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Monday, June 21, 2010

SHSS END-OF-YEAR EXAMINATIONS 2008 Secondary Three Express-The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time Essay-type Questions

Question 1:  Christopher's fear of people and open space are characteristics that he often has to contend with.  Highlight instances of such encounters and comment on the different ways in which he manages these fears. 

Question 2:  Haddon's use of the first person narrator is an effective device which helps the reader comprehend the protagonist, Christopher.  Discuss. 

SHSS END-OF-YEAR EXAMINATIONS 2008 Secondary Three Express-Unseen Prose

Read the poem below and answer the questions that follow.

Void Deck


Where the neighbourhood wives,
After a morning at the wet market,
Sit facing the breeze
To trade snatches of gossip
About leery shopkeepers,
The local louts,
(Like that fella who’s always drilling his walls –
Gives me migraine)
And that mad woman
Who throws things from her window.
With careful put-downs they
Fashion boasts, about stubborn sons,
Lazy daughters, who by some miracle or mistake
Always score well in class.
When words falter,
Gestures take over: pursed lips, rolling eyes,
Animated hands adorned by bangles of
Gold, jade, steel, string

And children orbit around them
Laugh without diction –
Their games of tag a reassurance
That there has been no hothousing
Of who is unclean, unwashed,
Untouchable. When they break out
Into some kindergarten song,
One almost believes in a generation
Cleansed of skin-deep suspicions,
And free from the superstitions of the tongue –

And old folks sit like sages
To deploy chess pieces with ancient strategies.
In a corner, a caged bird bursts
With the song of its master’s pride
And wrinkled women breathe, through
Tai-chi-tuned windpipes, the operative melody of the air…

All a wanton fantasy.

Eyes reveal a meeting-point
For loners and loiterers:
A sense of things reduced –
Conversations that trickle through
Brief noddings at lift landings
Teenage rhetoric scrawled, in liquid paper,
On the stone-tabled chessboard,
(Where the king used to sit)
The grandiose house-selling dreams of residents
Compacted in anonymous letterboxes;
As an afterthought, an old man pees
Under a public phone.

A place to be avoided, this,
How in its vastness it devours hours.
Little wonder then,
Why residents rush through void decks
Back to the cramped comforts of home
As if in fear of what such open space might do
To cosy minds.

by Alfian bin Sa’at

Question 1: With evidence from the poem, why does the poet say that the void deck is a “place to be avoided”? What is he trying to make his readers aware of?
Question 2: How successful is the poet in employing poetic strategies to express his opinions? Support with evidence from the text.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


Read the poem carefully and then answer the questions that follow it.

Solitary Confinement

Have you ever been ordered to strip
Before half a dozen barking eyes
Forcing you against a wall
Ordering you to part your legs and bend over

Have you ever had a door slammed
Locking you out of the world
Propelling you into timeless space
To the emptiness of silence

Have you ever lain on a wooden bed
In regulation pyjamas
And tried to get the bucket to talk
In all seriousness

Have you ever begged for blankets
From an eye staring through a hole in the door
Rubbing at the cold air digging into your flesh
Biting down on your bottom lip, while mouthing
“Please, Sir”

Have you ever heard screams in the middle of
The night
Or the sobbing of a stir-crazy inmate
Echo over and over again in the darkness
Threatening to draw you into its madness

Have you ever rolled up into a human ball
And prayed for sleep to come
Have you ever lain awake for hours
Waiting for morning to mark yet another day of
Being alone

If you’ve never experienced even one of these
Then bow your head and thank God
For it’s a strange thing indeed –
This rehabilitation system

Robert Walker

Question 1: Discuss the various possible reasons why the poet has written this poem.

Question 2: What do you find striking about the way words and images are used to describe the activities and the atmosphere of the place?

Question 3: How does the tone of the poem further sharpen your feelings with regard to the experience of the speaker?


Read this passage carefully and then answer the questions that follow it:

It was a little after I had had my lunch when I heard the knock at the door. When I opened it, a polite man greeted me and passed me an envelope. Please collect the body within twenty-four hours, or it will be cremated. There was no room for shock. The whole week I had prepared myself for this. I did not let my hands tremble as I accepted the envelope. I told myself I was receiving something that was weightless.

The man left earlier than I had expected. I did not like the idea that he felt it was only proper to leave me to grieve in private. He did not understand that there was no grief. My son and I had not spoken to each other for many years. Unlike his mother, I had refused to visit him in prison. I would have opened the envelope right in front of the man if he had stayed. I would have done it calmly, and when I am done, I will look at him straight in the eyes and say thank you.

But the man would be mistaken if he had thought my actions were calm. Because calmness meant that I was placing my feelings under control. But as I have said, I had no more feelings anymore. It was not calmness, but numbness. Very early on I had decided that everything that was happening was as a result of fate. It was fate that would hold my son up like a puppet from a rope, and it was also fate that would move my hands, also like a puppet, to tear the edge of an envelope.

Inside the envelope was a letter. There was also my son’s pink identity card. I put the letter to one side and stared hard at the I/C. So this was what a dead man looked like. There were shadows under his eyes. There was something far away in his expression, a face not prepared for the snap of the camera.

There was his name.

There was my name too. Separated from his by the word ‘Bin’.

His race.

Date of birth.

Country of birth.

On the back, his I/C number.

Our home address.

But what absorbed me the most was a little hole that had been punched in his I/C. It was there to say that the I/C could no longer be used. To show someone an I/C like this, you would have to place your finger and thumb over the hole, praying that nobody would notice that you are holding something that has been damaged. I suddenly saw my son holding the I/C in this way, trying to pass himself off as someone who was still alive. It was just the sort of lying thing that I could expect from him. I imagined him doing it with that crooked smile on his face, the smile he always used to convince us that he would change, that he was listening, that everything would turn out all right. And I became angry.

My anger turned towards the person who had punched the hole. I had seen the way a credit card is destroyed, with a big pair of scissors slicing it into two halves. Why couldn’t they do the same with this I/C? Why this clean, straightforward hole? I felt my anger burn, first on my skin, through the flesh, like a droplet of acid, right into my bones. My son was no more. I saw a series of circles, perfect circles… the outline of a playground, the stone table under our block, the noose tightening around his neck, the shape of his mouth when he was still a baby, shrinking to the size of the hole. It is an opening through which I feel my body leaking, drop by drop, until the day I join my son on the other side.

(by Alfian Sa’at)

*Bin – “son of” in Arabic

Question 1: What have you gathered about the character of the narrator’s son when he was alive?
Question 2: What impressions have you formed of the narrator’s relationship with his son in the past?

Question 3: Explore the ways in which the writer conveys to the reader the love of a father for his son.

Remember to support your answer with close reference to the words and images of the text.

2014 Literature in English GCE O Level November 2008 - Unseen Poetry

Read this poem carefully, and then answer the questions that follow it.

the coffee house, cockpit hotel

not a daily occurrence:
a bride waiting, 7:30pm, at a coffee house.
you, shifting eyes, forkfuls into mouth,
stop. stop & watch the bride,
2 bridesmaids & an elderly chaperon
at the little round table
having a respite before the dinner.
her eyes, downcast, become modest behaviour.

immediately one floor down
dragon room is taken for the reception.
relatives line up at the entrance,
the men clutching proffered tins of rothmans.

twice, a hand gently steals out & pats
any suspected flaw of coiffure into perfection.
most of the time, looking at her gloves,
her eyes are downcast, cast downwards
one floor immediately below.

at the end of an elastic hour
will she rise, raise her eyes,
descend one floor, ascend the low platform
elevating the tabled 10 courses,
smile gently at the groom, post-sharksfin
& pre-crispy chicken & mark out clearly
her domain, right here & right up there?

(by Arthur Yap)

Question 1: What are your feelings about the bride as you read the poem?
Question 2: What do you find striking about the way the poet uses words and images to describe the situation?

Remember to refer closely to the poem in your answer.

2014 Literature in English GCE O Level November 2008 - Unseen Prose

This is an extract from a story about a boy called Andy. Read it carefully, and then answer the questions that follow it.

The rain was soothing. It was a cold rain, but his body was hot all over, and the rain helped cool him. He had always liked rain. He could remember sitting in Laura’s house one time, the rain running down the windows, and just looking out over the street, watching the people running from the rain. That was when he’d first joined the Royals. He could remember how happy he was the Royals had taken him. The Royals and the Guardians, two of the biggest. He was a Royal. There had been meaning to the title.

Now, in the alley, with the cold rain washing his hot body, he wondered about the meaning. If he died, he was Andy. He was not a Royal. He was simply Andy, and he was dead. And he wondered suddenly if the Guardians who had ambushed him and knifed him had ever once realized he was Andy? Had they known that he was Andy, or had they simply known that he was a Royal wearing a purple silk jacket? Had they stabbed him, Andy, or had they only stabbed the jacket and the title, and what good was the title if you were dying?

I’m Andy, he screamed wordlessly. I’m Andy.

An old lady stopped at the other end of the alley. The garbage cans were stacked there, beating noisily in the rain. The old lardy carried an umbrella with broken ribs, carried it like a queen. She stepped into the mouth of the alley, shopping bag over one arm. She lifted the lids of the garbage cans. She did not hear Andy grunt because she was a little deaf and because the rain was beating on the cans. She collected her string and her newspapers, and an old hat with a feather on it from one of the garbage cans, and a broken footstool from another of the cans. And then she replaced the lids and lifted her umbrella high and walked out of the alley mouth. She had worked quickly and soundlessly, and now she was gone.

The alley looked very long now. He could see people passing at the other end of it, and he wondered who the people were, and he wondered if he would ever get to know them, wondered who it was on the Guardians who had stabbed him, who had plunged the knife into his body.

“That’s for you, Royal!” the voice had said. “That’s for you, Royal!” Even in his pain, there had been some sort of pride in knowing he was a Royal. Now there was no pride at all. With the rain beginning to chill him, with the blood pouring steadily between his fingers, he knew only a sort of dizziness. He could only think: I want to be Andy.

It was not very much to ask of the world.

He watched the world passing at the other end of the alley. The world didn’t know he was Andy. The world didn’t know he was alive. He wanted to say, “Hey, I’m alive! Hey, look at me! I’m alive! Don’t you now I’m alive! Don’t you know I exist?”

He felt weak and very tired. He felt alone and wet and feverish and chilled. He knew he was going to die now. That made him suddenly sad. He was filled with sadness that his life would be over at sixteen. He felt at once as if he had never done anything, never been anywhere. There were so many things to do.

(by Evan Hunter)

Question 1: What impressions of Andy and his situation do the first two paragraphs of the passage create for you?

Question 2: What do you find striking about the way the writer uses words and images to convey Andy’s thoughts and feelings?

Remember to refer closely to the passage in your answer.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

GCE 2193/4 = GCE 2021/1 = N Level Literature in English-Prose(Sep/Oct 2005)

Read this passage carefully, and then answer the questions that follow it.

He drove out along grassy ruts on to the road, not far from the bridge where Lucy had stood watching the eel.  As he turned right, towards town, his eyes widened and his brain whirled.  The swaying, lumpy, black

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Imagery, images, imagination and the courage to imagine

 Picture and Text below from Sharpening Your Senses
by Suzanne Choo and Robert Yeo, pages 38 -39

Look at this picture and describe it closely. 
When we look at this picture from afar, we see a human face.  However, on closer examination, we realise that there is more to the face - in fact, it is made up of 24 different animals.  Can you make them out? 

The point of this exercise is that analysing a poem or prose text often requires you to be able to zoom out of and zoom into it.  In other words, to appreciate a text effectively, you need to grasp the big picture about what the text is about and then move to look at it closely for its details. 

Regarding Poetry

The words, “poem” and “poetry” are derived from the Greek word “poiein” which means “to create or make” – the idea being that poetry is a created artifact, a structure that develops from the human imagination and that is expressed rhythmically in words.

Poetry and poem describe a wide variety of spoken and written forms, styles and patterns, and also a wide variety of subjects. In the light of this variety, the best way to understand poetry is to experience it – read it, study it, savour it, think about it, dream about it, learn it, memorize it, mull it over, talk about it with others, ask questions about it, enjoy it, love it.

A recipe for enjoying poetry

• Lots of interest
• A keen eye
• A good ear
• A thoughtful, questioning mind
• Memories of your life experience

How then to respond to poetry?
1. Read the whole poem using the first four ingredients.
2. Re-read it, applying your questioning mind especially to the title of the poem. It is usually a sign to tell you what the poet thinks is important about the poem. Take note of the punctuation in the poem and any interesting or unusual words.
3. Now mix in your own memories and experiences. They do not have to be exactly the same experiences – they may be experiences of things you have read about or watched on T.V.
4. Inside your head, trying restating what the lines say. Use your own words. (It is not essential to be able to do this for all words.)
5. Test yourself. Are you ready to respond? Can you say what you think the poet’s main idea is? Can you say what you like or do not like about the poem? Can you tell someone else what it reminds you of?
6. If you cannot respond just yet, repeat steps 1 to 4 of the method.

What is the poet / speaker saying?
The poet is the real person who writes poem.
The poet creates the speaker or the persona who represents the voice.
When we read a poem, we hear the voice speaking to us through the words.
We are able to visualize or imagine or feel about the content of the poem because we can form mental pictures through our understanding of the words we read. Our mind’s eyes help us “see” and understand the poem.

• Does it help you to identify the poet’s purpose?
• Is the title suitable for the poem? Why or why not?

Subject Matter
• The subject matter is the poem’s content.
• What event, situation or experience does the poem describe or record?
• Did you find the content interesting and enjoyable? Why?

• The theme is the poet’s message to the reader.
• Examples of recurring popular themes are: the futility of war, the beauty of nature and the wonder of love.
• What is the poet’s purpose or motive in writing the poem?
• Do you think that the theme is important? Why or why not?

Feelings and Emotions
• Poetry is OFTEN (some say ALWAYS) concerned with emotions and feelings.
• Poets OFTEN (some say ALWAYS) write about deeply moving experiences – times of joy, fear, or sadness.
• Poets want to convey their feelings through their words and they want their words to enthrall us.
• William Wordsworth once said, “All good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feeling.”
• What are some of the feelings expressed by the poet?
• What emotional response does the poet seek to arouse in you?
• Why did you like or dislike the poem?

Appealing to the sense
• Poets often attempt to create a sensory experience for us – one which involves one or more of our five senses of sight, sound, taste, touch and smell.
• Poets rely on their poetic technique to achieve this. Obviously, they cannot really create a smell, a taste or a touch for us. However, by careful selection of words they may stimulate us – our memories or imagination so that reading the poem may be a sensory experience in itself.
• Has the poet attempted to play on some or all of these senses of sight, touch, taste, smell or hearing? How has the poet set about doing this?
• How do you react to the poet’s attempt to play upon your senses?

What techniques does the poet use?

Word choice
• Words are a poet’s tools of trade. It is with words that he or she is able to create emotional responses, change attitudes and bring insight.
• How would you describe the poet’s choice of words? Are they vivid/striking/effective? Why do you think so?
• What words especially affected you?

• Poets constantly use comparisons to get their word pictures across to the reader.
• Similes, metaphors, personification and symbols are very important tools of the poet.
• What is the effect of specific similes and metaphors?
• Does the poet use imagery in which objects are given human characteristics? If so, what does the poet achieve by using personification?
• Is there a symbol used in the poem?
• Why has the poet used this symbol?

The sounds of poetry
• Sounds and sound words are very important to poets.
• Poets use poetic devices such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, assonance and rhyme to great effect.
• What are the sounds in the poem? What is the effect of these sounds?
• Has the poet used rhyme? If so, what is its effect?
• What are the effects of alliteration and assonance?

Rhythm and movement
• Rhythm is the regular beat that runs fast or slow, through a song, a dance, a poem or an everyday sound.
• Can you identify a rhythm in the poem?
• What kind of rhythm is it?
• How does the rhythm help the poem?

• Poets use all kinds of structures.
• Poets want the structure of the poem to be suitable for the images and ideas they are bringing to life.
• Sometimes poets may choose a traditional form such as a sonnet, ballad, limerick, haiku, ode or epic.
• Other times, they may decide to abandon punctuation ( and so you can forget about “end-stopped” or “caesuras” and so on) and normal sentence structure.
• How is the poem structured?
• How does the structure help convey the poet’s images and ideas?

What is Poetry? as defined by a lot of other persons who take it seriously...

Poetry is the kind of thing poets write. (Robert Frost)

Poetry is the overflow of emotions within us. (Langston Hughes)

A poem is a piece of writing that expresses emotions, experiences, and ideas, especially in short lines using words that rhyme. (Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English)

A poem is a piece of writing in which the words are chosen for their sound and the images and ideas they suggest, not just their obvious meaning. The words are arranged in separate lines, often ending in rhyme. (Cambridge International Dictionary of English)

A poem is a piece of writing using beautiful or unusual language arranged in fixed lines that have a particular beat and often rhyme. ( Macmillan English Dictionary for Advanced Learners)

Poetry is the reflection of the soul. ( Julie L. H. Strouf)

Poetry is a composition in verse. (A general dictionary definition)

Poetry is not the thing said but a way of saying it. (A.E. Housman)

Poetry is a language which tells us, through a more or less emotional reaction, something that cannot be said. (Edward Arlington Robinson)

Poetry is “game of knowledge, a bringing to consciousness, by naming them, of emotions and their hidden relationships.” (W. H. Auden)

(…and from Lawrence Ferlinghetti)
Poetry is news from the frontiers of consciousness.

Poetry is what we would cry out upon awaking in a dark wood in the middle of the journey of our lives.

Poetry is a mirror walking down a high street full of visual delights.

Poetry is the anarchy of the senses making sense.

Poetry is the dialogue of naked statuses.

Poetry is the pillow-thought after intercourse.

Poetry is the far far cries upon a beach at nightfall.

Poetry is all things born with wings that sing.

Poetry should arise to ecstasy somewhere between speech and song.

Poetry is the street talk of angels and demons.

Poetry is what exists between the lines.
Poetry is the best words in the best order. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Prose consists of words in their best order; poetry consists of the BEST words in the BEST order – Samuel Coleridge

Poetry is “the rhythmical creation of beauty” – Edgar Allan Poe

Poetry is “a reaching out towards expression, an effort to find fulfillment”. In a complete poem, “an emotion has found its thought and the thought has found the words”. – Robert Frost

Poetry is the “most beautiful, the most impressive, and the most effective mode of saying things”. – Matthew Arnold

Poetry is the “record of the best and happiest moments of the best minds, the very image of life expressed in its eternal truth”. – Percy Bysshe Shelly


Ars Poetica

A poem should be palpable and mute
As a globed fruit
As old medallions to the thumb
Silent as the sleeve-worn stone
Of casement ledges where moss has grown
A poem should be wordless
As the flight of birds

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs
Leaving, as the moon releases
Twig by twig the night-entangled trees
Leaving, as the moon behind the winter leaves
Memory by memory the mind

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true
For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf
For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea

A poem should not mean
But be

Written by Archibald MacLeish

Poetry is a way to use language to say more than the simple words themselves. It communicates a significant experience shared by many by allowing us to become a part of that experience.

Writing about a Poem

The Wind Is Angry written by Adrienne Brady

The wind is angry –
He’s been in a rage all night,
Stamping his feet, bellowing
And finally breaking out.
In morning light he gallops,
At full tilt, round the house
Charging at the walls,
Pulling at the thatch
And beating with clenched fists
Against the windows.
Even now, he’s thrusting
Icy fingers through the crevices
And under doors.

The house is tired
And slightly bored;
She watches with listless eyes,
Sighs – settles on her haunches
And entrenches herself still more.

At full tilt – as fast as possible

Thatch - straw, reeds, leaves etc used to make a roof, or the roof made of them
Listless - feeling tired and not interested in things
Haunches – the parts of your body that includes your bottom, your hips, and the tops of your legs
Entrenches –keeps steadily still

1. Which figurative language device is being used here?

The device is personification. Both non-living things – the wind and the house – are given human qualities. This is shown in “the wind is angry” and “the house is tired and slightly bored”.

2. The wind is very violent. Write down his violent characteristics.
The wind’s violent characteristics include:
• raging all night,
• stamping his feet, bellowing
• breaking out.
• galloping at full tilt,
• charging at the walls,
• pulling at the thatch
• beating with clenched fists against the windows
• thrusting icy fingers through the crevices and under doors

3. Why do you think the poet decided to make the wind male and the house female?
The wind is being referred to as “he” – being made male probably because in general, we expect the man to be proactive, to the extent of being destructive here, if he is in anger. A man is more likely to show the violent side of his behaviour than a woman. All the acts of violence by the wind, are more likely to be shown by the male gender than the female gender. The house is referred to as “she” probably because the woman is not expected to be proactive. In this poem, she watches helplessly against the destructive rage of the man. So the wind is male and the house is female come as no surprise. The poet simply makes use of the assumptions we already hold for both genders in the way we show our anger or react to it.

4. What human characteristics has the poet given the house?
The house is “tired and slightly bored”. She watches helplessly the destructive actions of the wind with her “listless eyes” She could only ‘sigh” as she “settles on her haunches and entrenches herself still more”. All she can do is to try to protect herself as much as possible from the wind’s destructive blows.

5. What difference is there between the behaviour of the wind and the house?
While the wind appears to be angry and destructive, the house appears to be uninterested and only trying her best to protect herself from the wind.

6. Which did you prefer – the wind or the house? Why?

You can choose EITHER ONE of the TWO. There is no RIGHT or WRONG answers.

If you think you prefer the wind, then use the information from the poem to support your answer.

If you think you prefer the house, then again, use the information from the poem to support your answer.

Let's get to the fundamentals - The use of FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE

Question 1: What is figurative language?

Figurative language is language that uses imagery or figures of speech, for example, simile, metaphor or personification to create images in the mind of the reader when he is reading a text.

Question 2: Why do writers use figurative language?
It is a technique of comparison the writers use to make the meaning of their work more dramatic, more visual and more memorable by comparing one thing with another.

The purpose of using figurative language is
[a] to create an accurate mental picture (image) in the reader, and
[b] to supplement the dictionary meanings of words with richness through the use of connotations.

Question 3: What is a simile?
A simile is a figure of speech used as a comparison of one person or object with another. Such comparison is usually made clearly by words such as “as”, “like” and “than”. For example, the simile in “Tim jumps like a monkey” compares Tim’s agility with those of a monkey to emphasize how active and excited Tim is. Tim, through the use of a simile, is being compared with a monkey.

Question 4: What is a metaphor?
A metaphor is a figure of speech used as a total connection between two objects. The comparison is so strong that one thing embraces all the qualities of the thing it is compared with. For example, the metaphor in “Tim is a monkey” compares every aspect of Tim, not just his agility but his total behaviour, to that of a monkey. Tim, through the use of a metaphor, has become a monkey.

Question 5: What is personification?
Personification is a figure of speech in which an object or concept is given a human attribute. The effect is to take concepts which could seem abstract and dull, and to breathe life into them, making them seem like people.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quotable quotes - The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Amanda:  Character's what to look for in a man. 
Tom:  That's what I've always said, Mother. 
Amanda:  You've never said anything of the kind and I suspect you would never give it a thought.
Tom:  Don't be so suspicious of me. 
Amanda:  At least I hope he's the type that's up and coming. 
Tom:  I think he really goes in for self-improvement. 

Quotable quotes - The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams

Tom:  Yes, but Mr. O' Connor is not a family man.
Amanda:  He might be, mightn't he?  Some time in the future?
Tom:  I see, Plans and provisions.
Amanda:  You are the only young man that I know of who ignores the fact that the future becomes the present, the present the past, and the past turns into everlasting regret if you don't plan for it!
Tom: I will think that over and see what I can make of it. 

S.T.A.R. approach to understanding and appreciating literary texts- a detailed explanation

Not the sunset, but the beginning of every story that is waiting to be told.

who? when? why? what? where? how?
narrator - point of view
style of storytelling, tone and mood
characterisation - physical / mental / social / moral / political / cultural 
setting and atmosphere
time and location
  • An accurate understanding of SETTING is crucial because you will then be confident and able to suggest with some certainty where to place yourself as a reader when you are engaging the text - who? when? why? what? where? how? the story unfolds. First and foremost, always ASK, THINK and DECIDE for yourself:  WHO IS TELLING THE STORY and HOW IT IS BEING TOLD?

What might the three witches be brewing for Macbeth this time?

Why is the story highlighted to you?
What is the TRIGGER?
What is the ISSUE?
What is the REASON for the story to be written?
What is the nature of the CONFLICT - differences in thinking and feelings > contradiction > disagreement > tiff > squabble > fisticuffs > fight> struggle > battle > war ...

    What has Marco to do with his rival in love?
Do you think they could resolve their differences? 
- A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller

Setting + Trouble + Characters = Action
How does a character unfold?
How does a character develop himself or herself?
How does a character react to another character?
How do they affect each other?
How do they affect other people?
How do they resolve their "TROUBLE"?
How do they escalate their "TROUBLE"?

  • If we accept that the study of Literature is the study of the human condition, we will understand the nature of the human struggle for existence, survival, supremacy and power and so on. 

Every account has to come to an end.
Resolution = Conclusion
Is there a conclusion? If not so, why not?
How does the story come to an end?
How does the writer bring the story to an end?
Are you pleased with the ending? If so, why? If not so, why?

S.T.A.R. approach to reading-understanding-comprehending-appreciating what you read



Writing the Literature Essay by Suzanne Choo and Robert Yeo

You have to read and understand CHAPTER 20 - How to organise and write the Literature essay. 

Suzanne and Robert recommend the use of FOUR-LEVEL QUESTION SCAFFOLD:


Literature in English GCE Examinaiton Paper Codes

Literature in English Paper 1: Prose and Unseen Texts
The "prose" here refers to a set novel or collection of short stories which a school picks for its Literature students.  In the case of St. Hilda's Secondary School, in 2010, we are offering "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time".  YOU ONLY NEED TO ANSWER ONE QUESTION FROM THE TWO ESSAY QUESTIONS AND ONE PASSAGE-BASED QUESTION SET.  This is 25/25 marks.

The "unseen" texts here refer to one UNSEEN prose and one UNSEEN poem.  YOU ONLY NEED TO CHOOSE EITHER ONE AND ATTEMPT IT.  This is 25/25 marks. The paper  is to be attempted within 1 hour 40 minutes.  BOTH ELECTIVE AND FULL Literature students MUST attempt this paper.  For the ELECTIVE Literature students, this paper is known as COMBINED HUMANITIES 2192/4 (O level) and 2193/4(N level). 

Literature in English Paper 2: Drama (Open Selection)
"Drama" here refers to "Off Centre" in the case of St. Hilda's Secondary School in 2010.  Students will answer ONE compulsory passage-based question and ONE essay question on the selected text.  Each question is 25/25 marks.  This paper is to be attempted within 1 hour 30 minutes.  Only FULL LITERATURE students need to attempt this paper.

Literature in English GCE Examination Paper Codes


The Curious Incident of the Dog is Paper 1
The Unseen Question is also Paper 1

1.  GCE N Level FULL Literature                 2021/1 and 2
2.  GCE N Level ELECTIVE Literature        2193/4

3.  GCE O Level FULL literature                  2014/1 and 2
4.  GCE O Level ELECTIVE Literature        2192/4

1.  2021/1:  1 hour 40 minutes
2.  2021/2:  1 hour 30 minutes
3.  2193/4:  1 hour 40 minutes

4.  2014/1:  1 hour 40 minutes
5.  2014/2:  1 hour 30 minutes
6.  2192/4:  1 hour 40 minutes


WHOSE point of view is it anyway?

  • the writer's intention and point of view in a text - i.e. the treatment of themes and issues
  • the historical, social or personal influences on a writer's point of view
  • the means by which the writer's viewpoint is conveyed to the reader or audience


The writer decides on what to write and how to deliver
his writing to his readers.

  • the means by whcih a writer uses language to produce certain effects in a text - i.e.  diction / sentence structure and syntax / figurative language / patterns of rhythm / rhyme / alliteration / onomatopoeia


                      Plot and Structure maketh the Play.

Plot and Structure
  • the sequential development of events in a text
  • the significance and impact of individual scenes and events in a text on its overal plot and structure
  • the effect the choice of a particular genre, or form within that genre, has had on the message the writer wishes to convey
  • the effects produced by the writer's use of, or deviation from, conventional structures - e.g. chronological sequence of events / standard dramatic and poetic forms


The writer creates the setting for the literary work.

Setting and Atmosphere
  • the important factors in the background to the text - e.g. geographical / historical / social / political / cultural
  • the influence and effect of the setting and atmosphere of a text
  • the significance of changes in setting and / or atmosphere in a text
  • the means by which a writer creates a particular mood or atmosphere in a scene or text


The main and supporting characters

  • the characteristics - i.e. character traits of the various characters in a text
  • the similarities and differences between characters in a text or in different texts
  • the development of characters in the course of a text
  • the relationships between characters - e.g. the effect one character has on another in a text
  • the different literary roles - e.g. hero / villain / minor character - and / or functions - e.g. narrating the story / observing and commenting on events / providing realism to the setting - that characters perform in a text
  • the techniques used by a writer to convey his or her character to the reader or audience - e.g. authorial description / other characters' observations / character's thoughts / speech / physical appearance / use of contrast / juxtaposition

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Areas of Studies in 2014 Literature in English

There are FIVE key AREAS OF STUDY:


2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 08

Generatiing means putting down your organised thoughts in black and white.

Generating skills involve:

  • inferring from details

  • interpreting examples in order to draw generalisations

  • predicting outcomes based on available information

  • supporting an argument /opinion with appropriate examples and information

  • recombining related information in order to develop new or different perspectives of a text

  • putting down organised thoughts in writing

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 07

Evaluating means constructing an assessment

Evaluating skills require:

  • assessing the quality of a work based on established criteria

  • evaluating the reasonableness of the writer's intentions

  • evaluating the viewpoints present in a text

  • assessing the value and appeal of ideas held by one's peers

  • constructing a personal response with appropriate support and justification

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 06

    Analysing means examining carefully

Analysing skills involve:
  • identifying attributes in a text in terms of its elements - e.g. plot and structure / setting - atmosphere / style and its genre
  • identifying patterns and relationships - e.g. with respect to characters / events / style and viewpoints - within a text or between texts
  • examining points of agreement and disagreement in opinions

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 05


Integrating means putting the correct pieces together
so that they work meaningfully and effectively.

Integrating skills will involve:
  • building meaningful connections between new information and existing knowledge
  • modifying and / or extending existing ideas and perspectives in the light of new information
  • applying existing knowledge to new situations

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 04

     Focusing means paying attention
to what you are doing.

Focusing skills will involve:

  • defining and / or clarifying the literary task

  • directing attention to relevant information - e.g. identifying appropriate examples

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 03

Organising Skills will include:
  • comparing and/or contrasting elements - e.g. characterisation / viewpoints / setting / style within a text or between texts
  • classifying and categorising information in order to draw conclusions or justify responses
  • sequencing of details and events
  • ordering elements according to a given criterion - e.g. ranking events in oder of importance

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 02

    Reading without annotation is a frustrating and futile experience

Information-gathering skills will involve:
  • observing / note taking of details
  • formulating quesitons about a text in order to justify, clarify and add information
  • obtaining relevant information from VARIOUS sources apart from the text

2014 Literature in English - SPECTRUM OF SKILLS 01

You simply cannot afford to continually read and forget,
read and misread, and read and misinterprete.

Remembering Skills will include:
  • linking and / or organising information for systematic retrieval - SETTING / TROUBLE / ACTION / RESOLUTION
  • recalling prior knowledge, feelings and experiences in responding to a text - Your background EXPERIENCE as a reader and how the text engages with it to form your RESPONSE.