Past exam questions on Literary Genre

Standard

2012

‘Authors make use of a variety of techniques to shape memorable characters.’ Identify and compare the techniques used to shape one or more memorable characters in at least two of your texts you have encountered on your comparative course. [70]

or

(a) With reference to one text on your comparative course, discuss the author’s use of setting (or settings) as an effective feature of good story telling. [30]

(b) With reference to two other texts on your comparative course, compare how the wuthors use settings as an effective feature of good story telling. [40]

2010

‘The unexpected is essential to the craft of story-telling.’ Compare how authors of the comparative texts you have studied used the unexpected in their texts. You may confine your answer to key moments in the texts. [70]

or

‘Aspects of narrative contribute to your response to a text.’

(a) With reference to one of your chosen texts, identify at least two aspects of narrative and discuss how those aspects contributed to your reponse to that text. [30]

(b) With reference to two other texts compare how aspects of narrative contributed to your response to these texts. In answer to question (b) you may use the aspects of narrative discussed in (a) above or any other aspects of narrative. [40]

 

2008

‘A good text will have moments of great emotional power.’

(a) With reference to a key moment in one of your texts show how this emotional power was created. [30]

(b) Take key moments from the other two texts from your comparative course and compare the way in which the emotional power of these scenes was created. [40]

or

‘The creation of memorable characters is part of the art of good story-telling.’ Write an essay comparing the ways in which memorable characters were created and contributed to your enjoyment of the stories in the texts you have studied for your comparative course. It will be sufficient to refer to the creation of one character from each of your chosen texts. [70]

 

2005

Write a talk to be given to Leaving Certificate students in which you explain the term Literary Genre and show them how to compare the telling of stories in at least two texts from the comparative course. [70]

or

‘Powerful images and incidents are features of all good story-telling.’

(a) Show how this statement applies to one of the texts on your comparative course. [30]

(b) Compare the way in which powerful images and incidents are features of the story-telling in two other texts on your comparative course. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [40]

 

2004

‘Literary Genre is the way in which a story is told.’ Choose at lease two of the texts you have studied as part of your comparative course and, in the light of your understanding of the term Literary Genre, write a comparative essay about the ways in which their stories are told. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [70]

or

‘Texts tell their stories differently.’

(a) Compare two of the texts you have studied in your comparative coure in the light of the above statement. [40]

(b) Write a short comparative commentary on a third text from your comparative study in the light of your answer to question (a) above. [30]

 

2001

Write an essay on one or more of the aspects of Literary Genre (the way texts tell their stories) which you found most interesting in the texts you studied in your comparative course. Your essay should make clear comparisons between the texts you choose to write about. [70]

or

‘No two texts are exactly the same in the manner they tell their stories.’

(a) Compare two of the texts you have studied in your comparative course in the light of the above statement. Support the comparisons you make by reference to the texts. [40]

(b) Write a short comparative commentary on a third text from your comparative study in the light of your discussion in part (a) above. [30]

Literary Genre

Standard

One of the Modes of Comparison for 2012 is Literary Genre. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what this mode entails. Here are some aspects of Literary Genre to bear in mind as you are revising.

 

Why choose one genre over another?

Why did the author choose to publish in one particular genre over another? Why is ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ a novel? Would it make any difference if it was a play or poem? Why is ‘Inside I’m Dancing’ a film? What limitations and restrictions does this genre place on the text? What freedom does this genre allow? Why did Shakespeare choose to write the story of ‘Hamlet’ as a play? What is particularly dramatic about this story? What conventions do we associate with a novel / film / play? In what ways are they similar and in what ways are they different? What are the expectations of the audience / reader when they encounter this text? Are those expectations fulfilled or is the genre subverted?

 

Narration

Focus on viewpoints, i.e. omniscient, 1st person, 3rd person, how camera shots act as the narrator, the role of the audience, the soundtrack.

 

Chronology

Linear? Flashback? Time span?

 

Language

Use of dialogue to add immediacy. Use of dialect to add colour and realism. Descriptive language. Close-up shots. Stage directions to create character and place. Use of imagery and symbolism.

 

Titles of the texts

Do the titles bear any particular significance or symbolism?

 

Humour

Key moments. What type of humour is used? What function does humour have in the text?

 

Character creation

Any pivotal characters? What techniques make you identify with the character?

 

Tension and suspense

How are tension and suspense created and to what effect? Music? Lighting? Atmosphere?

 

Non-verbal communication

E.g. dance, music, tableau.

 

Conclusion of the story

Are all loose ends tied up or is the ending abmiguous?

 

Make notes about our three texts under these headings. Practice using your linking sentences in these notes. Make your links substantial – using ‘in contrast’ and ‘similarly’ only is not sufficient. If you have any questions or comments on Literary Genre then comment on this post and I will get back to you as soon as possible.