2018 Paper 1 (HL) Bees

Two weeks ago (in June 2018), we published an HL Paper 1 response to texts A and B. These texts were both about a significant global issue – robots and artificial intelligence. The response is available here. This week (in July 2018) we publish a response to texts C and D. Mirroring texts A and B, texts C and D are also about an important global issue – the fate of bees.

The responses (A and B, and C and D) are written by the same student. Guided by his very knowledgeable and experienced tutor, the student has been asked (in writing about texts C and D) to try to develop his understanding of linguistic and stylistic features. He does very well. However, it may be argued that the response is underdeveloped. For example, the discussion of layout and the visual mode is a little superficial. Moreover, both the introductory and concluding paragraphs are rather insipid. The introductory paragraph is banal, and simply states the obvious. In short, this is a good response. It is well written and succinct. There is, however, inadequate detail.

Sample Response

 Sample Response

2018 Higher Level Paper 1 Response

Texts C and D emphasize this importance of bees and also state that they are in danger. However, because of their different context of production, purpose, audiences and genres, the perspective they take is very different, and so are the stylistic devices used.

The first important difference is context of production: “The Silence of the Bees, the online version of an article in a magazine from a specific area of the US, “the American West”, is from 2007 and targets an adult audience of western Americans interested in “the important issues and stories” of their region, specifically in topics related to “Energy and Industry.” The article seeks to inform its audience in an entertaining way -by telling a story-  on the importance of bees as pollinators, from an economic and industrial perspective. To stress their importance, Nordstrom calls bee migration “the glue that holds modern agriculture together.” This metaphor makes it clear to an audience who might not know much about the topic, how migrant pollination affects the American economy. To make the article interesting, the writer focuses on the personal story and specific problems of one of these businessmen of beekeeping.   Contrastingly, text D, a 2016 persuasive donation page on the UK site of what seems to be an international organization “Friends of the Earth”, seeks to convince ordinary citizens in the UK to donate money to “save Britain’s bees” and improve their habitat. We could say that text C presents a reason for the endangering of the bees, the “varroa mite” but offers no solution, whereas, 8 years later, the UK website also acknowledges the endangering of its bees for a different reason, the loss of their “natural habitat” and offers its audience a solution by calling them to action.

Although text C’s purpose is mainly informative and text D is mainly persuasive, they both reinforce their arguments with statistics and figures, to provide credibility: the article mentions “580000 acres of almonds” and how the bees increase the production from “40 pounds of almonds per acre” to “2,400 pounds”. Again, the focus is on production and the economy.  Text D also mentions how “97%” of the habitat has been lost and how bees pollinate “75%” of British crops, but the persuasive purpose is much more important than anything else. This can be seen in the use of clear persuasive techniques such as the use of imperatives (join, donate, get), addressing the audience directly and using bandwagon effect to make the audience want to be a part of the group who is making a difference (join the generation, “you can, too”, the bees need YOU, we can´t do this alone).

The difference in purpose and audience is also evident in the style both texts use: Text C wants to inform adults in an entertaining way. To do this, it uses a clever and dramatic title which alludes to a famous horror movie (The silence of the Lambs) which deals with cruel killings. This immediately attracts reader and the drama and tension are increased by the subtitle ‘s use of the words “perilous existence” and “great bee die-off”, giving the article a narrative quality, in accordance with “the stories that define the American West.” This literary quality can be seen in elegant vocabulary like “perilous” “amid”, “dessicated” and “wingless”.  The description of the varroa mite takes readers back to the title:  it is the “enemy”, a “colossus” that “feeds on the bee’s body fluids” in a “sinister predation”.  This diction enhances the article’s intellectual and literary feeling.  Text D, on the other hand, makes it clear it aims to persuade an audience of adults or families with children or young people by using dramatic but much simpler language such as “dying out fast”, “it’s so worrying”, “threatened species”. The advertised “Bee Saver Kit” seems a good present for children or young people, especially since “Christmas” is not far away.   In text C, bees are described as “plump, brown”, working “doggedly”. In text D, they are “our buzzy little friends”. Both descriptions create empathy in readers, but text C’s diction is more literary than Text D, which has more practical purposes.

In text C, the protagonist is Miller. Miller’s family has faced serious problems in the past such as “labor, pasture, honey prices, pollination prices” and he will face “The challenge of his career” in the future with the varroa mite. In text D, however, the protagonists are the bees who are in danger and the audience who can help them. It does not focus on the past, but rather on the future, as “disaster can be averted, and people are “working together” to do this. This creates a hopeful effect, reinforced by the bright colours used.

The article’s purpose also influences its layout: sober, with no images except for a light blue mountain range in the header, not to distract from the importance of the text. The persuasive nature of Text C results in bright colours, the use of pictures and cartoons of bees which appeal to children and families. The persuasive effect of the number three to reinforce ideas is present in three bullet points, three ways in which “we’re helping,” three amounts to choose and three steps to donate.  Interestingly, although the text is full of orders (“get, donate, save, order”), the final decision is made by the reader, “I will donate”, which has a very empowering effect: the reader feels donating is his own decision.

Bees are important in the lives of American and British people, and they are endangered.  Both texts make this clear, though in very different ways due to their genres, purposes and audiences.

Teacher's Comments

Criterion A: Understanding and comparison of the texts – 5 marks

The analysis should show an understanding of the similarities and differences between the texts. The analysis should show an understanding of texts, their type, their purposes, and possible contexts. Claims should be supported by well-chosen references to the texts.

4 out of 5: There is good understanding of the texts, their contexts, and purposes. However, it would be useful for the student to further elaborate on the ways the texts are similar and different. Moreover, there is some absence of critical insight; this might be made apparent by situating the understanding of texts in a more developed and nuanced discussion of historical and societal contexts.

Criterion B: Understanding of the use and effects of stylistic features – 5 marks

The analysis of the texts must show an awareness of how stylistic features, such as tone, style and structure, are used to construct meaning. A good analysis comments on effects of these features on its target audience.

4 out of 5: There is good understanding and illustration of the use of stylistic features. However, the discussion lacks detail, and the possible effects on readers is not fully explained or explored. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with what the student has written, but there needs to be further explication, and a fuller discussion of language and style more generally.

Criterion C: Organisation and development – 5 marks

The analysis must be balanced, containing arguments that are well-developed. The analysis must be organised effectively.

4 out of 5: There is good balance and coherence in this response, and the discussion moves seamlessly between texts. However, the discussion is poorly introduced, and the conclusion is abrupt, failing to provide a critical synthesis.

Criterion D: Language – 5 marks

The language of the analysis must be clear, varied, and accurate. The register of the analysis must be appropriate, meaning it contains formal sentence structure, good choice of words, and effective terminology.

5 out of 5: The language is very clear and effective. The register is appropriate, and there is excellent accuracy. Very competent writing.

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