Top Tips For Language And Literature Students I Oxford Open Learning

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Top Tips For Language And Literature Students


Literature, Language, Point, Evidence, Explain

If you are studying English Language or English Literature, you will be aware of the importance of using P.E.E (Point, Evidence, Explain) in your writing. You might know it by a slightly different acronym – and that’s fine. The purpose is the same.

Sometimes, it is tricky to know how to explore P.E.E in more detail – and you might feel as if you have hit a brick wall if you are advised to do so. But there are ways that you can do this, and then you can apply such a skill to further work. Let’s think about a theme: winter. Cold mornings, frost, dark nights, storms. And now, let us look at a description linking with this theme:

The wind howled, and the windows rattled. Outside, sheets of rain assaulted the bricks, the thatch, and the already-battered front door. Luckily for Stella, she had a good supply of wood, and she was adept at keeping the open fire blazing.

Here, you can hopefully see that the description is quite atmospheric. What if you had to write about it, as you do in different parts of your course? Take this task:

Explore how the writer creates atmosphere in this extract

You could write: The writer makes the atmosphere scary by using verbs such as ‘howled’ and ‘rattled’. They then personify the rain when they say ‘assaulted’ – and the focus on ‘Stella’ inside the house makes it seem as if she is vulnerable.

Now, this is okay – but it doesn’t really expand that much. Look at this example and then consider the differences between both responses:

In the extract, the writer creates atmosphere using ‘howled’ and ‘rattled’ – both verbs have close associations with sound, and make the reader imagine the noisy, perhaps scary, atmosphere. There is a clear juxtaposition between the outside, with the personification of the rain which ‘assaulted’ different parts of the house, and the safer interior – where ‘Stella’ has a ‘good supply of wood’. The writer is making the making the reader feel for the character, and perhaps empathise with her, which is a result of the atmosphere that is created here.

Literature and Use of Language

Hopefully, having looked at two different examples of P.E.E, you can see that the second one is stronger – it explores the language use, and the task, in more detail. If you struggle with going further with your analysis, this should help you with taking your analysis further – if you ‘dig deep’, you are more likely to achieve at a higher level, and this is no bad thing. So, as Seamus Heaney famously said in his poem Digging, about his pen: ‘I’ll dig with it’. See if you can do the same.

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