Level 2 English Essays Students

For Merit, the student needs to create a crafted and controlled visual and verbal text that is convincing.

This involves developing, sustaining and structuring ideas convincingly and using appropriate language features to create meaning, effects and audience interest.

This student has created a montage, triggered by ideas in Beyoncé’s song Pretty Hurts. This montage convincingly sustains the idea of the contrast between the outward appearance and the painful ‘stripped to the bone’ reality involved in conforming to beauty norms.

Visual and verbal language features are deliberately selected to create meaning, effects and audience interest. Quotations, along with images of cosmetic surgery, bulimia and size 0 clothing have been placed around the central frame. The colour red emphasises pain and hurt, symbolising the undertone of the media’s concept of ‘being pretty’.

The idea of the pain of being pretty is sustained by images such as ‘lifting’ of the flap of skin to get at the ‘soul’, which really ‘needs the surgery’, and the ironic juxtaposition of an emaciated body with the line ‘Vogue says thinner is better’. The connections between the images and selected quotations sustain the idea so that it is mostly clear and reasoned.

For a more secure Merit, the student could sustain some ideas more convincingly by moving beyond illustration. There could be further consideration of the abstract, rather than just the physical, in lines such as ‘it’s the soul that needs surgery’. Linking ideas about beauty to societal rather than individual concerns could sustain ideas more convincingly.

ESL Reading

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Award-winning Essays

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