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are you allowed to criticse the author in gcse english lit?

i was wondering if criticising the authors beliefs is something that many people do in gcse english, and whether its a good idea.

i've criticised the writer's choices in english language before and my teacher told me that was perceptive analysis, so i assume it would be the same for writer's presentation of ideas (and with english lit it could be explored more contextually and developed further) but i don't know if it would be as acceptable or relevant.

for example in lord of the flies, i've noticed that golding's racism is something thats very obvious in how he presents the savagery of the boys and i was wondering if it would be possible for me to comment on this in my essays, and discuss how he failed to challenge and question his own beliefs when writing - whether that be because he was simply a man in the 1950's who un-shockingly had a negative perception of different cultures or because he didn't want to make his novel TOO polarising (which i doubt, given, as said previously, he was a man in the 1950s. racism wasn't exactly uncommon) or whether it would just be completely irrelevant and distract from my essay and weaken my argument.

i've also thought of criticising shakespeare in a similar way, to do with his very anti-feminist killing of juliet, a relatively independent character. and i could discuss what factors would've impacted his beliefs and what his true intentions were with his presentation of her.

i think criticising the author and exploring their true intentions would make my essays more interesting, but whether its relevant and would actually help my essay and argument i'm unsure of. so if anyone could let me know if its a good idea or not i'd really appreciate that!!
Original post by lc_007
i was wondering if criticising the authors beliefs is something that many people do in gcse english, and whether its a good idea.
i've criticised the writer's choices in english language before and my teacher told me that was perceptive analysis, so i assume it would be the same for writer's presentation of ideas (and with english lit it could be explored more contextually and developed further) but i don't know if it would be as acceptable or relevant.
for example in lord of the flies, i've noticed that golding's racism is something thats very obvious in how he presents the savagery of the boys and i was wondering if it would be possible for me to comment on this in my essays, and discuss how he failed to challenge and question his own beliefs when writing - whether that be because he was simply a man in the 1950's who un-shockingly had a negative perception of different cultures or because he didn't want to make his novel TOO polarising (which i doubt, given, as said previously, he was a man in the 1950s. racism wasn't exactly uncommon) or whether it would just be completely irrelevant and distract from my essay and weaken my argument.
i've also thought of criticising shakespeare in a similar way, to do with his very anti-feminist killing of juliet, a relatively independent character. and i could discuss what factors would've impacted his beliefs and what his true intentions were with his presentation of her.
i think criticising the author and exploring their true intentions would make my essays more interesting, but whether its relevant and would actually help my essay and argument i'm unsure of. so if anyone could let me know if its a good idea or not i'd really appreciate that!!

I think its a great idea! It would make your essay so much more interesting and put you aside from the majority when in reality, that is what you want.

Dont take me up on everything though and ask a teacher first because I dont want to be the reason you dont get top marks, but imo it sounds great
Reply 2
Hi lc_007.

I'd say it's the sign of a thinking and perceptive student that you want to criticise (in the truest sense of the word!) elements of an author's work. However, you must ensure that you can support your criticism reasonably, and with appropriate textual evidence and quotations. To criticise without support is merely token, and is unlikely to gain credit.

For example, when you mention 'Golding's racism ... [in] ... the savagery of the boys', what do you mean? What do you infer? Similarly, in 'Romeo and Juliet', what do you mean when you mention 'Shakespeare's ... very anti-feminist killing of Juliet'?

Your thoughts are interesting. Tell me more!
Write down an example and share it with your teacher. While it would certainly make your essay more interesting it may not be the most efficient approach under exam conditions.

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