Themes and Ideas 3

English Language > Extended Reading > Themes and Ideas

Example 1: exploring the way family relationships are presented

For the extended reading controlled assessment you might be asked to explore the way in which family relationships are presented. To answer this, look at examples of conflict between families and within families. Think about what plays a bigger role in the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet - would you argue that the feud between two families, or the Capulet's decision to force Juliet to marry Paris played the biggest part in the play? If you begin your planning with these two conflicting ideas you will have a basis for a good argument.

The short story When the Wasps Drowned by Clare Wigfall also explores tensions within family relationships. It is a story full of boundaries, such as:

  • the garden wall
  • the end of childhood
  • the beginning of the end of a mother's natural authority

On the one hand there is the excitement of starting a new phase in life and on the other is the warmth and comfort of the mother-daughter bond that is part of childhood. In this example, your essay might explore how the tension between these two ideas is resolved or left hanging.

Tip: your essay should be full of connectives, linking different ideas - eg, "On the one hand... On the other hand... Family relationships are presented as sources of strength and comfort. However, they can also be the source of pain and struggle."

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