Past exam questions on Cultural Context

Standard

2011
‘A reader can feel uncomfortable with the values and attitudes presented in texts.’ Compare the extent to which the values and attitudes that you encountered, in at least two texts on your comparative course, made you feel uncomfortable. [70]
or
‘The roles and status allocated to males or females can be central to understanding the cultural context of a text.’
(a) Show how this statement might apply to one text on your comparative course. In your answer you may refer to the roles and status allocated to either males or females, or both. [30]
(b) Compare how the roles and status allocated to males or females, or both, aided your understanding of the cultural context in two other texts on your comparative course. [40]

2009
‘The main characters in texts are often in conflict with the world or culture they inhabit.’ In the light of the above statement, compare how the main characters interact with the cultural contexts of the texts you have studied for your comparative course. [70]
or
‘Understanding the cultural context of a text allows you to see how values and attitudes are shaped.’
(a) Show how this statement applies to one of the texts on your comparative course. [30]
(b) Compare the way in which values and attitudes are shaped in two other texts on your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts.

2007
Imagine that you are a journalist sent to investigate the cultural context of the worlds of the three texts from your comparative course.
(a) Write an articel on the cultural context that you found most interesting. [30]
(b) In a second article compare the cultural contexts of the other two worlds with each other. [40]
or
‘The cultural context can have a significant influence on the behaviour of the central character/characters in a text.’ Compare the way in which the behaviour of the central characters in at least two of your texts is influenced by the cultural context of those texts. [70]

2006
‘The cultural context of a narrative usually determines how the story will unfold.’
(a) Compare the way in which the cultural context influenced the storyline in two of the texts you have studied in your comparative course. [40]
(b) Show how the cultural context influenced the storyline in a third text you have studied.[30]
or
‘Understanding the cultural context of a text adds to our enjoyment of a good narrative.’ In light of the above statement write an essay comparing the cultural contexts of the texts you have studied in your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [70]

2003
Write an essay in which you compare the texts you have studied in your comparative course in light of your understanding of the term, the cultural context. [70]
or
(a) With reference to one of the texts you have studied in your comparative course, write a note on the way/s in which the cultural context is established by the author. [30]
(b) Compare the ways in which the cultural context is established by the authors of two other texts on your comparative course. [40]

2002
‘A narrative creates its own unique world in which the reader can share.’ Write a response to the above statement in which you compare the texts you have studied as part of your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [70]
or
(a) What is your understanding of the term Cultural Context in relation to any one of the texts in your comparative course? Support your view by reference to at least one key moment from your chosen text. [30]
(b) Compare two other texts from your comparative course in the light of your understanding of the term Cultural Context as you have discussed in in part (a) above. Support the comparisons you make by reference to at least one key moment from each of these two texts.

Cultural Context of ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ and ‘Sive’

Standard

Cultural Context (referred to as Social Setting at Ordinary Level) focuses on the society in which the story is set. We look for evidence of the beliefs and values held by the author and characters. The social, religious, political and economic structures of society are considered here. The different roles of men and women, the notion of race, social class, customs and rituals and the importance of work can also be included in a definition of Cultural Context.

In order to write a comparative essay on ‘How Many Miles’ and ‘Sive’, start to write notes comparing and contrasting the two texts under the following headings, remembering to make reference Key Moments:

  • The effects of poverty on the characters – helplessness, disease, honour, desperation, violence, pride
  • Customs and Traditions
  • The Role of Women
  • Class Structures – one’s level in society dictates who has money, status, education, power etc.
  • Family life experienced by the characters – How does family influence actions? Obedience, love, duty, violence
  • The treatment of death
  • The attitude towards marriage
  • The attitude to education

Remember that it is the quality of your links that will determine your grade!

Towards an understanding of the Cultural Context of ‘Sive’

Standard

Here are some questions to help you forge your own understanding of the Cultural Context of the play ‘Sive’ by John B. Keane. Write a comment on this post answering one of the questions and remember to use quotation to support every point you make.

  1. What is good about Sive’s life in the play?
  2. In what way is her life restricted?
  3. What do you think of Thomasheen’s attitude to marriage?
  4. Describe society at that time in your own words.
  5. How is family life for Sive depicted?
  6. How important are the circumstances of Sive’s birth in the play?
  7. Choose a key moment in the play that is pivotal in describing the social world for a modern reader.
  8. How important is money in ‘Sive’?
  9. Compare and contrast the attitudes of Nanna and Mena towards Sive.
  10. What is Thomasheen’s attitude towards women in the play?
  11. Who has power in ‘Sive’ and how do they gain that power?
  12. To what extent is society in ‘Sive’ male dominated?
  13. Describe some of the customs and traditions described by Keane in this play.
  14. Discuss Keane’s treatment of education in this play.