Planning and Writing the Commentary in Nine Steps

1. First reading - getting the general idea.

2. Second Reading - looking for the central idea or emotion; noting the essentials.

3. Third Reading - attending to details of style.

4. Writing out the argument - the sequence of the content.

Note how the content develops in stages. Look for shifts or changes in direction, which may involve changes in tone.

5. Reading aloud (in your head)

How would you present this poem? Try it out in your head, imaging how it should sound. What kind of impact should it have?

6. Looking at the technical aspects - sound, syntax, diction, figurative language, etc.

How do these aspects enhance or provide meaning?

7. Writing a "summarizing interpretation"

8. Producing a plan or guide of the main ideas

9. Starting to write.

NB. Try to begin with the "whole," then examine the parts, and then return to the whole composition again.

Marking Criteria

A. Understanding of the text

Perceptive understanding of the thought, feeling, and some subtleties of the test; detailed and persuasive textual references.

B. Interpretation of the text

Excellent interpretation of text. Ideas are convincing; appropriate and considered personal response included; analysis is consistently detailed; persuasively illustrated by carefully chosen examples.

C. Appreciation of Literary Features

Detailed and persuasive appreciation of the effects of literary features; analysis is detailed and illustrated by carefully chosen examples.

D. Presentation

Purposefully and effectively structured; supporting examples are well integrated into the body of the commentary.

E. Formal Use of Language

Clear, varied, precise and concise use of language; varied and accurate grammatical structures; precise use of wide vocab; effective choice of register.

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