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Hannah Tyson

Some advice for the two November 2013 papers

Even though none of us knows what passage or poem will be offered in Paper 1 nor what the Paper 2 questions will be, there are points of advice that can be given for each. Some will replicate what your teachers are telling you, but an experienced paper setter and examiner might be able to add some others. Post your worries, your questions.

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Hi,

I am doing English Literature HL.

I was wondering, with regards to both Papers 1 and 2, how do you feel about cross-quoting (i.e. quoting from another text in your essay/commentary)? My English teacher personally loves it in both Papers, but I have heard that a variety of other markers (and examiners) really don't like it. I find that it can often really help to articulate and reinforce what I am trying to say. For example, I have studied A Streetcar Named Desire and Death of a Salesman, which link perfectly to Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, and I am often tempted to include a brief quote as a part of my analysis. However, friends of mine with other IB English teachers have said that their teachers see it as somewhat 'pretentious' in showing off how much you know.

Do you think that it is valuable, or that I should just focus solely on the text being analysed in the Essay (or poem/excerpt in Paper 1)?

Thank you for your time and feedback. I appreciate it.

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On the whole, iblyf, examiners want you to concentrate in your essays and commentary on the work(s) you have chosen to discuss at length. That said, a brief allusion to a similarity or difference, one that is really compelling, can be useful. Still, there is plenty to cover in either paper, so best to stick to the primary text(s) unless you just can't resist including such an allusion. And yes, it tends to come off as a bit 'pretentious" if it's not smooth. (As I re-read the preceding, it sounds evasive, but so much depends on the particular way such things are handled).

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