Year 13 Unit 3 Section B : Past Papers

Unit 3 past questions

Here you go! My class…as we discussed, if you want to attempt one question of your choice and email me by Friday 30th May, I will endeavour to feedback before the exam.

Mrs T

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2 Responses to Year 13 Unit 3 Section B : Past Papers

  1. Mrs Taylor says:

    Here is a really good essay I have received – feedback at the bottom.

    “Relationships are most interesting when they deal with the nature of change.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? (60 marks)

    The relationships in all three texts are continuously shown to change and develop, furthering the readers interest as the narratives progress; it is these changes in the state of relationships in ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, ‘Rapture’ and ‘The Great Gatsby’ which consequently determine whether the relationships in each text progress or deteriorate. However, the cyclical nature of change within relationships appears to be generally universal throughout literature as all three writers display couples in moments of contentment, longing, hate and anger, regardless of the background context of the text – without this element of change readers would not be able to fully engage with the characters and their relationships. In order to fully appreciate, for example, the joy of Tess when she is reunited with Angel, the reader must be intricately aware of her previous hardships and subsequent downfall in his absence.

    In all three texts, sexual advances are shown to alter the state of the relationship between characters which whilst not always making comfortable reading does trigger dramatic consequence which interests the reader. In ‘TOTD’ it is the change in the state of Tess’s relationship with Alec that initially interests the reader and allows them to form their own opinions as to whether Tess’s tainted future path is as a result of her naivety or Alec’s destructive manipulation as he “knelt and bent lower, till her breath warmed his face, and in a moment his cheek was in contact with hers”. The rape that Tess is subjected to in the ‘Chase’ is arguably the most significant event in the whole novel as not only does it permanently change the state of the relationship between Tess and Alec, but simultaneously causes Tess’s other relationships with characters and certain places to alter significantly throughout the course of her developing life – “An immeasurable social chasm was to divide our heroine’s personality thereafter from that pervious self of hers”.

    This scene causes much interest for both a modern and contemporary reader; for a contemporary reader this scene would have been highly controversial as a result of being too provocative and sensual, so much so that on first publication of the novel in 1981 this scene was censored and was only re-inserted when published in its full form in 1912. However as modern 21st century readers, on first reading of this passage we are more perplexed in relation to the previous censorship of this scene and it’s seemingly ambiguous presentation due to living in a more sexually liberated age – our sexually liberated society doesn’t judge in the same way and so we also cannot agree that this event should determine Tess’s future. It is only on second reading and as a result of Hardy’s obvious marking of phases, “Maiden” to “Maiden no more” that the reader is aware the rape has taken place. These changes in readership over time are summarised by Jane Shilling who remarks that “A century later it is fascinating to consider the extent to which his (Hardy’s) views – radical enough at the time to scandalize the critics have become almost conventional.”

    Duffy reinforces Jane Shilling’s view regarding the changes in readership over time as she describes her own sexual pursuit of her lover; she is writing ‘Rapture’ in a more sexually liberated age in which sexual desire is no longer considered as immoral and blasphemous. Just as the chase symbioses Tess’s loss of innocence in ‘Tess of the D’Urbervilles’, Duffy shows her own loss of innocence and the progression of her relationship with her lover in ‘Forest’, however in a much more explicit form. “Thorns on my breast, I moaned for them all”. Kellaway describes ‘Rapture’ as Duffy’s “most intimate avowal of same sex desire”, possibly due to the first person narrative viewpoint allowing the reader to have an instant insight and access into her emotions. The forest is depicted as having more fairy-tale and symbolic qualities when relating Duffy’s loss of innocence to the reader in ‘Rapture’ whereas the forest has more geographical and literal specificity in ‘TOTD’.

    Duffy “followed” her lover into the forest and her “whole life vanished” just as Gatsby knew that once he “took Daisy” he had “committed himself to the following of a grail”. Duffy is representing her transition from a purely emotional connection to a sexual connection within her relationship. This event is key in forming a deeper physical bond between Duffy and her lover and appears to be the first equal initiation of the affair from both partners in the collection compared to the suggestion of Duffy’s one-sided affections in ‘Text’ and ‘Name’. The readers interest is maintained as we are compelled to follow the repercussions of this event through the rest of the collection. There is arguably more change evident for Tess than Duffy at this stage and for this reason, Tess could be considered more exciting and interesting although the raw sincerity of Duffy’s proclamations could alternatively be argued as stirring strong response in the reader.

    Furthermore light and dark imagery is used by in ‘Rapture’ and ‘TOTD’ to emphasise the change in the state of each protagonist’s relationship. In ‘Forest’ Duffy’s loss of innocence is reflected by the “flowers at the edge of the forest” as they cup the “last of the light”. Similarly Hardy describes the “Chase”, wrapped in thick darkness […] darkness and silence ruled everywhere around”. Both writers create interest through the changing state of each relationship by insinuating a sense of foreboding doom being directly created from the event whereby both protagonists have lost their innocence; in Duffy’s case the turbulent emotions she experiences as a result of giving all to her partner and the impending darkness when the relationship ends in ‘Over’, “I wake to a dark hour […] no skelf of light”. Likewise Tess is thereafter considered as an outcast by society, and is further dismissed by Angel as a lover due to the hypocrisy and double standards employed by the Victorian moral code.

    Despite Angel also admitting his “eight and forty hour’s dissipation with a stranger”, after Tess’s similar confession she is viewed by her husband as “black, sinister, and forbidding” – at the time adultery would have only been reason enough for a husband to divorce his wife and not vice versa. As modern critic Simon Gatrell has said “Tess is an example of the destructive effect of society’s pressures and conventions upon a naturally pure and unstained”. In antithesis to Angel, just thirty years later, for Gatsby the fact that many men had already “loved” Daisy “increased her value in his eyes”; for those living in a modern society “pure” is not attached to chastity but a good and honest nature.

    Both Hardy and Duffy make the nature of change in relationships more interesting and compelling to the reader through their use of contrast. In ‘TOTD’ Hardy directly contrasts Tess’s feelings of utter joy as she “walked in brightness” at Talbothays with the “social hardships” she experiences at Flintcombe-Asch Clever use of AO2 to illustrate ‘change’ . Hardy purposefully contrasts the “flowers, leaves, nightingales, thrushes” that prosper during Tess’s time at Talbothays, with the “starve-acre” appearance of Flintcombe-Asch as Tess has been abandoned by Angel when she is situated in Flintcombe-Asch – nothing grows here to reflect the temporary death of her relationship and absence of her husband in comparison to their blossoming love at the Dairy. Hardy also contrasts the respectability of Tess job’s at each place to further reflect her downfall and disregard by society; whereas working as a dairymaid as Tess did at Talbothays was considered to be respectable, field work was not due to the 1860’s reports arguing that work in the fields was physically and morally corrupting. This unfavourable view of field work is expressed by the third person omniscient narrator as Tess struggles in the swede field, working “hour after hour”.

    Furthermore, Duffy creates interest in the changing state of her relationship by using contrasting forms and structures within her poems as her relationship exists within a vacuum and so few specific places are named or described. In ‘Hour’ Duffy views spending time with her lover, irrelevant of the time or place as highly important in her relationship and utilises the sonnet form to present her traditional love values. “Time slows, for here we are millionaires, backhanding the night”, the structure of the second stanza in ‘Hour’ is composed in perfect iambic pentameter to reflect the perfection of this moment. Duffy and her lover feel as though they are metaphorical “millionaires” in relation to the elongated period of time they are able to spend together. The iambic pentameter in this stanza could also suggest of there being equality in their relationship as it is based purely on emotion and desire, unlike the social and contextual factors that prove to continually hinder the progression and happiness of both Tess and Alec’s and Gatsby and Daisy’s relationships.

    However, just as Tess and Gatsby’s happiness in their relationships deteriorates, so does Duffy’s nice topic sentence to signal progression of argument. Similar to Hardy’s description of Flintcombe-Asch, in ‘Unloving’ Duffy describes a winter landscape as an extended pathetic fallacy, using the harsh, cold indifference of inanimate things to convey the pain and emptiness of losing love. In antithesis to the perfect iambic pentameter used in ‘Hour’, the structure is disjointed in ‘Unloving’. In the second, fourth and sixth stanzas the first lines are broken half lines, possibly to reflect the absence of Duffy’s lover and their broken relationship – the lovers are no longer is harmony and the balance of the relationship has been disrupted by the absence of Duffy’s lover.

    Overall, although Duffy’s affair, like Tess’s, comes to an abrupt and painful end, “I wake to a dark hour”, the climatic collapse of her relationship is caused only by emotional tension between her and her partner as opposed to additional pressures from the social context that remains ambiguous throughout ‘Rapture’. As a result of her first person narrative the reader feels less sympathetic towards Duffy as the end of the affair is not the consequence of fateful factors of which protagonists such as Gatsby and Tess have limited or no control over – therefore the reader feels more sympathetic towards Tess’s overly negative changes in her relationships throughout ‘TOTD’ due to the third person narrative alongside her less emphasised flaws in comparison to Duffy and Gatsby. Changes in relationships appear more interesting to the reader in ‘TOTD’ than in ‘Rapture’ good to see you evaluating the comparison as Duffy’s poems become overly repetitive and overly personalised, summarised by the critic Frances Leviston as an account of an obsessed lover “returning to the same sacred images, waxing and waning.” We can’t help feel that Duffy is overly obsessive and as a result we cannot sympathise or hold as much interest in the breakdown of her singular relationship as we do for Tess across her many challenging relationship struggles – because the reader is distanced from Tess her downfall seems more inevitable and victimised.


    AO1 = 7 Next step: consider the counter argument more explicitly in the intro – if you only prove that change = interest you cannot address the ‘most interest’. You introduce the idea of Duffy’s repetitive sentiment in your conclusion, this would have been a good point of discernment to identify in the intro. You could then have argued for the statement but differentiated between the texts in terms of the more powerful, developed contrast between states of the relationship in Tess compared to the echoes/ monotony of Rapture’s images/ feelings.

    AO2 = 9 Really impressive. I think you could have made a better point of explaining how Hardy’s 3rd person intrusive narrator documents and highlights the changes and shapes our response.

    AO3 = 19 really strong feature of the response. The use of critics is also excellent. Maybe an explicit double reading of the same quote for each side of the argument? (Being picky)

    AO4 = 15 Strong and effective on Tess. Less foregrounded on Rapture. You could have mentioned Hardy’s nod to sensation fiction from the 1860s and perhaps his reinvention of the genre – he sensationalises not just to titillate readers but to challenge their pious sensitivities. You could have mentioned industrialisation and the change that made on Tess and rural England. For Rapture, when you mention the literary context of the sonnet you could have made more of her departure/change of this conventional form – how her images of cuckoo spit and the ditch are gritty and realistic – not idealised. You also could have mentioned the context of civil partnership and now in 2014 the Marriage Act and equal rights for same-sex couples – context for the physical description made so explicit in Rapture; this is no longer so taboo.

    50/60 A fantastic response. Well done.

  2. Mrs Taylor says:

    Here is a second really pleasing essay I have been emailed this week – feedback and marks at the end of the essay.

    June 2010 “Writers are at their most interesting when they present readers with emotionally intense relationships”

    For writers to present relationships which the reader can connect with, it involves emotional intensity or passion, so that the reader feels as if the relationship is worthy of investing in. Both Hardy and Duffy present moments of intense emotions, which evoke sympathy and engagement within the reader. Whereas Duffy has the social freedom to express her emotions without a political agenda, despite “1997 newly elected labour thought Middle England wasn’t quite ready for a lesbian laureate”, Hardy was restricted by Tess’ response to emotive situations by the dogmatic, late Victorian ideals about how women should behave, arguably provoking more engagement and interest within a modern reader.

    Both Hardy and Duffy present their respective protagonists as so emotionally absorbed within their relationships that they lose sight of themselves as individuals and express the extreme desperation for death if it means being reunited with their lover. Far from being melodramatic and exaggerated, this parallel comparison highlights the length and depth of the individuals feelings. Despite this, a modern readers sympathy may sway more towards Tess, as she had very few options as a woman of her time. Duffy’s use of first person lyrical narration to convey her emotional outpouring is arguably repetitive, however there is a recurring motif of death throughout the collection which she uses to portray the intensity she feels. This intensity has been highlighted by critics, “love is an extremity, rivalled only by death”, “desire is almost a death wish”, and this is evident as imagery frequently progresses from positive to negative and morbid throughout the collection; In ‘Swing’, “someone had looped a rope over a branch”, which later transforms into “a rope/hung from a branch like a noose” in ‘Unloving’, there are similar death images throughout, “an open grave”, “queuing for death”. Perhaps the most unsettling image, which reveals Duffy’s infinite adoration of her lover is in ‘Answer’, “your breast, a deep, dark lake nursing the drowned”. The use of the alliterate ‘d’, in “deep…dark” offers an almost fairytale tone, and although Duffy admits, “I love fairytale…it can move through time”, these adjectives offer a childlike awe of her lover, who she describes as oxymoronically “nursing the drowned”. One would expect someone who nursed to heal, or mend, and instead here the lover is drowning, however Duffy ironically perceives her as helping. This is evidence of Duffy’s ultimate skewed view of her lover, the absorption of which is unsettling, but interesting for the reader, as they gain an insight into the true depth of Duffy’s feelings.

    Hardy similarly uses death to portray Tess’ true desperation to be with Angel, however it is arguably more effective as Tess is proactive and resilient in dealing with her situation, rather than passive and hopeless like Duffy, this ultimately means the reader feels less frustrated at Tess, and therefore can sympathise more with her. Suicide for both Tess and Duffy, who was raised a Catholic, was considered a sin, however there would have been more social implications for Tess living in a society with the inflexible views of the Church compared to the modern day – highlighted in the categorisation of where they are buried, and where Tess is forced to bury her illegitimate child, “in that shabby corner of God’s allotment… where all the unbaptized infants…suicides, and others of the conjecturally damned are laid”. Therefore, the fact she contemplated death the night of her and Angel’s wedding revels her true desperation and loyalty to Angel, as she herself naively thought it would have had a chance of improving the situation, “But I hadn’t the courage…of putting an end to myself”. Although Tess had little choice but to obey her husband, as a woman, she had few rights – denied the vote alongside working class men and ‘lunatics’ and a victim of legal injustices such as the Matrimonial Causes Act of 1857, which allowed a man to divorce his wife on grounds of adultery and not vice versa, Tess accepts her fate gracefully, and intuitively suggests a short term arrangement, “I could go home”. Throughout Tess’ plight, and her experiences at Flintcomb Ash, “a starve acre place” where she was subjected to manual labour, something which was not respectful for a woman, and considered as “physically and morally corrupting” in 1960, Tess maintains loyalty and emotionally intensity towards Angel. This was expected from a late Victorian contemporary reader, however commendable from a contemporary and a modern reader – “what sort of husband can he be?” “O, do not speak against him!”. During Tess’ pleading letter to Angel, like Duffy, she highlights her desperation to be with Angel even if it means death, “I long for only one thing, in heaven or earth or under the earth, to meet you”.

    Due to the differences in narrative style, a reader may feel that Hardy is a more reliable source to convey the emotional intensity Tess feels, compared to Duffy’s bias and exaggerated first person with no insight into a second party. Hardy successfully engages the readers sympathy through his third person, omniscient and judgemental narrator, “it was they that were out of harmony with the actual world, not her [Tess].” Hardy strived to do more than engage the readers sympathy and interest; his political agenda was revealed through the censorship battle he experienced in 1981, where the published version of Tess did not contain the seduction scene and included Angel carrying the dairymaids over the flood in wheelbarrows rather than his arms, this serialised magazine edition Hardy states did not “foster the growth of the novel which reflects and reveals life”, his goal clear, “I have felt that the doll of English fiction should be demolished” (1891). Hardy’s ultimate belief that a woman should be judged on her morality, not chastity was also revealed in his original naming of the novel, “A Pure Woman, faithfully presented”, attaching the label of “Pure” to Tess despite her sexual history highlights his controversial disagreement with the beliefs of his time. Although both Duffy and Tess continue to uphold their emotional intensity through turmoil, a modern reader is perhaps more interested in Tess as she manages to do this despite the social constraints she is subjected to.

    Both Duffy and Hardy draw on the surroundings to portray emotional intensity as almost tangible. Both writers utilise nature imagery and pathetic fallacy as they attempt to appropriate this Romantic style for their own agenda. Whereas Hardy also attaches places to the seasons and travels of Tess throughout the phases each with contextual significance, Duffy’s lack of proper nouns and instead universal places, ‘Forest’, ‘River’, allow her to comment on the intensity of relationships as a whole, rather than just her own, despite being “a moving act of personal testimony”, “Rapture is the specifics of love, not the specifics of the lovers”, “a map of real love in all its churning complexity.” (The Times).

    Hardy utilises Tabolthays as a place where Tess’s character and love for Angel grows, which her surroundings mirror, “rays from the sunrise drew forth the buds and stretched them into long stalks”, conveying contentment, passion and fertility. The way the “sunrise drew forth” the buds, presents a very natural progression and development as they slowly adjust to their new length, much like Tess adjusts to her new life and opportunities. Hardy utilises nature to normalise the primal feelings of desire which Tess and Angel share, something which was catalysed by the publication of Darwin’s book, “The Origin of the species in 1859”, which contradicted fundamentalistic ideals about God, and lead to a serious crisis of religion in late Victorian England. Hardy, among other writers, adopted a post Darwinian view of life, where humans were seen as no more than specialised animals, subject to natural forces. This use of nature also adds to the tangible emotional intensity in scenes between Tess and Angel, especially in their meeting in an “uncultivated garden”. Angel’s music is described as wandering in the “still air with a stark quality like that of nudity”, this creates an atmosphere of tension and intensity, and the use of the word “nudity” has connotations of exposure and vulnerability – possibly of Tess and Angel’s true feelings of attraction. Hardy uses tactile imagery of the “damp and rank” grass, “offensive smells” and “sticky blights” which “stain” Tess’ skin, all of which portray the wild and unconstrained feelings of interrupted desire which Hardy creates. Hardy and Duffy both portray the feelings of sexual and emotional intensity which can be released through nature, Hardy describes, “juicy grass which sent up mists of pollen at a touch”, which conveys the explosive emotional affect which Angel and Tess have on one another and Duffy describes , “I unfurled my fist/for the rain to caress with its lips…and water flooded my mouth” to portray similar release and climax of intense emotion particularly in the word “unfurled”. Duffy similarly uses nature imagery to convey a sense of approval and support that it has on her relationship. During ‘Forest’, Duffy speaks of the way the “moon tossed down its shimmering cloth” which the lovers then “dressed again in the gowns of the moon”. The use of the verb “tossed”, personifies and evokes a sense of casual and willingness that the moon will lend the lovers its light, almost as a blessing, the word “gowns” portrays a feeling of grandeur and wealth. This creates a serene and intense scene, one which mirrors the emotional intensity and significance of Duffy’s loss of sexual innocence.

    Both Duffy and Hardy use the surroundings to sympathise with the protagonists during times of conflict. During ‘Row’, the “air hurt and purpled like a bruise” which creates this tangible sense that the air has been physically punched and hurt as it reflects the hurt of the lovers words. Similarly Duffy uses vocabulary from the semantic field of violence to personify the surroundings, “ripped”, “shredded”, “jagged” to convey how she views her environment differently depending on her relationship. Duffy utilises pathetic fallacy, as during ‘Row’, “the sun banged the gate in the sky and fled”, which juxtaposes the “shining hour” scenes in ‘Hour’. Similarly, Hardy utilises the harsh environment of Flinctcomb Ash, with Tess’ isolation and unfortunate circumstance – “the whole field was in colour a desolate drab”, “a cold which was not of frost, it chilled the eyeballs…they knew that it meant snow”. Using nature to support and sympathise with the relationships in Rapture and Tess accentuates the intensity of them, that they even influence the natural elements such as the weather, and increases our interest as a reader.

    Both texts demonstrate emotional intensity which as a reader we can connect with and become particularly interested and concerned in their fate. Hardy and Duffy utilise extreme and natural imagery to accentuate the intensity, however as a modern reader I think it is more interesting to follow Tess’ journey and progression of character due to the social obstacles she had to overcome, as well as the complications and double standards of her relationship.


    AO4: 17/20
    The first 2/3 are excellent and the interweaving of AO4 is clearly deliberate (good for you – recognising the weighting of this AO) but it is not superfluous – it really works and illuminates your argument. Fantastic knowledge on Tess. Rapture needs fleshing out in terms of context. The examiner is very interested in you asserting how a ‘modern reader’ would respond – get this into the intro and revisit later in the essay for all texts mentioned.

    AO1: 8/10
    The line of argument is focussed on ‘intense emotions’ and broadens it out to consider the social/politicisation of the relationship in Tess. The progression falters in the last third where you start sticking in slightly clumsy points. It would have been good to integrate recognition of a counter argument — perhaps that the intensity can become exhausting and increasingly insincere (Rapture) or not believable (Tess) – even if you did so in the intro before concluding that you did not agree with this.

    AO3: 19/20
    The AO3 links are sustained throughout which is a difficult thing to do. THere is a range of critical views which are very apt and add to your points. I wonder if the examiner would feel it is a little too Tess-centric? Too light on Rapture?

    AO2: 8/10
    You are strong on vocab and image but less so on form and structure.

    52/60 Very impressive. Well done!

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