Author Archives


Literary Compare and Contrast

Whichever Language A course you have elected to study, in this section you’ll learn how to prepare in advance for your Paper 2, techniques for approaching different questions, how to plan on the day, and how to structure and write a brilliant compare and contrast essay. You’ll find sample essays that have been written using the texts from your course which you can read and discuss, and you’ll be encouraged to prepare in the best way possible: write your own model responses to sample open questions.

Culture Mashing

The internet is full of fascinating mash-ups, remixes, parodies and fan-fictions that are not only clever and inventive, but meticulously created. However high the quality, though, they do raise important ethical questions about art and appropriation.

Poetry Study: Charlotte Mew

On a modest London street in Bloomsbury in 1913 called Devonshire Street stood a tiny independent bookshop by the name of The Poetry Bookshop. It’s proprietor was Harold Munro, and he ran this friendly neighbourhood store until 1926. As well as selling books of poetry, Harold also published – and it’s thanks to him that Charlotte Mew, a sometimes shy-and-silent young woman from Bloomsbury, found her audience. Invited to the shop by Harold’s assistant Alida Klemantaski, while Mew had never sought fame, she agreed to the publication of The Farmer’s Bride in 1916.

Prose Study: Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

The story of Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress opens as the narrator (who remains unnamed) and his best friend Luo arrive at the Phoenix of the Sky village in the Chinese province of Sichuan near the border with Tibet. The year is 1971 and Mao Zedong, Chairman of the People’s Republic of China, is conducting a policy of ‘re-education’ whereby young men of middle-class families are sent to the countryside to learn from poor peasants how to be model citizens. The two boys are tasked with menial and back-breaking work, such as coal mining and carrying buckets of faeces up the mountain to fertilize the rice fields.

Children Playing

Unseen Text: Children Playing Text Type: Satirical Cartoon Guiding Question: Analyse the methods used by the writer of this text to convey a message. According to the IB Subject Guide for Language and Literature, of the two texts presented to you in your Paper 1 examination, one will […]

You Have a Question, Calvin?

Unseen Text: Calvin and Hobbes Text Type: Comic Strip Guiding Question: How do both text and image create humour in this comic strip? Comic strips are a popular text type to read and study and may also appear on Paper 1. By this stage in your education, it […]

Prose Study: Waiting for the Barbarians by J.M. Coetzee

An unnamed magistrate is stationed at a frontier border town of an expanding empire. He’s been posted here for a long time and, despite how far away he is from the capital, he is happy to live out his ‘easy years’ in this remote area on the border of the empire; approaching sixty, he will retire soon and, apart from the occasional sheep raids and sporadic attacks, his posting is not at all dramatic. However, rumour is spreading about a possible barbarian attack by the indigenous peoples who live on the empire’s fringes. Displaced by the foreign settlers, are they now massing together to counter-attack?

The History of Advertising

Five thousand years ago, the Babylonians hung symbols over their shop doors depicting what kind of trade went on inside and, voila, the first advertisements were born. Advertising may have become more prevalent over the years, but wherever communities and commerce exit, so too does advertising.

‘Water is Wet’ and the Language of Advertising

Despite what people say, advertisers know that language (and images) work at both the conscious and the unconscious level, and a person unaware of advertising’s claim on him or her is the person least well equipped to resist its insidious attack, no matter how forthright they may sound. Therefore, the purpose of a classroom study of advertising is to raise the level of awareness about the persuasive techniques used in ads.

An American Revolution

Unseen Text: Chevrolet Volt Text Type: Print Advert Guiding Question: How do visual elements such as font, layout and image impact the reader of this advert? Paper 1 will consist of two texts: if you are a standard level candidate, you can choose which text you would like […]