Why is Construction of Meaning, Structure and Author’s Agenda Important in Analytical Texts?
Students studying VCE Years 11/12 Mainstream English must complete essays for assessment in SACs and the exam in AOS1 Reading & Creating Texts and Reading & Comparing Texts. In order to achieve a high mark for essays students need to interpret the texts analytically which includes understanding the implications of how the author constructs meaning and structure in a text and then explain what the author’s purpose or agenda was in writing the text. If you just write about the narrative only you are NOT answering the key criteria of AOS1.
Assessment Key Criteria for Analytical Essays in AOS1
Looking carefully at the Assessment Criteria for Analytical Essays you will find the following specifics that MUST be in your essays:
- Understanding of the text includes
- Provide context for text & introduce text with clear links to question
- Identify genre & discuss its elements
- Demonstrate knowledge of characters & relationships, themes & central ideas of text
- Interpretation of the text in response to the topic
- State your contention clearly providing relevant discussion on key elements of question
- Use quotes to support your ideas
- Consider how characters portray a specific theme or idea
- Explore the complexity of each character and their role in the text
- Discussion and analysis of the ways in which the author constructs meaning and expresses views and values
- Consider specific elements of the text, structure, different narrative voices
- Identify author purpose in creation of text and construction of a character
- Make use of qualifying language about author intent
- Use examples of symbols/motifs/style/form
- Discuss the role of language specific to text
- Use of evidence in response to the topic
- Discuss action of text in relation to settings, time text is written
- Consider different ways key ideas/themes are portrayed
- Consider religious values of characters and actions of characters in relation to central ideas
- Use relevant quotes as evidence to support discussion in a range ie. dialogue, themes, structure, characters
- Control of the features of an analytical essay and use of relevant metalanguage
- Use appropriate metalanguage to identify textual features
- Use topic sentences in paragraphs, structure the essay
- Refrain from using narrative but use analysis
- Refrain from using quotes to narrate
- Expressive, fluent and coherent writing
- Use a range of appropriate analytical verbs, connectives, sentence starters and structures for your discussion
- Avoid informal language
- Proof read carefully to eliminate spelling/grammatical/punctuation errors
HOW does the Author Construct Meaning and Structure in a Text?
When reading texts to construct meaning, readers increase their understanding by recognising the craftsmanship of the writing and the choices the author made to portray the topic in a certain way. Readers go beyond the literal [factual] meaning of the words to find significant and unstated meanings and authors rely on their reader’s ability to do so. The reader’s mind then pieces together evidence to make sense of the text as a whole.
Essentially the reader needs to find out in the texts how the author:
- Sees something: their views ie. his/her opinion, perspective, way of thinking, impression or observation.
- Thinks about something: their values ie. his/her principles, morals, ethics or standards.
- Ways the author uses to construct the text:
- type of text
- style of writing and language
- narrative structure and plot
- social and historical context
- characters and their relationships
- themes, issues and values in the text
- symbolism and imagery
WHY the Author Writes his Text is his/her Purpose or Agenda
Depending on the purpose, authors may choose all different sorts of writing formats, genres and vernacular [language]. There are 3 main categories of author’s purpose:
- To Persuade = the author’s goal is to convince the reader to agree with the author.
- To Inform = the author’s goal is to enlighten the reader about real world topics and provide facts on those topics.
- To Entertain = authors write to entertain with a goal of telling a story.
Also consider the Big Picture behind Why the author wrote his/her story.