Writing to Imagine
Read this description focusing on the way that the writer has built up mood and atmosphere.
- Highlight or underline the words that you think are most effective in building up the description of the house.
- What overall mood is created in this extract? How do you know? Write three lines to explain your ideas.
- Pick out two similes from the text. Remember that similes use the words ‘like’ and ‘as’.
- Can you transform one of the similes into a metaphor?
- What changes did you have to make to transform the simile? Which is most powerful, the simile or the metaphor? Explain why.
You are about to step into the house in the extract.
- Who are you and what are you doing there? Why do you want or need to go into the house?
- What time of day is it in your writing? What feeling is around as you walk up to the door?
- Describe the moments before walking up the path. How do your feet carry you up the ‘slabbed pathway’?
- Describe what you see and what you think and feel. Exploring what is going on in your thoughts will help you to achieve the higher grades.
Write your own description of a house that is decaying.
- Where is this house?
- Why is it decaying? What is its history?
- You should try to build up a similar mood as the text from Ghost Soldiers.
- You might make a list of linked words that work together to create a dark mood or atmosphere.
- Imagine that you are writing as if you are seeing through a camera lens, taking a snapshot of the house and describing every detail in the shot that you can see.
Writing to Review
Techniques found in review writing:
- Focuses on strengths and weaknesses
- Uses facts and statistics to support ideas
- Draws a conclusion, saying whether something works for its audience and purpose
- Gives personal opinion
What might we be asked to review?
- A film/TV show
- A book
- A place
- A restaurant
Plan and write the following reviews:
Review a place of interest you have visited recently.
Review a recent TV programme.
Review a restaurant that you have recently dined at.
Write a review of Verulam School.
- What facts and opinions could you include?
- Are you exploring both the strengths and weaknesses and coming to an overall conclusion?
- Are you writing in full sentences?
- Does your writing make sense?
In your exam, there will be three extracts to read and then questions on each of them.
The mark for each question should be an indicator for how much we are expecting you to write.
If the question is worth 5 marks, then you should write a PEE paragraph in response.
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams, he found himself
transformed, in his bed, into a gigantic insect. He was lying on his armour-plated back, and when he lifted his head a little he could see his dome-like brown belly divided into stiff, arched segments. The bed quilt was about to slide off his rounded belly completely.
His numerous legs, which were pitifully thin, waved helplessly before his eyes.
What has happened to me? he thought. It was no dream. His room, an ordinary
bedroom, lay quiet between the four familiar walls. Above the table hung the picture which he had recently cut out of a magazine and put into a frame.
Gregor’s eyes turned next to the window, and the overcast sky made him feel quite melancholy. What about sleeping a little longer and forgetting all this nonsense? he thought. But it could not be done, for he was accustomed to sleep on his right side and in his present condition he could not turn himself over. However violently he forced himself towards his right side, he always rolled onto his back again. He looked at his alarm clock ticking on the chest. Heavens! he thought. It was after half past six and the hands were quietly moving on. Had the alarm clock gone off ? Of course it must have gone off. But usually it was impossible to sleep quietly through that ear-splitting noise…
As this was running through his mind, there came a cautious tap at the door. ‘Gregor,’ said his mother’s voice, ‘it’s nearly quarter to seven. Haven’t you a train to catch?’ Gregor really wanted to explain everything, but he just said: ‘Yes, yes, I’m nearly ready.’ He had a shock as he heard his voice answering hers. It was unmistakably his own voice, but with a persistent, horrible, twittering squeak behind it like an undertone.
He had to get out of bed. To get rid of the quilt was quite easy; he only had to inflate himself a little and the quilt fell off by itself. But the next move was difficult, especially because he was so broad. He needed arms and hands to hoist himself up; instead he had only the numerous little legs which never stopped waving in all directions.
Gregor thought that he might get out of bed with the lower part of his body first. But this lower part proved too difficult to move. When finally, almost wild with annoyance, he gathered his forces together and thrust out recklessly, he bumped heavily against the end of the bed. So he tried to get the top part of himself out first, but when he got his head over the edge of the bed, he felt too scared to go further. He knew that if he let himself fall in this way he would injure his head.
And he must not lose consciousness now. It would be better to stay in bed. But then, after a repetition of the same efforts, he lay in the same position, sighing deeply and watching all his little legs struggling against each other more wildly than ever. He told himself it was impossible to stay in bed. He had to risk everything for the mallest hope of getting out of it.
So he said to himself: ‘Before it strikes a quarter past seven I must be out of this bed, without fail.’ And he set himself to rocking his whole body in a regular rhythm, with the idea of swinging it out of bed. This way, he could keep his head from injury by lifting it when he fell. His back seemed to be hard and was not likely to suffer from a fall on the carpet. His biggest worry was the loud crash he would make, which would probably cause anxiety, if not terror, to his family. Still, he must take the risk…
- Give two quotations from paragraphs 1 to 3 which show that Gregor is finding it difficult to control his movements. (1 mark)
- He was lying on his armour-plated back (paragraph 1) Explain what the choice of language in the phrase armour-plated back suggests about Gregor’s insect body. (1 mark)
- In paragraph 4, explain two impressions you get of Gregor’s state of mind at this point in the story. Support each explanation with a quotation from paragraph 4. (2marks)
- The writer shows Gregor beginning to feel desperate as he hears his mother’s voice (paragraph 5). How does the writer build up a sense of Gregor’s increasing desperation in paragraphs 5 to 9? Support your ideas with quotations from paragraphs 5 to 9. (5 marks)
- Readers might find this story both horrifying and funny. Explain why this story could be seen as both horrific and humorous. (3 marks)