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Studying for English Paper 2 in 2018 – Comparative Study

March 23, 2018

Studying for English Paper 2 in 2018 – Comparative Study

The Comparative Study

The comparative study remains the most open and challenging question across both papers. In Paper 2, it’s the one in which H1 candidates distinguish themselves.

2017’s modes, A) The General Vision and Viewpoint – GGV – and B) Theme or Issue, were open but tricky.

GGV asked students to consider 1) How relationships in a text affect our sense of its GGV or 2, How a variety of factors affect our impression of a text’s GGV. Students could have focused on relationships as one of their chosen factors in the second option – if they were stuck for ideas.

These questions suggest it’s the options you select that will decide how well you do in this section. Choose wisely!

For GGV, candidates needed to choose at least two examples of relationships in each text, remembering that ‘relationships’ constitutes more than romance; an obvious inroad being the narrator’s relationship or lack thereof with a character or group.

Theme or Issue was, in our opinion, less straight-forward. Candidates had to select a theme or issue based on its relevance or lack thereof to modern life. In the body of their essay, they then needed to ground their analysis and comparison in this context – one outside of the texts they were studying.

In Question 1, students had to compare a theme or issue’s portrayal, alongside their implicit comparison of context – that of their chosen texts and modern society.

Question 2 was more friendly, at least on the surface. Again, candidates needed to make their chosen theme work for them and for the question. This question, however, encouraged students to consider their texts holistically, i.e. what combination of elements made the theme entertaining – or not?

Overall, we deduce that the SEC are happy to interweave the comparative elements – i.e. GGV, TI, Literary Genre with other important elements such as context, relationships, and culture.

Prepare, brace yourself even, for more combination questions.

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