To begin with, you must be able to respond to the question in a clear and succinct manner. The first sentence of your answer or each paragraph should demonstrate your understanding of the question and the source material. Aim to make a confident claim or point, as this will form the scaffolding for the rest of your answer. There may be slight inference (see below) in this statement but not too much!
In this lesson, let’s use the nursery rhyme ‘Jack and Jill’ to illustrate an effective response.
Statement: Jack is a caring brother and looks after his sister, Jill._ _
Acquiring relevant quotations are imperative to writing a successful response to the question. You are in search of evidence that will support the initial point that you made. It is really simple; you repeat or copy the words that you need to use. You must remember that you have taken these words from the source, therefore you must definitely indicate this each time. (If you then use “double” for speech, it is wise to use ‘single’ for quotes. Otherwise, it gets very confusing!)
I am sure you have heard the popular term ‘judicious’.
__Really it means that you are showing good judgement by being discriminate in your choices. You needn’t copy out extremely long sentences, rather shrewdly pick the words you need and drop them skilfully into you response.
The best answers usually contain embedded quotations. You do not have to say phrases like, ‘the quotation that shows this is…’ or ‘where it says…’. Rather you lift what you need and firmly attach it to your comment by surrounding the quotation(s) with words of your own.
The skill of inferring meaning from a text allows you to reason on ideas about the evidence you have selected. Your aim is to draw valid conclusions on a matter without speculation or assumption.
Often times, we forget to start with the basic meaning and get so carried away by talking about profound ideas. First, keep it simple and succinct! What does the quote actually mean in your own words?
Mentally use interrogatives to contemplate on why, what or how this idea could be valid and build on your response. If possible you want to dig deeper as much as possible and squeeze a lot of meaning out of a little piece of evidence. Using phrases such as, ‘implying that…’, ‘suggesting that’ or even ‘illustrating the idea that’ are all beneficial phrases to develop your analysis further.
Also, when you identify the writer’s use of a specific method or technique make sure that you ask yourself: Why has the writer made this deliberate choice? Then explore different meanings and ideas that are associated with each choice.
Your inferences should always match the initial statement that you made!
Once you have explored a range of meanings and drawn logical conclusions, you must consider the effects that are created. Writers always write with a clear objective in mind. They consciously craft their texts to convey a message. You need to understand the purpose of the text to then determine whether or not the outcome has accomplished their aim. Some different types of purposes are writing to inform, explain, argue, describe and/or entertain.
Here are a few pointers that you may consider:
- What was the writer’s intention?
- What response did they want to evoke in his audience or reader?
- Were they successful in achieving their intention?
- What lessons (social, moral, spiritual, cultural, philosophical) can be drawn from source?
__Let’s continue building our response: __
Jack is a caring brother and looks after his sister, Jill.
After they both fall down the hill, he shows concern for Jill, “as in his arms he took her” to check that she was not severely injured.
Once Jack got himself up, he turned his attention to helping his sister. Illustrating his sincere concern for Jill, because he used power, “his arms” to support sister so that she could get to her feet too. Further showing the loving and close relationship that the siblings have for each other, as Jack wants to continue fetching the water alongside his sister.
The writer successfully shows a positive bond between the children. Jack naturally takes on the role of protector and bravely encourages his sister to continue in their journey. This nursery rhyme would reinforce morals within the family unit, as young ones would learn that they should care for their siblings.
- How should statements be presented?
- Your answer should include: Clear / Clearly / Succinct
- What are the best quotes?
- Your answer should include: Short / Judicious / Discriminate / Good / Judgement / Embedded
- What must you remember about the writer?
- Your answer should include: Clear / Objective / Intention / Consciously / Craft