Try to revise by noticing links across
the texts as much as possible. The most obvious links are the similarities or
differences that exist between the texts but this is an over-simplified way of
looking at things. The best candidates will realize that, although similar, now
two texts are exactly alike or, while different, there is almost always some
common ground between texts which at first glance appear quite disparate. So
donít force the texts to be exactly the same or completely different if they
are not. Instead, keep your mind open for differences that exist within the
similarities that immediately jump out at you or the similarities that are
present despite the large and obvious differences between the two texts you are
Remember also that these links donít
just have to be made between two different texts. The more successful
candidates will also be able to draw links and make comparisons within the
texts that they have studied, for example this might take the form of comparing
the way in which a character was presented at the beginning of a text with the
way they are presented by the end.
You should also try to actively
revise. Simply reading the texts again wonít do much good. You should do
something as you read. This might be constructing a timeline, a character web,
jotting down key quotations or the themes that each chapter deals with. Not
only will this provide you with useful details that you can refer to in the
exam but it will help the texts to stick in your mind.
are some aspects that you can focus on when revising
- How are they
presented and what are relationships between them?
- What are their
strengths & weaknesses and how are we encouraged to think of them?
- What drives or
- How do they change,
develop or grow as we progress through the text?
- What is their power status
relative to other characters?
- How does author make
them interesting? Are we allowed inside their head? Why / why not?
- How do they relate to
- Do they represent a
theme, a whole group or a caricature of something?
- Which key incidents
are used to illustrate that characterís personality?
- What situations does
the writer put the character into to provoke a reaction?
- Are the characters
used to convey the authorís message? How?
- Are there any obvious
contrasts between characters? What do we learn from this?
- What draws a
character together and what pulls them apart?
- To what extent are
characters victims of themselves or of circumstances?
- Do we care about this
- How are major themes
demonstrated, through characters, events, setting, symbols, motifs etc?
- Are themes presented
differently by different authors?
- Are the same themes
treated in the same way by different authors?
- How valid is a
comparison of the suffering of Offred and Sethe?
- What conclusions do the
writers come to about the themes they present?
- How do writers manipulate
our response to key ideas in books? (Morrison said she invited readers in
with their own emotions and they then provide what they take away)
- Are the same ideas
revisited and reworked across different texts? Are themes universal - do they
transcend time and place?
- What kind of story
is being told? Does it fit into a genre?
- What are the main
threads of the story? What is it about? Does it have a universal message?
- Who is telling the
story and what effect does this have on the reader?
- What is relationship
between reader and the written material? Is the reader always aware that
this is† a
story, is the author intrusive?
- What are key
incidents in your opinion? Is there a climax? How do we know where it is?
- What is the balance
between contrived and realistic incidents, do they make the story more
- Is the authorís attitude
to the subject matter clear? If so, how? If not, why not?
- What is the attraction
of the story? Is it a story worth telling?
- How does story
unfold? Is the order of telling of the story important? Is it important
that we know (or donít know) some facts before others? Why? Is it chronological
or do the past / future intrude into the present? Why?
- Look at beginnings and
ending and consider how effective they are? How do they introduce themes,
characters, setting? What have the authors have chosen to tell us or not
to tell us?
- Where and when does
the story take place?
- In what ways is the
setting more than a mere backdrop? How does it influence the characters,
plot and mood of the story?
- How detailed is the
information about setting? Why?
- Do houses and landscapes
take on a personality?
- Compare the
different styles that the authors have used to write about setting. What
differences or similarities exist? Why?
- What emotions are we
meant to feel and how are these evoked in the audience?
- How does the
audienceís mood change and develop as we progress through the text? What
key incidents are responsible for changing and shifting the mood?
- How has mood or
changes in mood been used by the author to convey their larger themes or