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Aspects of Narrative | Tips for Improving Exam Grades

Steve Campsall | Sunday October 09, 2011

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Guide Navigation

1. Introduction
2. AQA Specific Section: Assessment Objectives, etc.
3. A Critical Vocabulary
4. Tips for Improving Exam Grades
5. Guide to Narrative: Narrative Frameworks
6. Guide to Narrative: Narrative Concepts
7. Focalisation and Diegesis
8. Mimesis
9. Narrative Forms and Structures
10. AQA Specific Exam Tips
11. Help with Exam Revision
12. Analysis of Cousin Kate, poem by Christina Rossetti

  • The key is to be sure your answer is based on an analysis that is objective. A story is always composed of a PLOT – that is, carefully chosen uses of language and structure that work to entertain the reader by drawing them into the story-world – but, and it’s a big BUT, you’ll have gathered by now that as well as a plot, the writers of ‘serious’ literature (plays, poems and stories) always ‘weave’ something else – something perhaps more ‘meaningful’ – into their stories. In fact, what we call ‘serious’ literature likely never began life as a story at all – it’s origins were more likely its author’s ideas, thoughts and feelings about what, to them, would make the world a better place. ‘Enlightened ideas’ these might eventually come to be seen as – but often, when their play, poem or story was first published, ‘radical ideas’ – ideas that were perhaps ‘anti-Establishment’, or that went against the accepted norm, the so-called ‘status quo’.
  • Classical literature has, at its heart, based on human values – but it is an imagined, fictional and emotional representation of these: no part of an imagined story can be called ‘truthful’ or used as evidence of what went on in real life. These ideas of the author become the themes of the story: a sort of ‘controlling idea’ that runs through the story from beginning to end.
  • The fictional plot of a story, therefore, can be analysed as a persuasive technique to bring the reader to consider certain aspects of real life in a...

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