Analytical Response

What to Include


To begin with, you must be able to respond to the question in a clear and succinct manner. The first sentence of each subsequent 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. Make sure each paragraph is dealing with a separate idea or issue, so as not to repeat yourself. There may be slight inference (see below) in this statement but not too much!


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.

I am sure you have heard the popular term ‘judicious’. Really it means that you are s__howing 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.

Remember that you are taking these words from the source, therefore you must definitely indicate this each time. If you use “double” marks for speech, it is wise to use ‘single’ marks for quotes. Otherwise, it gets very confusing!


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 wild speculation or assumption.

Often times, we forget to start with the basic meaning and get so carried away by talking about profound ideas. First, (K.I.S.S.) 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 as deep as you can 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.

Your inferences should always match the initial statement that you made!


Be discerning and observant, whilst reading through the selected portion of text. You want to be able to identify interwoven concepts and themes. Consider how the writer skilfully presents ideas and imagery through effective use of language and structural devices. Such as:

  1. Stage Directions
  2. Characterisation
  3. Setting
  4. Rising action
  5. Climax
  6. Falling action
  7. Vocabulary choices
  8. Language techniques
  9. Punctuation
  10. Ideas and Themes
  11. Chronology

Explore and analyse the role each device plays in developing the text and the effects that they create. Ask yourself: Why has the playwright made this deliberate choice? Why has the playwright chosen to place this method here? Then explore different meanings and ideas that are associated with each choice. The deeper you dig for valuable meaning and the writer’s intention, the more your response will be rewarded!


Once you have explored a range of meanings and drawn logical conclusions, you must consider the effects that are created. Playwright’s always write with a clear objective in mind. They consciously craft their work to convey a message. You should consider:

  1. What is the playwright’s intention?
  2. What response do they want to evoke in the reader?
  3. Are they successful in achieving their intention?

These plays have been studied by many people. Therefore, aim to draw conclusions that can be lessons for today. What are the social, moral, spiritual, cultural, philosophical lessons that are evident in the play? Aim to draw connections with a current event or issue that a modern audience is experiencing.

How should statements be presented?
Your answer should include: Clear / Clearly / Succinct
What must you remember about the playwright?
Your answer should include: Clear objective / Intention / Crafts consciously
What type of lessons could be considered when evaluating the play?
Your answer should include: Social / Moral / Philisophical / Spiritual / Cultural

Response Guidance

Section A Mark Scheme

It is important that you understand the mark scheme, because this is what teachers are looking at to judge your work. I want you to focus on how you can get the top marks for each question.

Remember you are awarded a bonus 4 marks for AO4 on this question. Make sure you proof read to check your:

  1. Spelling
  2. Punctuation
  3. Vocabulary
  4. Sentence structures

Analytical Response, figure 1

Lower down the mark scheme:






Writing Frame

Different schools use different writing frames to guide responses. Do you usually, P.E.E. or P.E.A. or P.E.E.L maybe you have P.E.A.C.E. It is best if you are a free spirit in your response and move through your analysis as you desire. Those who are awarded the best marks are not restricted by sticking to the acronyms mentioned above.

See the diagram, you can jump between the colours at times that seem appropriate and logical:

Analytical Response, figure 2


First you need to understand the focus of the question! Highlight who or what you intend to centre your response on.

You are not given an extract, therefore, consider several instances where the character or theme is prevalent in the play.

It is often logical to identify what is presented in a sequential method. Then it’ll be apparent if there is any development.

Make clear and succinct statements that directly indicate your response is to the question.

E.g. In the beginning of the play, Sheila is presented as…


What is the playwright’s intention?

E.g. During the initial event of celebrating Gerald and Sheila’s engagement, the theme of…


Of the quotes that you are familiar with, which ones would be most appropriate?

Make sure you include judicious pieces that support the comments you have made.


Within your quotations, comment on how the playwright has skilfully used language and/or structure to convey deeper meanings. (Exploration of both methods are important for a successful response.)

E.g. Priestley deliberately uses an adjective to convey the idea that…


Explore meanings that are intended through the use of a particular method identified. Can you find any deeper meanings that match the whole text? What could it further suggest that isn’t initially obvious?

E.g. Use phrases such as, ‘suggesting that…’, ‘implying that…’ and ‘illustrating that…‘


What were the circumstances in which the play was written?

What did the playwright intend to show about the era in which the play is set. ]

E.g. Priestley wanted to reflect the attitude of the upper classes, during the early 1900’s, as being…


Explore the various thoughts and reactions that the audience might experience; contemporary and modern.

Explain possible reasons for such responses.

Be critical and offer your judgement; do you think the playwright has been successful in their intention?


Reiterate your initial statement, drawing final conclusions about what the playwright has presented.

You can repeat this process - QUOTE(S), METHODS INFERENCE(S), CONTEXT, EFFECT(S) - as many times as possible, to squeeze as much meaning out of quotations in relation to your initial statement. Be careful that you are not jumping between too many undeveloped ideas. It is better to dig deeper and be thoroughly perceptive than covering several ideas with shallow analysis.

What must you understand first?
Your answer should include: Focus of question / Theme / Character
What type of methods must you search for in the text?
Your answer should include: Language / Structure
What must you do at the end of your analysis?
Your answer should include: Link / Conclusion