English Literature AQA A Paper 1 Watch

cheerIeader
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Okay..

I am so annoyed right now with AQA. I was so well prepared and went into the exam ready to give it my all and they give us a question about two MINOR characters who have no significance to the overall play at all in Othello question?

I ended up saying that Roderigo was used by Iago as a mechanism to overthrow Othello *with literally like two quotes max* and that Brabantio failed his duty as a father to support Desdemona as she is murdered at the end of the play.

Overall - horrible paper. First question set me back on time.
I'm so upset right now but hope my A in coursework / paper 2 backs me up. Genuinely think I got an E/D.

How did you guys do?
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bellanh
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mate it went awful! I knew so much about Othello yet they ask about the minor characters! actually flopped it hope my coursework brings me up. absolutely flopped that paper
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sarachel19
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Dude ugh gross question on Measure for Measure too and genuinely it did set me back. I just wrote really random points and felt like I waffled loads the unseen poetry was okay, and comparison to Gatsby/pre-1900 was alright. Still feel like same, I got a D most probably.
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Oreoho
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Yeah the question threw me off
I just rambled about brabantio being betrayed by desdemona marrying othello making him jealous and that desdemona is seen as his possession blah blah blah, unseen poetry was sooooo good
The awakening question was so nasty but then again I know nothing about the awakening
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angelinahx
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It pisses me the **** off, they literally did that intentionally to **** with everybody. I talked about how Roderigo's failure to understand Desdemona's love for Othello situates him as lacking awareness of her emotions (iago convinces him it's sexual) and thus not understanding her enough to love her (???), his hubris because she chose to marry a black man (lascivious moor suggesting hatred is racialized) rather than him/white suitor, the fact that the emphasis in the excerpt is about Desdemona's betrayal to her father by Roderigo yet he says he ****ed up if Brabantio knew about this suggesting it's not about love but Elizabethan desire for male control of women, Brabantio disowning Desdemona because of pride (women expected to follow father, if they didn't that was shameful etc) and possessiveness etc etc but i ****ed up the quotes.

the other questions were so good thooo
Last edited by angelinahx; 3 weeks ago
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LikeableLlama:)
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Omg everyone really isn’t happy with the Othello question, I feel bad for you guys but at least you weren’t the only ones!! Did anyone do King Lear/Death of a salesman/Keats?
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whitneeyle
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I think I answered the question well but I opened the paper and panicked - I didn’t revise barely anything on the minor characters! I discussed the possiveness of women and linked it to Brabantio as the father of Desdemona & context of the Elizabethan era & how Roderigo was used as part of Iagos plan, overall I just used a lot of context work & quotes
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notbartt
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Mate they ****ed us on the Othello question honestly they are evil doing that. Imagine spending two years studying one of the greatest Shakespearan masterpeices that encapsulates the extent of human manipulation and jealousy just to be asked about two shite minors from the first scene.

Unseen poetry was niceeee though mm mm mmmmm
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MuggleBorn9&3/4
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(Original post by cheerIeader)
Okay..

I am so annoyed right now with AQA. I was so well prepared and went into the exam ready to give it my all and they give us a question about two MINOR characters who have no significance to the overall play at all in Othello question?

I ended up saying that Roderigo was used by Iago as a mechanism to overthrow Othello *with literally like two quotes max* and that Brabantio failed his duty as a father to support Desdemona as she is murdered at the end of the play.

Overall - horrible paper. First question set me back on time.
I'm so upset right now but hope my A in coursework / paper 2 backs me up. Genuinely think I got an E/D.

How did you guys do?
Pretty sure that for GCSEs, the Romeo and Juliet question was similar in that it asked about minor characters in a tiny scene. I studied Macbeth so I didn't do that one, but I distinctly remember reading a horde of angry tweets.

I ended up saying a whole load of random stuff that I'm hoping gets me some marks, but honestly I was very annoyed at today's paper. Mostly annoyed that when we told our Lit teacher what the questions were, she said they were great and we were blessed. I don't know what AQA is coming to, to be honest- five minutes into my exam and two people burst into tears.

I think you'll have done well with the points you made! I definitely didn't have those- and I referenced other areas of the play in a tiny paragraph, with barely any analysis, so I'm sure I failed about 45% of the question.
Chin up, at least it's done now!
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notbartt
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Ay we had that Macbeth question good in GCSEs it was the equivalent of getting "Jealousy" as a question in Othello
(Original post by MuggleBorn9&3/4)
Pretty sure that for GCSEs, the Romeo and Juliet question was similar in that it asked about minor characters in a tiny scene. I studied Macbeth so I didn't do that one, but I distinctly remember reading a horde of angry tweets.

I ended up saying a whole load of random stuff that I'm hoping gets me some marks, but honestly I was very annoyed at today's paper. Mostly annoyed that when we told our Lit teacher what the questions were, she said they were great and we were blessed. I don't know what AQA is coming to, to be honest- five minutes into my exam and two people burst into tears.

I think you'll have done well with the points you made! I definitely didn't have those- and I referenced other areas of the play in a tiny paragraph, with barely any analysis, so I'm sure I failed about 45% of the question.
Chin up, at least it's done now!
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Spookyayu
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I was literally shaking after that ****ing exam, Jesus Christ.

That Othello question was ********, I couldn't use any of my critique quotes or any quotes from the rest of the play. Apart from that though, I think I analysed the given extract pretty well with decent "muh patriarchy" context.

The unseen was terrible in every way. Stevenson cannot stand her baby except the last 3 lines of the last stanza and the first poem was so run of the mill I had nothing interesting to say about it. I only did 3 sides and a bit and spent 40 minutes because there really was nothing I could say about it, and annoyingly, both poets were born in the same time period so there's nothing for context either since they were too young for WW2 to mean anything. I tried to blather on about the gender of the baby being linked to the patriarchy out of sheer desperation.

The Gatsby question was honestly pretty standard and I can't complain about it, but by the time I got to my last paragraph I had like 2 minutes left so I had to rush the **** out of my conclusion and the last part looks very awful with poor spelling and terrible handwriting. I felt like I executed the rest of that essay really well though.

Overall I expect to get low 20s for Othello, maybe 17/18 for the unseen and a decent 22ish for Gatsby depending on how bothered the examiner is by the mediocre last paragraph.

This really sucks because I might not hit that A star I need for English lit and it's one of the two subjects I was counting on to get me an A star...
I'll have to hope that paper 2 is better.
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angelinahx
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(Original post by Spookyayu)
muh patriarchy
women were genuinely oppressed in elizabethan england. this is not a sjw argument.

(Original post by Spookyayu)
The unseen was terrible in every way. Stevenson cannot stand her baby except the last 3 lines of the last stanza and the first poem was so run of the mill I had nothing interesting to say about it. I only did 3 sides and a bit and spent 40 minutes because there really was nothing I could say about it, and annoyingly
it really wasn't. you could have talked about the way in which stevenson portrays the relationship with the child as a conquest of two opposing forces, reinforced through language like "antagonist", "conquest", "winning" and "victory" whereas lorde emphasizes unity between the mother and the child through conflating the sound of the baby kicking to her heartbeat, her heart symbolically representing her love for the child. you could have talked about how stevenson's idealistic desires of motherhood are systematically dismantled through a depressing reality, and that the title similarly confounds and "breaks down" the reader's expectation of the poem's content as stevenson illustrates anything but a victory. you could have talked about how the structure of the poem conveys simplistic, absolutist thinking as the structure is consistent, contrasting lorde's postmodern employment of blank verse and irregular stanza as she explores nostalgia, love, pain and is more emotionally complex in nature. you could have discussed the portrayal of a pessimistic reality in the second poem (stevenson) as intrinsically linked with modernism. you could have discussed lorde's usage of pathetic fallacy, motherhood is portrayed as natural and growth is celebrated in the first poem yet it's portrayed as unnatural and violent in stevenson's poem. lorde nostalgically and retrospectively "remembers", stevenson "thought the child was", you could talk about the respective atmospheres established in the poems through the connotations of "remember" (being present tense) and "thought" being past tense. stevenson emphasizes the child as removed from her body due to the emotional separation between the son and the mother. the employment of sibilance and curt exclamatory sentences to convey stevenson's anger in the final stanza. the usage of dehumanizing language and animal imagery to refer to the child, referred to as a "thing", yet lorde capitalizes the pronoun "you" which is grandiose in nature due to her feelings of love for the child. stevenson's love is reluctant throughout the poem, she rhetorically asks why she must love this child suggesting she doesn't want to. this has nothing to do with "muh patriarchy". there was so much to say about the two poems.

(Original post by Spookyayu)
Overall I expect to get low 20s for Othello, maybe 17/18 for the unseen and a decent 22ish for Gatsby depending on how bothered the examiner is by the mediocre last paragraph.
good luck! i hope you get that a*.
Last edited by angelinahx; 3 weeks ago
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Spookyayu
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(Original post by angelinahx)
women were genuinely oppressed in elizabethan england. this is not a sjw argument.
I didn't ever say it was a SJW argument. I used the mocking tone "muh" because people in my class usually offload it without much thought behind it and our teacher just made us recite it. It's not usually incorporated well into the arguments, like how I didn't incorporate it that well into my unseen poetry. Though I think it's particularly ironic that common women were so oppressed in Elizabethan society, considering that the person with the most power in the country at the time was a woman.


(Original post by angelinahx)
it really wasn't.
My personal experience - I found it difficult, specially because the second, more interesting poem has very sparse elements of love compared to how much hate the writer seems to have for her baby for the most part. I don't think they're terrible poems, I think the second one is very interesting and the first one is ok. It just constituted a terrible exam experience for me. Though what's a terrible experience for me is clearly not the same for everyone else.



(Original post by angelinahx)

you could have talked about the way in which stevenson portrays the relationship with the child as a conquest of two opposing forces, reinforced through language like "antagonist", "conquest", "winning" and "victory" whereas lorde emphasizes unity between the mother and the child through conflating the sound of the baby kicking to her heartbeat, her heart symbolically representing her love for the child. you could have talked about how stevenson's idealistic desires of motherhood are systematically dismantled through a depressing reality
I talked about this,(minus the heartbeat). My focus of unity was in the "string" that ties the mother to her daughter - perhaps an allusion to the red string of fate, showing how their fate is united? But I don't consider any of these original and I am not specially proud to have come up with these interpretations. I consider something original and interesting if its actually something many other candidates would not have thought of. This is evidently not the case, hence my disappointment.


(Original post by angelinahx)
contrasting lorde's postmodern employment of blank verse and irregular stanza
There is nothing postmodern about using blank verse. John Milton uses blank verse in Paradise Lost, an epic poem written in the 1600s. This is just the most obvious example that comes to my mind as its one of my favourite poems. There are thousands of English poems written before the modernist literary movement even started in the late 1800s/early 1900s let alone postmodernism. You can't just go around labelling features postmodernist. That is counter-intuitive to the idea of postmodernism itself, a movement that declares itself undefinable (the idea that "what labels me, negates me". That being said, common features that a lot of postmodern works share is the idea that history and time cannot be contained in a single narrative, and showing self-awareness that the work itself is a construct. Personally, my favourite element of postmodernism is the Derridean desconstruction some work offer on traditional ideas. I really like Gravity's Rainbow, and it breaks down the concept of history and what a "novel" even is. I highly reccomend reading it after your exams. As for the texts in the exam, I'd argue that Lorde's poem has more common in Romanticism than anything vaguely even modernist.

A poem that most scholars agree to be postmodern is this one:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poe.../mad-lib-elegy
it satirises the traditional Romantic poems while also showing self awareness of its status as a poem ("last line ommitted" )

I do think that the most interesting part of the structure was how Stevenson's poem used ABAB rhyme scheme until the last stanza, until it switched to a ballad stanza as if to reinforce the idea of a military victory. I wonder how many candidates mentioned it. I still dont think its very original, its very easy to spot.

(Original post by angelinahx)
this has nothing to do with "muh patriarchy"
Ouch. This was the main crux, the main climax of my line of argument for the unseen. Do you really think that the fact that the woman who seems almost scared of her child happens to be a male infant whereas the woman who is happy to be a mother has a daughter? Do you really think that there is nothing at all about the gender dynamics between male and female, some sort of deep freudian complex or some societal ideals shaping Stevenson's fear of her own son? Do you not think that the patriarchical system that Stevenson internalised in her relatively regressive era has nothing to do with how she says her "soft son" 's "blind" (as if to foreshadow his own lack of awareness of her oppression) eyes are like an insect? Is my idea so really objectively incorrect? I felt like it was the only original, interesting thing I had to contribute to the discourse. Perhaps that's why its opposed so vehemently.


(Original post by angelinahx)
there was so much to say about the two poems.
of course. my issue was how much of it I could personally consider interesting discourse. I'd be happy to chat more about ideas relating to these poems in DMs if you're interested.


(Original post by angelinahx)
good luck! i hope you get that a*.
thanks! I hope to study mathematics in university, so its not like I NEED it, but I really wanted one because I really enjoyed my english literature course, and I thought that an a* here would be easier than further maths and maths
Last edited by Spookyayu; 3 weeks ago
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angelinahx
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(Original post by Spookyayu)
there is nothing postmodern about using blank verse
i was stuck and had to incorporate ao3 somehow so i just sad that the irregularity of the stanzas + employment blank verse = postmodern. my teacher has frequently told us that because it's unseen and the examiners are aware that we lack contextual knowledge they tend to be quite lenient. i know it's a reach. also, i said that the stevenson on is modernist poem (because i thought was written in the great depression - but it's literally her birth year. so on top of giving us a **** othello question they didn't even provide information as to when the poem was written for ao3 clout. nice) because of the pessimistic tone employed and the destruction of an idealistic dream due to the realism etc.

(Original post by Spookyayu)
the most interesting part of the structure was how Stevenson's poem used ABAB rhyme scheme until the last stanza, until it switched to a ballad stanza as if to reinforce the idea of a military victory
that's really good, i didn't think of that

(Original post by Spookyayu)
Ouch. This was the main crux, the main climax of my line of argument for the unseen. Do you really think that the fact that the woman who seems almost scared of her child happens to be a male infant whereas the woman who is happy to be a mother has a daughter? Do you really think that there is nothing at all about the gender dynamics between male and female, some sort of deep freudian complex or some societal ideals shaping Stevenson's fear of her own son? Do you not think that the patriarchical system that Stevenson internalised in her relatively regressive era has nothing to do with how she says her "soft son" 's "blind" (as if to foreshadow his own lack of awareness of her oppression) eyes are like an insect? Is my idea so really objectively incorrect? I felt like it was the only original, interesting thing I had to contribute to the discourse. Perhaps that's why its opposed so vehemently.
i'm sure you could argue this, but it seems like a reach to me because of how few explicit references there were to the child's gender. it's only mentioned in the final stanza and it's not a repeated motif throughout the poem. rather, stevenson seems to be exploring the emotional impact of postnatal depression to me but honestly, you could argue anything in english as long as you evaluate it well which you seem to have done

(Original post by Spookyayu)
thanks! I hope to study mathematics in university, so its not like I NEED it, but I really wanted one because I really enjoyed my english literature course, and I thought that an a* here would be easier than further maths and maths
i really hope you meet your offer! where do you hope to go to?
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Spookyayu
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(Original post by angelinahx)
i really hope you meet your offer! where do you hope to go to?
Trinity College Dublin. I'll need two A stars in any subjects, with at least a B in maths based on the entry points in the previous years. Though 2 A stars might not cut it, and I'd have to get 3 to be comfortable and secure about getting a place.
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Toffeeman_
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I also studied Othello. The question itself was easy enough to answer imo but it wasn't ideal since there is so much to talk about in that play regarding other characters etc, it's annoying that they gave us a question on them lads in particular.
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