AQA English Language Paper 1 Question 4 Watch

SmartMemoryGirl!
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Extract
The gallery was dark, high and narrow, with only a foot or two of passage between the bookstacks, and the wooden rail. I switched off my torch. The air up here was colder, but at the same time oddly dead, and close, as though the dust of years, the dust of books and learning and thought, was packed tightly, excluding any freshness.

The soft breathing came again, from a different place, in the darkness just ahead of me and I began to edge forwards, and then to stop, move and stop, but it was always just out of reach. I looked down into the great barrel of the room below. Every shadow seemed like a crouched, huddled figure, every corner concealed some dreadful shape. There was no one there. There was nothing. There was everything. ‘Who is there?’ I said. ‘What do you want of me?’ Or would have said had not my throat constricted and my tongue cleaved to the roof of my mouth, so that no sound was possible. I wanted to run but could not and knew that this was what was intended, that I should be terrified by nothing, by my own fears, by soft breathing, by the creak of a board, by the very atmosphere which threatened me.

But, after a time of silence and stillness, I summoned up enough strength and steadiness of nerve to walk slowly, step by step, around the gallery, glancing down now and then but seeing nothing, until I came to the last staircase, and by that descended to the ground again. As I returned to the corridor, closing the door of the library behind me, I caught sight of a light moving about irregularly on the opposite side, and, as I rounded the corner, I glimpsed a dark-coated figure walking slowly, and holding up a lantern – the porter, I supposed, on his rounds, and felt a wave of relief so great that it all but felled me and took my breath, and I was forced to lean against the wall for a few seconds, so giddy did I become.

Now focus on the paragraph beginning “The gallery was dark…” to the end of the extract.
A student said “This part of the extract is effective in that it really gets across the narrator’s feelings of panic and anxiety.”

To what extent do you agree? In your response, you could:

consider your own impressions of the narrator’s feelings
evaluate how the writer shows these feelings
support your response with references to the text

I fully agree with the statement.
The writer uses long sentences with increasing amount of punctuation as the tension and climax rises. This mimics how the narrator’s “breathing” is starting to become shallow and shorten. The effect of this on the reader is that we become more tense as we await to see if there will be an encounter with the “figure”. This is effective because not only do we get her feeling we also start to ‘receive’ her feeling as well. I think that the writer did this so that as reader we don’t passively read but start to engage with the story as well.

The writer also use the repetition of “There was” in middle of the extract as a statement. The repeated use of short sentence is commonly used to increase tension. However the uses of statement usually creates monotone and boring story. In this extract the statements do the opposite. Instead it shows how critically the narrator is scanning the place for anything out of the ordinary. This shows how she is scaring herself as she is believe in the fear of something being in the “darkness”. The connotation of “darkness” contrasts the “light” that she catches. This juxtaposition creates more tension as a confused atmosphere is created.The effect of this on the reader is that they understand her feeling of panic and anxiety however it is not as effective as it was also scaring the reader. This is because we justify her panic and so the narrator’s feeling are dismissed. It could be improved by also includes the reader’s perspective. It could be possible that the confused atmosphere leads to a clearer understanding of the narrator’s fear and panic however the reader is left disappointed by the anti-climax of the “porter”.

The writer also uses subordinate clauses to delay the tension changing how we see the narrator’s panic. By delaying the tension this intensifies her panic and makes us the reader only focus on the panic and her feelings. The “step by step” viewpoint slows down the time in the extract and also makes the reader focus on the narrator. This is very effective as this each moment of panic is elongated.


If I do a conclusion paragraph what mark out of 20 would this get? Also what can i do to improve?
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nc227
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This is potentially a leel 3 answer due to your understanding of the opinion from the reader with added embedded quotes to show sopgistication. As an Improvement I believe to improve your overall marks on question 4 is to ensure that you do not youse words like "I" to explain how you feel. To replace this aim for "it makes the reader..." or "We..." so that the response can include other readers. Additionally make sure that you are explaining in depth the writers methods to secure a higher mark.
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neko no basu
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I think this is a very good answer and engages well with the question. Maybe don't use as many "I" to explain how you feel but I don't think that this would affect your mark in all honesty, it just sounds better. Good use of terminology and quotations to support your view
Definitely top band answer.
Improvement? Maybe something about the structure? I suppose there's not really much to say about the structure of this piece.
Good luck with your exams
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