Pupil Analysis (Vishal Nagda)

Another essay from Vishal to be dissected. As always my comments in red and banding at the end of the essay.

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Question: Comment closely on the ways in which the writer presents the impact of cares and troubles in the following poem. (Poem: A Mind Content by Robert Greene).

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The writer, Robert Greene, demonstrates the level of peace and contentment he receives and how little he is troubled or worried, by emphasising the role of his mind and psychological state, the blissful sleep he experiences and his simple lifestyle. All these factors allow him to live a contented life free of stress. (much better approach for your introduction, although I think you could be a little clearer. Something like: Greene contrasts material wealth and power with the stress and worries that accompany it in order to demonstrate a rationale for a more humble existence without worries and troubles

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The poetic voice emphasises the significance of the state of his mind in determining the degree to which cares and troubles affect him. (reread this as it doesn’t make complete sense to me) He writes “sweet are the thoughts that savour of content”, which creates the impression that if he avoids focusing on the negative and stressful thoughts, and instead focuses on the positive and happy ones, he will be less affected by troubles. (okay, I see what you’re saying now) “Savour” creates the idea that the thoughts, and therefore the persona as a whole, are fully absorbed in the deep richness of “content[ment]”. (good doubling down on analysis here) Moreover, he writes “the quiet mind is richer than a crown”, which creates the impression that a mind that is kept still and empty is far more valuable in having peace, happiness and being free from worry than having material wealth, and that just because he has a crown does not necessarily mean that he is rich. Richness here is not measured by monetary terms, but by his level of peace and freedom from worry. A crown is usually worn by a prince or a king, and that position normally signifies great responsibilities and making difficult decisions – responsibilities and decisions that greatly increase stress and worry. (yeah, this is great!) The persona has effectively demonstrated the significance of our psychology in the impact that troubles and cares have on us. (some great analysis, but I think you’d be better framing it on the grounds of material wealth vs. mental contentment)

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Another way that the poetic voice presents the impact of cares and troubles is by presenting the deep and wonderful sleep that is experienced by him, which implies that troubles do not affect him much. (good, but could be briefer and more to the point in this sentence with exploration later in the paragraph) He writes “sweet… nights… careless slumber spent”, and this gives the reader the idea that the persona is able to get restful and uninterrupted sleep because he is so stress free. “Careless” implies that he is not tense, but rather relaxed and cool, feeling carefree as he goes to bed – there are no worries or anxieties that prevent this. He also writes “such sweet content, such minds, such sleep, such bliss”, which emphasises how free the persona feels from cares and troubles. “Such” is repeated to emphasise the deep feeling of contentment that is overwhelming the persona. (good structural comment, not just spotting, but explaining the impact) First he uses “minds”, then “sleep”, and at this point he loses emotional control as they wash over him and he writes “bliss”, as though it is almost unbelievable that he gets to experience this. He concludes by writing “princes oft do miss”, which implies that the persona feels lucky that he gets to experience the rest and bliss that he does, because he understands that princes do not. (just make this very clear to your marker – he is again emphasising that happiness is derived from our minds and not from power or wealth) Indeed, the poetic voice has presented that his sleep is wonderful and that troubles and cares do not affect him much. (did you mean ‘indeed’?  I’m not sure it is the right word)

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Thirdly, the persona describes how a lifestyle that is simple and unburdened minimises the impact that troubles and cares would have on him. (much better linking than in the first essay, but avoid secondly, thirdly, etc and try to make the link more natural. In addition, you are using the words of the question to continually refocus yourself (which is great), but try to use synonymous phrases so that your essay doesn’t become repetitive – Greene returns to this idea of a simple life minimising worldly worries through imagery of an idyllic pastoral scene.) He records that he lives in a “cottage that affords no pride nor care”, and this tells the reader that the persona’s place of residence is very modest at best. “No pride… nor care” describes how the cottage is not fancy but rather plain and uneventful. However, the reader can sense that the persona says this not out of a sense of lack, but out of a sense of humility and minimalism. (excellent – however, sense of lack sounds odd) He goes on “the sweet consort of mirth and music’s fare” and this makes the reader imagine a life where enjoyable music is often played and listened to by a persona who is laid back. He writes further “obscured life sets down a type of bliss” where “obscured life” creates the impression that he lives in the countryside, which is more peaceful, slow and spacious, as opposed to the high paced and congested city life. (I think you are missing a good point to be made about the fact that these descriptive details usually have negative connotations, but are here being used to demonstrate positive aspects of a simple life) The fact that the persona lives in the countryside already minimises the impact of troubles, because city folk tend to be much more worried and anxious. Furthermore, there are fewer forces that pressurise in the countryside than in the city – less work, less commuting, fewer deadlines and commitments. The poetic voice has presented how the impact of cares and troubles are minimised for him. (anchor a bit simplistic – Thus Greene’s presentation of a relaxed country life, free of luxury and grandeur, is used to reflect once again that fame and fortune come at a price of one’s happiness and contentment)

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The poetic voice also demonstrates that he is satisfied and content with having less, and therefore the impacts of troubles are low as well. (your point doesn’t actually make a point here) The structure used expresses this – two stanzas, six lines each. The stanzas could be longer, but they are relatively short and small to emphasise that the persona is not only comfortable with living a minimalist life, but content with it. (I’m not sure how valid a point this is – does the length of a poem always determine someone’s approach to life)  The rhyme scheme ababcc reflects the persona’s feeling of contentment and joy – it’s a natural expression of his feelings in a playful manner, because he is so relaxed. (I’d sum this all up together – Even the structure of the poem expresses Greene’s idea about simplicity leading to happiness. Each line in the poem pauses for contemplation ensuring it is read slowly with reflection upon the simple things in life, while the simple, repetitive rhyme scheme ensures an upbeat and positive tone throughout. Only once does the pace change, at the end of the first stanza, where Greene is overcome with all the joys of this existence that he skips through all the different joys this rural life provides. This structure reflects the persona’s feeling of contentment and joy…) Again, the persona, through structure and rhyme expresses just how little troubles affect him and his peace.

Throughout this poem, Greene has demonstrated the extent to which he is free from worry and not impacted much by troubles and cares. (synonyms) From the emphasis of keeping his mind sweet and quiet to increase his peace and happiness, to experiencing deep and restful sleep that induce bliss, to the simple and unburdened lifestyle in the obscured countryside, and even the simple and short structure and rhyme that express and illuminate the fact. (much better conclusion, but I would like you to be a bit more decisive with what Greene has actually demonstrated in the poem – …obscured countryside, Greene demonstrates that happiness is more about being carefree as opposed to achieving fame or wealth)

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Yeah, we’re really getting there. This is an excellent essay, but a few more tips below:

 Synonyms  you use the wording of the question throughout to keep you on track; however, at times this gets a bit repetitive with ‘troubles’ and ‘cares’. Using related synonyms or synonymous phrases will make the essay flow a little smoother.

Linking paragraphs – much better again. However, these are better when they sound natural. Firstly, secondly, thirdly sound a bit naff.

An anchor – worked well, but with a bit more practice these will flow more easily.

Length – I think this a little short. Length doesn’t really matter, but I’d be aiming for 2-2 1/2 pages depending on the size of your handwriting. I know this is typed, but it felt short and I know there is a lot more you could have mentioned. I still think this.

Please feel free to clarify any of these points with me.

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Mark Scheme – 19/25 (top B to A)

K (Band 2) Precise, integrated knowledge used to answer the question. Much better probing of individual key words and issues explored in depth to provide clarity.

(Band 2) Evidence of sound understanding of most aspects of ways in which writers’ choices of structure, form and language shape meanings, with some analysis and appreciation of literary methods, effects, and contexts.

(I hesistated before deciding Band 2 as your comments on structure were not smoothly or convincingly explained)

P (Band 2) Evidence of personal response to the texts, relevant to the question, supported from the text, some originality of thought, straightforward and vigorously articulated, perhaps, rather than penetrating and subtle

C (Band 2) Expression clear and almost always accurate. Structure will be sound – material coherently organised with occasional insights. Candidates will express intelligent, straightforward ideas clearly.

Author: Mr Sir

Although I've only been teaching Literature since 2011 and did my degree in History, I think that makes me better placed than many Lit teachers to provide notes that make sense and aren't garbled and wrapped up with inaccessible terminology and effluent nonsense. After adventures in Uganda and Uzbekistan, I am now settling down in the Netherlands. However, currently I am just about as unsettled as I have ever been, with a new job, a new baby, a new country and a hundred other things going on! Ask me a question, collaborate or abuse me.

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