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smash exploring how a writer presents the world differently!

What one question could help you to access the higher grade boundaries for Paper 2 and even Paper 1?

Here at, we’re always thinking about new ways to approach the way both fiction and non-fiction texts are explored.

And this week, whilst planning a lesson (on Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Foreign”, in fact) for one of my classes, I had an epiphany.

This epiphany was simple, and has subsequently changed the way I look at analysing a text.

Up until now, I’ve placed a lot of emphasis on using the Lang Lit exam criteria B phrase “How does the stylistic feature enable the author to shape meaning?” – a very important question when discussing a text, of course.

However, whilst exploring a couple of poetic devices used by Duffy, another question popped into my head (this is the epiphany moment) – and now this is a question I would consider to be more important when analysing writing features of any type:

How does the author’s use of a stylistic feature present the world differently?

Before delving into this question further, it’s important to clarify that this word differently is entirely subjective to the reader (i.e. you). 

We all experience things differently, so this word is really what you make of it (and this re-enforces why the literary experience is so amazing, because it is different for everyone).

I’d say that exploring this question will elevate any textual analysis, for the following reasons:

  • by exploring how a stylistic feature (for example, a metaphor) presents the world differently, an analysis will get to the heart of why a stylistic feature has been used by a writer – as ultimately, the writer wants to present the real world in a way that is different, otherwise the stylistic feature would not have been used in the first place. Consider an image, such as “she spoke in honeyed tones” (an example of synesthetic imagery) …how does this image present the world differently? We could say that:
  • the poet is presenting the act of speech differently, suggesting that there is a sweet quality to the way a person’s voice can sound
  • perhaps the writer is presenting the act of dialogue differently, suggesting that the way in which people converse can contain within it elements of nature (i.e. honey)
  • perhaps the writer is presenting the relationship and interaction of our senses differently, suggesting that both taste and hearing can be synthesised, we are assuming by the very act of love

…see – I got all that by looking at how the world is presented differently through the use of the stylistic feature!

Also, by exploring the way in which a stylistic feature presents the world differently, we are exploring both the reality of our world, and the imagined reality of the world created by the writer, through their use of a stylistic feature.

Imagine comparing the reality of hearing someone speak, to the unreality of “she spoke in honeyed tones”…by exploring the nature of both realities, you will really understand the rich significance of how stylistic features are used, and why they’ve been used. Such an analysis will demonstrate insight, imagination and creative perception (Level 7…here we come! ).

So give it a go by checking out the download below…the next time you’re exploring a stylistic feature (whether it’s a non-fiction text, novel, poem or anything else) consider the question How does the author’s use of a stylistic feature present the world differently? and see where this exploration takes you!

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