Higher English Tutor

Written by Higher English Tutor

This profile is a platform for a range of Higher-experienced English teachers to post information that will help students, and their parents, with preparing for students' Higher English exams. By following the below advice, we are confident that a student can improve their English grade, but individual motivation, perseverance and other factors must also be taken into account. This platform presents an approach to Higher English; we do not claim it is the only approach. It has worked successfully for other students.

Alternatives for writing Higher English critical essays

Alternatives

There are many ways to approach the writing of a Higher English critical essay. At myetutor, we have a favoured structure and it would be difficult to change anything about that general structure without diminishing the essay. BUT, other parts of the essay have a structure and this can be done in a lot of different ways.

Take our preferred way of doing the main body of an Higher English critical essay. We think that the TEA structure is the best way to approach each paragraph. Yet we know it’s not the only way. It might be the best way for us and many students, but maybe not all students. It can require having a good memory for some quotations – you can paraphrase though. We think quotations make an Higher English critical essay look good, although we know that some people prefer to refer to parts of a text rather than quote. Sizable quotations are maybe not for everyone.

So, what other alternatives are there for writing paragraphs in the main body of your essay? Well, let’s look at one:

S E E C

This means Statement, Evidence, Explanation and Comment. If you want to know more about Higher English critical essay tasks and making sure statements link to the task then follow the links.)

So that this all makes sense we’ll state the task:

Consider a novel that has something important to say about the world in which we live. By examining the use of character, setting and plot show how the writer has successfully conveyed his/her message to the reader.

Ok. Pretty standard task where we have to take a feature of the text (character or setting or plot) and explain how in an example the writer is getting across a message (theme) to the reader that is also relevant to the world we live in today.

Using Malcolm Bradbury’s classic futuristic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 here is an example of SEEC that relates to this task.

Statement

Bradbury uses the character of Mildred, Montag’s wife, to highlight the emptiness and futility of life in the novel’s futuristic setting.

Evidence (short quotation)

When we first meet Mildred, she is having her stomach pumped as she has just attempted suicide. The description of this operation conveys a cold mechanistic approach to life: ‘They had this machine…the impersonal operator. Not unlike the digging of a trench…’

Explanation (we call this analysis and evaluation)

By describing this scene with such matter-of-fact language, Bradbury successfully reveals how little life is valued in this future world. It’s as if Mildred was worth no more than a disused car that is being serviced.

Comment (we would call this analysis and evaluation)

Her world is an empty hollow with no sense of purpose. It is made clear in the rest of the novel that far from being  abnormal, Mildred in fact represents the norm of life in the future – a norm that Montag rebels against.

Four of these in an Higher English critical essay would create an impressive essay with a good grade. Personally, we prefer our own method still,  as outlined in other blogs.  However, we accept that some students will find the above method preferable, so, hey, anything that helps with something as challenging as an Higher English critical essay is good.

If you need more help or advice, you can contact our tutors or you can send a completed essay to a tutor or your choice.

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