kieyamistry
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I'm doing my GCSEs this year, and have mocks coming up next week. I'm currently revising English Literature (AQA, Love & Relationships) and one of the things I'm struggling with is how to write about context. I know that I have to write about the time that the poem was written, how it relates to the poet's life etc., but I'm not sure about how to embed this into a comparison without it sounding like it's just been forced onto the end.

Any help with this would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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MargotP
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The easiest way to fit the comparison in is introducing one point (ex: we notice that ‘..’ is linked to ‘..’) then start explaining what points are alike. Since you’re wanting to relate the poets life with the time that they lived in, try to look up more about the different styles of writing, how it evolved, what the dominant themes were and if they stand out in the poem.

I dont really remember that being such an important part of the english lit igcse, just try to find the main themes and say it relates to the poets background/family/ love interest/ sadness in the writing.

Im not sure as to if this will be any help but I did manage the English Igcse quite well so idkk
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Benvoliho
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Hi,
Context can be tricky when it comes to essays, i got a grade 9 last year on the same spec and my biggest advice is to remember context, whilst important, it's the lowest out of your AO's (isn't it like 30%?? might be less.) so don't go overboard trying to recite everything you know about the poet, keep in mind what your being rewarded for. id also suggest revising context that you know you can use in an essay or to back up a point, ( i didn't do love and relationships but im doing similar at a-level,) so for example, its importanrt to remember Lord Byrons sexuality,reputation and upbrinigng but perhaps not so much weird details about his life. pick things you can defo talk about.

bascially when thinking about context
1)firstly, use context to bulid on a point, e.g this idea of reputation and seduction may which align the poets own fame in georgian england...
2)dont just think about personal context if your struggling but a more genral hisotrical context, e.g the role of women in a time.
3) in your plan think about context. i used to plan essays at gcse genrally like point/idea, example and qoutation, analysis, link to context in the analysis and then like an alternative intrpretation, so for example in romeo and juliet id say, children in the play are controlled by their parents, (point), an example might be juliet and her father (example and id get a quote), might say for analysis not only is she controlled as a child and as she is his daughter but becuase she is a woman, context link to the nature of marriage when it was written and fsthers bascially sold their daughters, and etc, if you plan it and think about it, it might come easier.
4) ask for past answers, at first it may seem a bit weird but the more you get used to reading and writing about context the easier it gets.
hope that helped
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Tolgash
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Hello, I got full marks in the poetry section for GCSE English literature in the summer.

First of all, the fact that you acknowledge the importance of integrating context into the essay so that it flows heralds some good poetry comparisons in your exams this year (in my opinion). I also struggled to weave context into my answers rather than annexing them to the end of my paragraph as if I was going to and fro between an English lit. and history essay.

When talking about the narrator or characters in the poem, always add a little something extra on the side as context (e.g. for AIC - 'Mrs Birling staunchly carries the image of the 1914 upper class by...', for Romeo & Juliet - 'the tragedy's denouement ends in sin for the tragic hero, shocking the devoutly Catholic Elizabethan-era audience', for Exposure - 'the narrator challenges his superiors in the time of the Second World War when he...through the use of...'). These little slices of context all add up in the end, and as I have discovered, are sufficient for this level.

Now, context may play a role more in some questions than others, but the way you use your context can greatly influence an examiner's final decision of what mark you get, and this holds true for even the finer judgements (e.g. deciding between a mark of 29 and 30).
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