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GCSE English Literature Guide: To Kill A Mockingbird

| Tuesday November 16, 2010

Categories: KS4, AQA GCSE, EDEXCEL GCSE, OCR GCSE, WJEC Eduqas GCSE, Hot Entries, Prose, To Kill A Mockingbird, AQA English Literature, Unit 1 Exploring Modern Texts, Edexcel English Literature, Unit 1 Understanding Prose, OCR GCSE English Literature, Unit A663, WJEC GCSE English Literature, Unit 1 Prose and Poetry

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


Assessment Objectives


Respond to texts critically and imaginatively; select and evaluate relevant textual detail to illustrate and support interpretations.


Explain how language, structure and form contribute to writers’ presentation of ideas, themes and settings.


Relate texts to their social, cultural and historical contexts; explain how texts have been influential and significant to self and other readers in different contexts and at different times.

To fulfil these assessment objectives students must be able to:

  • Show that they know the texts well.
  • Support points made with examples from the text.
  • Have own ideas about the text – e.g. characters, ideas, situations.
  • Focus on task by selecting key words from question.
  • Only write what is relevant to the task.
  • Use literary terminology appropriately.
  • Use quotations correctly; so they are brief and relevant.
  • Show understanding of the historical context of the novel, both when it is set and when it was written.
  • Consider ‘covert’ meanings as well as overt meanings in the texts.
  • Think about the structure of the novel and why it has been structured that way.
  • Think about different features within the text such as character, relationships, and settings.
  • Link the opening and ending of the novel.
  • Think about how different readers might respond to the novel and characters in the novel.

Background and Context

It is important for students to understand the context and themes of the novel – not only in relation to when the book is set but also in relation to when it was written. The major themes of the novel include racism, class distinction and prejudice. 

Students often fail to understand truly what “context? and “theme? properly mean and how they should write about them in ways that will allow them access to the highest grade bands. A class discussion based on these two key areas will always be useful and productive as so very many...

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