Choosing Good Points
There are a number of things that you can all do to make sure that the points you are making in your essay are good ones. Follow the guidelines below to help you choose good main points for your plan.
1. Keep it general
A good essay should contain only 4 tor 6 main points (although these will be broken down into smaller sub-points). These points should be very high level so that you can then go into much more depth underneath them.
If one of your main points is the reference to the use of the word ‘Peacock’ in the text then you are going to run out of depth very quickly. There’s not much more you can say about it once you have talked about the colourful and vibrant connotations of the words.
Instead you need a more general main point to start with – something like the use of bright, vibrant, exotic description to create a lively, vivacious and fascinating impression of Pakistan or the fact that both ‘Disabled’ and ‘Out Out’ evoke a mood of poignant melancholy but that Disabled reflects on the shattered illusions of the young soldier while ‘Out Out’ reveals the brevity and fragility of all life. Underneath the first main point, for example, you could then go on to discuss the symbol of the peacock which suggests the beauty and elegance of Pakistan, the rich colours and textures of the clothes and the contrast with the awkward and ‘tilt’ing West.
2. Look for links
A good point will link up different points from throughout the two poems that are related in some way. However, a link doesn’t just have to join up things that do the same job – you can draw links between ideas are the complete opposite or each other. In point two above, for example, you can see that there is a similarity in that there is a sense of sadness created in both poems but the point then goes on to explore the important ways in which these poems are different.
3. Variety of evidence
Commenting on how the connotations of words, their sounds, their complexity, their length, etc, all work together to create a certain effect. See the examples on the ‘Making Points’ page.
4. Be interesting
You should attempt to make some interesting, unusual or unexpected points to make the examiner think that you’ve really understood what’s going on. This can be hard because these poems are fairly straightforward but you could try to comment on the lives of the poets or the historical context at the time of writing which may have influenced the poem.
Another good way of making interesting points is by pointing out how two things are superficially different but at a deeper level very similar. Or, alternatively, how things are superficially similar but at a deeper level very different.
One final way of making good points is to understand that some things can be interpreted in a number of ways and to point out the existence of and evidence for both interpretations. A really good candidate will sometimes go on to explain why the poet may have wanted to leave their poem ambiguous (i.e. with more than one meaning).