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OCR English Lit A Level Contextual Comparative Study 2021/2022

Hey all,

I (along with many other people I'm suree) am sitting my OCR A level English Lit. comparative and contextual paper in basically 2 weeks (15th june). I'm doing the Gothic and Dracula and The Bloody Chamber (anyone else?). I've exhausted all the practice papers there are available (up to 2020 I think) but I just wondered if anyone had any ideas/predictions for what might come up for the choice of essays? Does anyone know what the 2021 ones were about generally (I assume we can then *hopefully* discount those??) Let me know our thoughtss :smile:
Reply 1
Also - how has everyone found the course?? I really struggled because I have squeezed this and my music a-level course into one year so that I can attempt 4/5 a levels by next year but I found the set texts so interesting...what else did everyone do for their other texts?
Hi im in the same boat, same course and doing the same books! Honestly I have found doing the gothic really difficult and honestly i dont think its really all that possible to predict what will come up. I know its a big ask for an internet stranger but is there any chance you could send me some of your essays or notes?? I'd really appreciate it as im running out of resources fast!! Also quick question - how do you strucure your unseen gothic extract essay? Do you do paragraphs by theme or do you just work through the extract chronologically? Best of luck for the paper on tuesday btw!!
Original post by MintIceTea
Hi im in the same boat, same course and doing the same books! Honestly I have found doing the gothic really difficult and honestly i dont think its really all that possible to predict what will come up. I know its a big ask for an internet stranger but is there any chance you could send me some of your essays or notes?? I'd really appreciate it as im running out of resources fast!! Also quick question - how do you strucure your unseen gothic extract essay? Do you do paragraphs by theme or do you just work through the extract chronologically? Best of luck for the paper on tuesday btw!!

Advice for unseen:

Plan your essay before you start. Pick at least 3 Gothic tropes to discuss about that are also prevalent within Gothic literature that you have read. One of the tropes should be about narrative form EG: an omniscient narrator etc. A lot of people find it hard to talk about narrative form but once you've mastered the ability to just read a text and decipher its form it becomes really simple and a point you can probably write a lot about in a very short amount of time.

Within each trope that you talk about, link back to a Gothic text that you've read. DON'T saturate your essay with context- it should only be a few sentences long and it should tie your argument together. If you can't think of specific moments within a text you've ready, link it back to the genre as a whole and discuss the tropes significance within the sub-genre of gothic that it belongs to IE: Is it first wave gothic? second wave gothic? etc. How is this important when presenting this trope?

Your introduction shouldn't be long. A couple sentences explaining what the extract is about and what tropes you're going to discuss is more than enough. Your conclusion should also be similar- tying it all together and explaining the gothic elements of the text as a whole.

I got an A in English Literature by the way. I'm selling notes/essays on the Gothic so dm me if you want.

Hope this helps.
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by englishbuzzzz
I got an A in English Literature by the way. I'm selling notes/essays on the Gothic so dm me if you want.

Original post by englishbuzzzz
This is a really good resource for Dracula ***

You shouldn't be self advertising on tsr.
Original post by englishbuzzzz
Advice for unseen:

Plan your essay before you start. Pick at least 3 Gothic tropes to discuss about that are also prevalent within Gothic literature that you have read. One of the tropes should be about narrative form EG: an omniscient narrator etc. A lot of people find it hard to talk about narrative form but once you've mastered the ability to just read a text and decipher its form it becomes really simple and a point you can probably write a lot about in a very short amount of time.

Within each trope that you talk about, link back to a Gothic text that you've read. DON'T saturate your essay with context- it should only be a few sentences long and it should tie your argument together. If you can't think of specific moments within a text you've ready, link it back to the genre as a whole and discuss the tropes significance within the sub-genre of gothic that it belongs to IE: Is it first wave gothic? second wave gothic? etc. How is this important when presenting this trope?

Your introduction shouldn't be long. A couple sentences explaining what the extract is about and what tropes you're going to discuss is more than enough. Your conclusion should also be similar- tying it all together and explaining the gothic elements of the text as a whole.

I got an A in English Literature by the way. I'm selling notes/essays on the Gothic so dm me if you want.

Hope this helps.

ahhh thank you so much this is really good advice - I actually bought your gothic drac vs TBC pack on stuvia nad its fantastic. Thank you so much for the advice!!
Original post by MintIceTea
ahhh thank you so much this is really good advice - I actually bought your gothic drac vs TBC pack on stuvia nad its fantastic. Thank you so much for the advice!!


Np :smile: Good luck!
Original post by englishbuzzzz
Np :smile: Good luck!


thank you!sorry for the hassle but one quick quesiton, when you say tropes you mean things like supernatural, sublime, isolation etc right? also to character archetypes such as damsel in distress also count as tropes? thank you!
Reply 9
Original post by MintIceTea
Hi im in the same boat, same course and doing the same books! Honestly I have found doing the gothic really difficult and honestly i dont think its really all that possible to predict what will come up. I know its a big ask for an internet stranger but is there any chance you could send me some of your essays or notes?? I'd really appreciate it as im running out of resources fast!! Also quick question - how do you strucure your unseen gothic extract essay? Do you do paragraphs by theme or do you just work through the extract chronologically? Best of luck for the paper on tuesday btw!!


Heyy I structure them with an intro including whatever I can deduce from the text as to what sub-genre of the gothic it is from, then 3x paragraphs focussing on a different theme touched on in the passage, then concluding with how gothic it is..which essays would you like of course I can : )
Reply 10
Original post by englishbuzzzz
Advice for unseen:

Plan your essay before you start. Pick at least 3 Gothic tropes to discuss about that are also prevalent within Gothic literature that you have read. One of the tropes should be about narrative form EG: an omniscient narrator etc. A lot of people find it hard to talk about narrative form but once you've mastered the ability to just read a text and decipher its form it becomes really simple and a point you can probably write a lot about in a very short amount of time.

Within each trope that you talk about, link back to a Gothic text that you've read. DON'T saturate your essay with context- it should only be a few sentences long and it should tie your argument together. If you can't think of specific moments within a text you've ready, link it back to the genre as a whole and discuss the tropes significance within the sub-genre of gothic that it belongs to IE: Is it first wave gothic? second wave gothic? etc. How is this important when presenting this trope?

Your introduction shouldn't be long. A couple sentences explaining what the extract is about and what tropes you're going to discuss is more than enough. Your conclusion should also be similar- tying it all together and explaining the gothic elements of the text as a whole.

I got an A in English Literature by the way. I'm selling notes/essays on the Gothic so dm me if you want.

Hope this helps.


Hi this was so helpful thank you! I was just wondering if you (or anyone else??) could just really quickly break down some of the sub-genres/sub-eras in the Gothic (first/second wave, feminist, neo etc.) because I feel a bit unsure of the Gothic timeline? Thank you so much!!
Original post by mupu26
Heyy I structure them with an intro including whatever I can deduce from the text as to what sub-genre of the gothic it is from, then 3x paragraphs focussing on a different theme touched on in the passage, then concluding with how gothic it is..which essays would you like of course I can : )

thats so helpful thank you so much! any essay from both unseen and comparison sections would be great really, but more so any comparisons you have please. Best of luck for tomorrow!
Original post by mupu26
Hi this was so helpful thank you! I was just wondering if you (or anyone else??) could just really quickly break down some of the sub-genres/sub-eras in the Gothic (first/second wave, feminist, neo etc.) because I feel a bit unsure of the Gothic timeline? Thank you so much!!


Not sure if this is too late or not but here:

First wave- 18th century (from 1764)

Second wave- 1800-1830

Victorian gothic- Mid 19th century

Fin De Siecle- 1890s early 1900s

Modern- 1920s onwards

Post modern- 1980s onwards

Southern gothic- 1950s onwards.
Original post by MintIceTea
thank you!sorry for the hassle but one quick quesiton, when you say tropes you mean things like supernatural, sublime, isolation etc right? also to character archetypes such as damsel in distress also count as tropes? thank you!


Yeah it can be any typical convention that is seen in gothic literature.
Original post by englishbuzzzz
Yeah it can be any typical convention that is seen in gothic literature.


tyy
hey! i'm doing the same, do u have a clue as to what the 2022 question was?
Reply 16
Hi guys, ik you're all people who sat ocr last year but i cant find a thread for 2023. My class and I came up with as many practice essay questions as we could based on themes that haven't been seen yet (e do frankenstein and TBC but a lot are probably applicable to dracula too) for anyone about to take the paper or taking it in the future :smile:

Liminality
“That which cannot be defined is far more frightening than that which can”
“The gothic exposes the absurdity of our attempts to define the undefinable”
“Doubt and uncertainty are far more compelling than fact and reason”

Corruption
“Debauched and depraved desires are inherent in all of humanity”
“The gothic proves that appearances are deceiving”
“The true monsters of the gothic are the humans themselves”

Innocence
“The gothic demonstrates that innocence is a fragile state”
“The gothic presents innocence as something to be feared”
“The gothic fascination with innocence lies in its fragility”
“Naivety and innocence are presented as ideal states in the gothic”
“The gothic explores a disturbing fascination with innocence”
“True innocence is as rare in the gothic as it is in real life”

Punishment & Justice
“The gothic shows that all villains will be punished in the end”
“The gothic explores our fear of unpunished evil”
“True evil is rarely punished”
“The gothic challenges our notions of justice confronting us with a world without consequence”

Transgression
“The gothic articulates contemporary fears of transgression”
“Desire and transgression go hand in hand in the gothic”
“The gothic explores the extents to which humans will go to acquire the forbidden”
“The gothic explores our fascination with what is forbidden”

Relationships
“The gothic presents the foundations of human relationships as ultimately unstable”
“Relationships in the gothic are fraught with corruption and debauchery”
“Death and desire in the gothic are hideously intermixed”

Cruelty & Desire
“Cruelty and violence are inherent aspects of the human experience”
“The gothic serves as a mirror to reflect our own cruelty and wrongdoing”

Terror and horror
“the distinction between terror and horror is fundamental to gothic writing"
"there is far more to be said about terror in gothic writing than horror"

The past
“The pervasion of the past in the gothic threatens our “modern” identity”
“The gothic shows a disturbing fascination with the past”
“In the gothic, the present is generally pervaded by ideas and images of the past”

Secrecy
“no one ever truly knows each other in the gothic"

Villains and victims
“The boundary between victim and villain in the gothic is rarely clear cut”
“The uncertain boundary between victimhood and villainy is what inspires fear in gothic readers”
“Gothic notions of victims and villains are far too simple”
“There are no true victims in the gothic”

Appearances
“An innocent surfaces can rarely be trusted”
“The gothic serves as a mirror to expose dark and repressed desires”
“Few characters in the gothic are truly as they seem”

Morality
“Good and evil are never clear cut in the gothic”
“The gothic demonstrates that our judgements of good and evil are rarely reliable”
“A strong moral code is out of place in gothic literature”
“The gothic indulges the reader in a world without morals in which they can explore their own desires”

Identity
“a key aspect of the gothic is its power to challenge and even threaten our identities"

Monstrosity
“Monsters are far less frightening than humans”
“The gothic criticises the speed with which we reject those unlike us as ‘monsters’ and ‘other’”
“The definition of a monster is far more complex than the gothic presents”
“The gothic presents a far more nuanced understanding of monstrosity”
“It is unusual for there to be no way to pity a gothic monster”
“Most monsters are deserving of pity”
“The boundaries between humans and monsters in the gothic are problematically blurred”

Class & Society
“At its heart, the gothic is about the social divisions that we impose upon ourselves”
“In a gothic world of vampires, ghosts, curses and werewolves, characters still cannot escape social hierarchies”
“The gothic exposes the inappropriateness of social division”
“The gothic presents and unsettling breakdown of the social hierarchies on which we depend”

Death
“The gothic explores a disturbing fascination with death”
“Death in the gothic is more functional than sentimental”

Humanity
“The real monsters of gothic fiction are the humans themselves”
“There's far more to fear within humanity itself than can be found within gothic novels”
“The gothic allows the reader to detach themselves from human morality and indulge in their true desires”
“There are no monsters in gothic literature, there are only humans”

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