Friday, November 9, 2012

A Passage to India Page 1 - AS Essay Question

Nardvark was too chatty in class and didn't understand the difference between "point" and "diction." If you have the same confusion, look at Nerdvark's colour-coded notes for the Five Paragraph Essay on the AS exam-style question given from A Passage To India, below, and see if it clears things up.  Then try to develop the notes into a fantastic essay.  Don't forget to write an introduction with a hook and thesis, and to wrap everything up with a conclusion. Remember this is only part of the passage given in class (and on an exam); if you can add more points, your teacher will be impressed. Remember to add links to your paragraphs.

Comment closely on the following passage, focusing on how it introduces the setting.


Except for the Marabar Caves—and they are twenty miles off —the city of Chandrapore presents nothing extraordinary. Edged rather than washed by the river Ganges, it trails for a couple of miles along the bank, scarcely distinguishable from the rubbish it deposits so freely. There are no bathing-steps on the river front, as the Ganges happens not to be holy here; indeed there is no river front, and bazaars shut out the wide and shifting panorama of the stream. The streets are mean, the temples ineffective, and though a few fine houses exist they are hidden away in gardens or down alleys whose filth deters all but the invited guest. Chandrapore was never large or beautiful, but two hundred years ago it lay on the road between Upper India, then imperial, and the sea, and the fine houses date from that period. The zest for decoration stopped in the eighteenth century, nor was it ever democratic. There is no painting and scarcely any carving in the bazaars. The very wood seems made of mud, the inhabitants of mud moving. So abased, so monotonous is everything that meets the eye, that when the Ganges comes down it might be expected to wash the excrescence back into the soil. Houses do fall, people are drowned and left rotting, but the general outline of the town persists, swelling here, shrinking there, like some low but indestructible form of life.




Point: Forster used diction to introduce the setting.
Example: rubbish, filth, abased, excrescence, fall, drowned, rotting
Explanation: Words like “rubbish,” “filth,” and “excrescence” create a disgusting atmosphere. Words like “fall,” “drowned,” and “rotting” - used to describe how people and houses are left in the city - creates image of city of Chandrapore and inhabitants as neglected, poor, uncared-for.
Point: Forster used personification to describe the streets.
Example: “The streets are mean”
Explanation: makes streets seem alive – many interpretations – an effective literary device because it says so much in one word: the people in the streets are mean; streets perhaps are maze-like, convoluted, difficult to navigate; “mean” because they are dirty, “mean” because cobbled/uneven, “mean” because difficult to get taxis...
Point: Forster used a simile and alliteration to describe the buildings and people in the city
Example: “The very wood seems made of mud, the inhabitants of mud moving”
Explanation: saying the wood and people seem made of mud creates an image of the buildings and people as very dirty, covered in mud. The alliteration of the ‘m’ sound makes the reading very slow, to create an aural image of a slow-moving city, slow-moving inhabitants, feels like slow-motion – muddy people moving slowly through mud; mimics the sound of people moving through mud
Point: Forster used a simile to summarize the description of the city
Example: general outline of the town persists, swelling here, shrinking there, like some low but indestructible form of life.
Explanation: comparing the city of Chandrapore to a life form shows that it keeps changing. Saying it persists, is indestructible, shows that it is an old city. India is very old, people keep building new houses/buildings, or changing what exists, though the city is mean, dirty, disgusting, they persist in living there and keeping it alive.