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Brendan Kennelly for Leaving Cert English: Begin

"Begin" by Brendan KennellyYou may also like: 2019 Guide to Leaving Cert English. Full notes on Brendan Kennelly will be made available to everyone who has the 2019 guide, free of charge, as soon as they are ready.

Summary: a philosophical reflection on starting something new again and again communicated through the description of a morning walk across the Grand Canal in Dublin.

Style features:
anaphora (1) (highlighted in bold) adds a sense of determination as does the repetition of the word “begin” throughout the poemenjambment highlights the never ending need to begin again imperative tone, “begin again” is an encouraging command to never give up alliteration e.g. “dying in dark / determination” enhances the imageryreference to familiar places, “Pembroke Road” near the Aviva Stadium in Dublin 4, make the poem more accessibleimagery appeals to multiple senses: “summoning birds”, “sight of the light”, “roar of morning traffic”, “crying birds in the sudden rain”, “branches…

Leaving Cert English Comparative - General Vision and Viewpoint - The Fault in Our Stars, Children of Men and 1984 #625Lab

“Significant events in texts and the impact they have on readers often help to clarify the general vision and viewpoint of those texts”

This is a very good essay from a Leaving Cert student. It's published under our #625Lab section that reviews the strengths and weaknesses of students' essays.

If you are looking for model H1 essays on General Vision and Viewpoint, here you go:


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The general vision and viewpoint is shaped by the reader’s feeling of either optimism or pessimism in reading the text. It is the view of life that emerges in the reader’s interpretation interception of the text, and is therefore shaped by each individual reader. During my comparative course, I have studied "The Fault in Our Stars" written by John Green, "Children of Men" directed by Alfonso Cauron, and “1984” written by George Orwell. The general vision and viewpoint of each of these texts correlate and diverge in several interesting ways, with feelings of both optimism and pessimism throughout. 

Winston Smith in “1984” has his life fully controlled by "The Inner Party". Everywhere is monitored by Big Brother with telescreens. “Big Brother is watching you” is placed on posters, scattered around the main city of Oceania. (Retelling the story. How do you say what you need to say and not retell the story? Simply make it clear that you are using these facts to suggest that it is a bleak setting.) Winston feels lonely and isolated, with no individuality. From the beginning, “1984” has a pessimistic setting. Similarly, "The Fault in Our Stars" has a pessimistic setting. Hazel Grace is a cancer sufferer, but still has a humorous side. “There is only one thing in this world worse than biting it from cancer when you’re sixteen, and that’s having a kid who bites it from cancer.” Hazel is mocking her illness and therefore adds a sense of optimism. 

Comparative - General Vision and Viewpoint - The Fault in Our Stars, Children of Men and 1984


Theo Faron in "Children of Men" is divorced and lives in an environment of riots and government disaster. He hates his job, as seen in the film, when Theo uses the excuse of baby Diego’s death to leave early. This, just like in “1984”, creates a pessimistic setting. Down the line, Theo becomes reunited with ex-wife Julian. Theo’s attitude towards life changes drastically while with her. This is similar in “1984” when Winston meets Julia. Winston Smith has always felt a connection with Julia, so when she writes him a note saying "I love you", his life almost has a meaning. This significant event creates an optimistic point. This corresponds to Hazel Grace when she first meets the charming Augustus Waters in support group. They both connect instantly and Gus invites Hazel to his home. In all three texts, optimism develops when the central characters meet another who makes them have meaning in their dull, gloomy lives. 

Winston and Julia escape to the countryside together to have the freedom as individuals and to forget about "Big Brother". This contrasts with Hazel and Gus when they go to the local park to have a picnic. This corresponds to the first excursion to Jaspers house in "Children of Men". (An example of where the author will lose marks for Efficiency of Language: her writing here vaguely makes sense, but it's messy.) As Winston and Julia sneak away, they fulfil his sexual fantasies. While this to me is optimistic because Winston gets his wishes, it adds to the overall pessimistic side to the story. The fact that Winston must escape from everyday life to get happiness, shows how dark and depressing his reality is of living with constant monitoring. This is like "Children of Men" as Theo visits his dear friend Jasper. Jasper's house makes Theo forget about the riots of government failure and the messed up rate of infertility. Therefore, these two similar scenes show both pessimism and optimism in that both characters need to escape their dark lives. These contrast with "The Fault in Our Stars", as Gus and Hazel Grace go on a picnic, so that Augustus can share his surprise with her. Overall the significant event adds optimism to the storyline and creates excitement and positively. The three texts all have a key scene, where nothing else matters and all their thoughts are focused on this one moment. 

Unfortunately, these events soon conclude as "reality" starts to appear in every text. In "1984" Winston and Julia get caught by the thought police, whom takes them to get tortured. I felt sympathy towards them as their whole rebellion of sneaking around "The Party" is destroyed. Equally Hazel Grace's relapse seems to have changed everything. The trip to Amsterdam looks bleak. These two scenes create a pessimistic outlook and have a strong impact on readers by constructing such shallow, disheartening events. 

Children of Men Leaving Cert


Betrayal is a significant event to show the general vision or viewpoint. (It is indeed, but it would have been much better if we had some kind of warning shot that this transition is about to happen. The author lacks clarity in her structure. Every paragraph is a vaguely connected lump of text, but we can only guess what the author's main idea was. The author would lose marks for Coherence of Delivery here.) In "Children of Men", the fishes, a group that Julian trusted, betrayed both Theo and Julian. Not only did they kill Julian, but they later fool Theo and plot to kill him for Kee’s baby. This is like O’Brien’s betrayal in ‘1984’. As Winston and Julia had confronted him about the brotherhood, there was a clear trust and bond between them both. O’Brien quickly crushed this by stating he’s head torturer. Peter Van Houten in "The Fault in Our Stars" is very much like O’Brien. Peter was Hazel’s inspirational idol, who quickly let her down by being an obnoxious, drunken loser. Despite Peter's attitude, this significant event created both an optimistic and pessimistic atmosphere. (Why?) This contrasts with O’Brien and "The Fishes", as Peter didn’t change the moods of Hazel and Gus. 

"Children of Men" ends with a mixture of optimism and pessimism. Theo, despite obstacles like "The Fishes" and constant riots, manages to get Kee to safety, in exchange of taking his own life. From watching this scene, we notice Theo passing away with a smile on his face. This is like the ending of "The Fault in Our Stars", as Hazel-Grace is mourning over the loss of Augustus. John Green manages to make a bright finish by adding in a letter written by Augustus, which makes Hazel feel secure and loved. Both texts differ from "1984", as its ending is the completely pessimistic. As Winston becomes brainwashed by the party, he ends up betraying Julia. Betraying Julia was his biggest fear, but this resolution pessimistically tells us that the party conquers all.

All in all, my three comparative texts vary with the general vision and viewpoint. One event can change the whole outlook on a story which has clearly been stated in my essay.(If it has been clearly stated, it will speak for itself.) Despite completely different lifestyles, all central characters can relate to each other in some way or another. (Mess!) UsWe, as readers, can experience how the characters are feeling with the use of optimism and pessimism. Therefore, significant events can defiantly definitely change the overall outlook of a text.

Leaving Cert essays are marked using "PCLM"

Clarity of purpose:

- The message isn't really clear. The author doesn't list her main points in the intro nor does she explain them at the beginning of each respective paragraph. She always backed up her points with reference to the text. 
- What about purpose? She definitely tried to answer the question, but it feels like a virtually structureless selection points comparing both texts. The author definitely has the knowledge, but she didn't organise her thoughts clearly enough.

Coherence of Delivery

- The ideas aren't presented in a consistent manner. There is no real continuity or transitions. The conclusion feels like she cannot wait to finish writing the damn thing.

Efficiency of Language Use

- It's messy in parts as seen above. There is some logic - and I am sure the author is a bright and knowledgeable individual. However, she didn't organise her work clearly enough and this could sabotage her in the exam.

Accuracy of Mechanics

It has all been tidied up here, but remember that this counts for 10%!

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