Sample Essay Questions
1. When a person undergoes the process of change, they leave a part of them behind. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Refer to your
2. Change is always accompanied by drawback and discomfort. Discuss this statement with close reference to your prescribed texts and one other related text of your own choosing.
3. The process of change involves learning from your mistakes and making an effort to become a better person. Evaluate this statement with reference to your prescribed texts and on other related text of your own choosing.
4. When a change of context is forced upon you, the individual needs to decide whether to embrace what is on offer or shun the opportunities available. To what extent do your texts and characters support this statement? Refer to your prescribed texts and a related text of your own choosing.
Sample Question #1
‘When a person undergoes the process of change, they leave a part of them behind. To what extent do you agree with this statement? Refer to your prescribed texts and one other related text of your own choosing’
• Memoirs of a Geisha: Chiyo leaves behind the life of a poor fisherman’s daughter, along with her mother and sister, for the life of a Geisha • Things Fall Apart: Nwoye, Okonkwos weak son Nwoyea converts and submits to the missionaries or Okonkwo leaves behind is body, after he commits suicide – his major change was life to death • American History X – Derek’s paradigm shift post rape and Dr. Sweeny conversation, as he leaves his racist and bigotry views behind, and in return attempts to change his younger brother Danny. ‘there could be some truth in that statement, however
‘therefore it is clear that whilst such and such would be more accurate such and such is…’
Change is to alter, to make different, to pass from one stage to another. The film Memoirs of a Geisha, the novel Things Fall Apart, and the film American History X, all exhibit protagonists who embrace change and accept the inevitable sacrifices that accompany it, or fight change until their last moments. The protagonists being Chiyo from Memoirs of a Geisha who has no choice but to accept change, Okonkwo from Things Fall Apart who rejects change, and Derek from American History X who embraces change. Through a variety of cinematic and literary techniques such as film noir, monochromatic colouring and a range of camera shots, all three texts are able portray the protagonists going through a process of change.
Things Fall Apart, a novel written by Chinua Achebe, confronts the harsh realities of white missionaries in postcolonial Africa, with the focus on Umuofia clan leader Okonkwo, who has to deal with the changes the white missionaries bring. Unlike Chiyo or Derek, Okonkwo resists and rejects change till his death. In the final moments of the novel, Okonkwo commits his last acts of defiance,; the murder of the white messenger, and suicide. ‘Okonkwos machetes descended twice and the mans head lay beside his uniformed body… they had broken into tulmult instead of action… why did he do it?’. Literary techniques such as imagery, the use of a rhetorical question and foreshadowing can be observed within this quote. Imagery allows the reader to get a sense of Okonkwos violent nature, whilst a rhetorical question gives an insight into the thoughts of the clansmen and how the clan excluding Okonkwo has rather accepted change, instead of resisting it. The techniques within the quote also assist the reader in visualising Okonkwos last act of insolence, as it foreshadows his eventual death. Regarding the question, yes Okonkwo does leave ‘a part of himself behind’, however he goes through no process of change, as he spent the time between the landing of the missionaries and his death, repelling change.
American History X, a film directed by Tony Kaye, is about a former neo-Nazi skinhead Derek Vineyard, who...
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