WT2 Questions & samples

Higher Level students must write at least one critical response (written task 2) to a text. These responses, which in fact are essays, answer one of six prescribed quesitons from the Language A: Language and Literature guide. These questions are answered with regards to the text that has been studied. The six questions are versatile, meaning they can be applied to both non-literary and literary texts. Like written task 1, there is some element of student choice. Students are encouraged to choose a question that they would like to explore in consultation with the teacher. 

Below you see the six prescribed questions for written task 2, as taken from the official Language A: Language and Literature guide. Several ideas have been given for each prescribed question. As you can see in the left menu, this section offers several samples of written task 2s as well. Read these and assess them according to the criteria for written task 2

Remember: An outline must be included with the written task 2. Each outline includes the prescribed essay question.  

Six questions

For the sake of simplicity, the prescribed questions are numbered 1 to 6 on this Subject Site. You will notice that the numbering in the guide is different. For each question, a few examples of potential written task 2s have been given.

  1. How could the text be read and interpreted differently by two different readers?

    • You could look at how a work that has been banned in some parts of the world, such as Huckleberry Finn in the South of the United States, has been read differently by readers there than reader elsewhere in the world during different periods.

    • One sample written task 2 on this Subject Site explores how Christians and homosexuals were offended by a particular Benetton ad, 'La Pieta'.

  2. If the text had been written in a different time or place or language or for a different audience, how and why might it differ?

    • You could look at how one particular news story might be run differently in a different magazine or newspaper in a different part of the world.

    • One sample written task 2 on this Subject Site explores how George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion could have been set in modern day London.

  3. How and why is a social group represented in a particular way?

    • You could look at how the media portrayed a movement, such as the 'Occupy' movement, in a certain light. Explore one article or text.

    • You could look at the portrayal of Afrikaners in a short story by Nadine Gordimer.

  4. Which social groups are marginalized, excluded or silenced within the text?

    • You could look critically at women in advertising, where the majority of women are not represented. 

    • Another interpretation of the word 'within' suggests we look at how one character silences another character in a text. For example: 'How are secularists silenced by the Islamic Revolutionists in Persepolis?'

  5. How does the text conform to, or deviate from, the conventions of a particular genre, and for what purpose?

    • You could look at how some advertisements, like the Volkswagon ads from the 1960s, were revolutionary for breaking all conventions of advertising. Benetton's ads are also famous for breaking all the rules. 

    • You could look at a novel that has an unconventional narrative structure, such as As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner or The Collector by John Fowles. A work like The Handmaid's Tale breaks some rules of science fiction but adheres to others.

  6. How has the text borrowed from other texts, and with what effects?

    • You could look at a 'mash-ups', a texts that borrows from other text, such as the Vote Different ad for Obama. You can find a sample of this written task by clicking here

    • You could take a literary text which builds on another text. For example My Fair Lady'is a musical version of Pygmalion. One student in this sample wrote about how the Hollywood film Pretty Woman closely follows the same story line. 
       

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