    • His justification ends with the claim he has the support of the sun, yet we know whose side he is on: his own.
    • Hughes shows that by sitting on top of the world with his eyes closed, the hawk is merely ignoring the consequences of its actions.
    • Neither power nor words can justify the cold kills of the hawk.

    Got this from BBC Bitesize, couldn't be asked to write it out!
    I hope this helps you.
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    And to answer your question this is definitely an A grade.
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    (Original post by abbymonty)
    I'm not clued up on GCSE mark schemes anymore so I can't be of much use to grade your work but I think you have some good close reading skills.

    With regards to the comparison side of things it might be an idea to try and write about the two texts together instead of analysing one text and then the other. Think about similarities and differences and then discuss the way authors have handled these things. Or if you prefer your method use phrases through such as "similarly to ..." "Unlike ..." "Contrasting with" "this links to ... Use of .... In ...." Throughout your paragraph just to get the comparisons in and remember a comparison doesn't always have to be doing something the same - discussing the ways two others handle a theme differently is also drawing a comparison


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    Yeah thank you , that is exactly what my teacher said. She told me to compare in one paragraph and what I've done is one comparison and a bunch of detail for it. She said the analysis is very good but it's not really a comparison essay and therefore doesn't really fit with the question.


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    (Original post by craftywizardboy)
    Firstly, I'd like to say that this is actually a really good essay, this should at least be an A. I did Literature in Y10 and was a 3 marks off an A*.
    Few points:
    -Make sure your SPAG is correct - really important because it will give a good impression to the examiner.
    -Give in depth analysis on each poem as your tutor said. However, it is important to cross reference both poems (make some links)
    -Your answers should entail the form of the poem, structure, language and evidence.
    -After explaining in depth of each poem draw to a conclusion
    -Get to the point. (Some parts of your essay are a bit waffaly but thats ok, its natural to have a rant)
    Points you could make:
    • Hughes writes about death from the point of view of a killer.
    • The regular form suggests the killer is very calm and controlled about what he does.
    • The structure shows that the hawk is trying to justify what he does and the social position he holds that enables him to do it.
    • Dry technical language in stanza two shows the hawk distances itself from his violent actions.
    • The imagery of the hawk in the tree also shows how far above and far away the hawk is from what it actually does.
    • This also works as a metaphor for politicians who are a long way from the consequences of their actions.
    • The repetition of the 'I' sound shows the hawk is only concerned for itself.
    • The metaphor in the opening line is therefore also ironic: the hawk suggests he looks like the symbol of justice (depicted blindfold to show justice does not take sides) yet the whole poem is his attempt to justify his actions.
    • His justification ends with the claim he has the support of the sun, yet we know whose side he is on: his own.
    • Hughes shows that by sitting on top of the world with his eyes closed, the hawk is merely ignoring the consequences of its actions.
    • Neither power nor words can justify the cold kills of the hawk.

    Got this from BBC Bitesize, couldn't be asked to write it out!
    I hope this helps you.
    Thank you so much . Yeah, the comparison lacks clarity as it's just one comparison which sucks. I have to now learn to make several comparisons and merge them into paragraphs throughout the essay. I am aware of form, structure etc I just wrote this as one comparison paragraph.


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