Skip to main content


Literary Genre in The Great Gatsby, All My Sons and I'm Not Scared for Leaving Cert Comparative #625Lab

"Authors can use various techniques to make settings real and engaging." #625Lab
The author took on the challenging literary genre question - and did so quite well! 
I have studied the novel 'The Great Gatsby' by F. Scott Fitzgerald, the play 'All my Sons' written by Arthur Miller, and the film 'I'm Not Scared' directed by Gabriele Salvatores. From studying these texts, it is obvious that the authors employ many literary and camera techniques to make their works real and engaging.

You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€)

The tool of narration is very powerful in making a story come to life and it is one that is used well in all three texts. 'The Great Gatsby' has the first-person narrator, Nick Carraway. He is an observer of the world but also a participant in it. We see everything as filtered through his account, and so this gives rise to the question of whether we can trust him or not. The use of a first-person narrat…

Leaving Cert English Comparative - Cultural Context - All My Sons, Foster, Juno

“Various social groups, both large and small, (such as family, friends, organisations or community) reflect the cultural context in texts.” 

Compare the extent to which one or more social groups reflect the cultural context in at least two texts on your comparative course. 

You may also like:

In my opinion, having a good idea as to what the cultural context of a text makes the narrative more interesting for one to read. (That's a very unimpressive, stock opening sentence. It needs to be rewritten. The opening sentence is super important, so make sure you put real thought into it.) It enhances our understanding of the world in which the texts are set. I have studied three different types of texts for my comparative study. These are the film "Juno" directed by Jason Reitman, the novel "Foster" written by Claire Keegan and the play "All My sons" written by Arthur Miller. (Lots of people forget the quotation marks around text titles and poems. This will lose you marks.) By exploring and analysing the texts, I discovered that there are several similarities as well as stark differences regarding family. I am going to compare and contrast how the family reflects the cultural context in all three texts.

In the play "All My Sons", we learn that family is understood as a nuclear unit consisting of a married heterosexual couple and their children. This concept of the nuclear family was accepted as the only definition of family in mid twentieth century America. It is clear to see that it is presented to us as an institution within society and has a very specific make-up. Any other kind of family that was not nuclear was rare and was greatly looked down upon from members of society. This is very different to the underlying of family seen in "Juno". One can see that family takes different forms. Juno's family is made up of her father Mac, her stepmother Brenda and her half-sister Liberty Bell. Despite the fact that her family is blended, they are very content. We also see a single adopted parent with an infant: Vanessea Loring adopts Juno's baby. A significant moment can be observed when Vanessa holds her baby son in the hospital and Bren tells her that she looks like "a new mom". This scene reminds me of the love that exists between people within a family unit. Different kinds of families were accepted by society. Juno is set in modern America. (This sentence should have been part of a comparison.) Likewise, in "Foster" we also come across a different kind of family. A young girl is sent away to spend the summer holidays in a relative's home. (Avoid retelling the story especially if you're not getting a comparison out of it.) Over time she becomes extremely close to Edna and John Kinsella and we see that the young girl thrives and grows as a person during her stay. It is evident that familial bonds are based on love rather than just biology. In 1981 in Ireland, families that were not nuclear were usually frowned upon and were not acceptable. It surprised me when the Kinsellas labelled themselves as "old forgeries". I think it's ironic in the way that across all three texts the nuclear families are unhappier that the others. The mindset that all families must be nuclear is typical of the time and is quite an interesting aspect that reflects the cultural context of the texts.

All My Sons, Foster, Juno Leaving Cert English Comparative Cultural Context

In "Juno", we see that her family demonstrates great love and they support each other even in times of hardship and difficulty. I personally think that support is crucial for a family. The main idea in "Juno" highlights that sometimes non-blood relatives can be more loving than your real family. An example of this is the strong relationship between Juno and her stepmother Brenda, it is one of genuine commitment and understanding. A key scene that conveys Brenda's support is when Juno announces that she is pregnant, Brenda's immediate response was to purchase "pre-natal vitamins". There is a stark contrast in relation to Juno's real mother who lives in Arizona and makes little effort to keep in contact with Juno. She sends her a cactus on Valentines day every year but that's all. Mac also shows immense support during Juno's pregnancy. He helps her with the adoption process and emotionally tells her that he will always be there to love and support her. Juno's parents go above and beyond in order to protect her, I find this very admirable. A similar situation is seen in "Foster". The relationship between Juno and Brenda is paralleled in Edna and the girl's relationship. Although Edna is not the girl's birth mother, she like Brenda has been a much better parental figure in comparison to her own parents. The girl becomes very comfortable with the Kinsellas and receives great care and attention. It is clear to see that the Kinsellas do an outstanding job in caring for the child. Another comparison can be made between John Kinsella and the girl's real father Dan who is an alcoholic and a gambler. He shows a lack of love towards his daughter and has a very distant relationship with her. We see that he doesn't even say goodbye to her when he drops her off: "why did he leave without a goodbye". This upsets the girl as usually a parent would say goodbye and give their child a hug, however this is not seen here. John, on the other hand, is more of a fatherly figure to the girl. He has several affectionate nicknames for her such as "petal" and "long legs". In "All My Sons", the "perfect American family" is desired by many, however, we soon learn that it doesn't exist. Beneath the surface, the Keller family is corrupt and unhappy. By looking at all the different families, we get a sense of how each family unit reflects the cultural context.

Leaving Cert English Comparative

In all three texts, we are presented with an interesting aspect that influences all the characters in each of these texts is that of money. (I think the author is trying to make the sentence sound more sophisticated, but just like the opening sentence it needs to be rewritten, e.g. All three texts emphasise the impact of a key aspect of cultural context: money. ) "All My Sons" is set in post war America, 1947, and it is evident that money is a primary concern for the people. It especially plays a major role for the Kellers. They believe that financial provision is equated with familial love, but it is ultimately inadequate. At the end of Act Two, Joe's son Chris discovers that his father is responsible for the death of twenty one airmen. Keller's response is shocking, he states that he did it for the business, "what could I do! I'm in business, a man in business; a hundred and twenty cracked, you're out of business". Joe fails to understand the gravity of the situation. He can't think beyond the business. In his mind, this is not selfish, in fact he says that he did it all for Chris: "Chris, I did it for you". However, Chris is horrified by his response and demands "is that as far as your mind can see, the business?" "All My Sons" presents us with a world in which families are synonymous with money. On the contrary, a different situation can be observed in "Juno". Although the McGuffs may not be rich in comparison to the Lorings, money doesn't necessarily equate with their happiness. In profound contrast to the Lorings, who have plenty of money, they are very unhappy and end up getting a divorce. The only thing Vanessa desperately desires is a child and money cannot solve this. In "Foster" is it clear to see that the girl's own family are plagued with financial difficulty. At this time there was huge hunger strikes in Ireland and it was difficult for large families. However, the Kinsellas, like Juno's family weren't wealthy, but they were free of financial pressure. By comparing and contrasting each family in terms of money, we learn that money definitely does not equate with love and happiness. Money is a huge aspect that reflects the cultural context of all three texts.

Another aspect of the cultural context that reflects the families of the texts is gender roles. (Once again, the author tried to engineer a sentence, but it came out upside down. Her writing is normally perfectly clear, but she seems thrown by the need to make these extra special opening sentences. Don't overthink it. Make sure that your writing makes sense to you. If it doesn't, then it certainly won't make sense to the examiner either. It should be: Another aspect of the family life that reflects the cultural context of the texts is gender roles.) All three texts reveal certain expectations for all the characters. In "All My Sons", it (what?) reflects the realities of mid twentieth century middle class as the breadwinners and the women as the homemakers. This is definitely the case for the Keller family. Kate tends to stay at home all the time doing typical domestic chores such as cleaning, cooking and washing. She has no role outside the home. She is defined and limited by her only designated role - "mother". Joe, like all other men of the time went out to work every day in order to earn money for the family. During that era, it was unheard of for women to work outside the home. Likewise, in "Foster" a similar situation can be seen. A similar situation can be seen in "Foster". Traditional gender roles are norm just like in "All My Sons". In the girl's family, the mother is left to look after the children as well as all the other household jobs with no help whatsoever from her husband. However, it is slightly different with the Kinsellas. Whilst they have their own roles to pursue, they offer to help each other from time to time. We see this when Edna takes over John's job of milking the cows as he is too busy to do so himself. This conveys that they respect each other's jobs and are willing to help if necessary. In direct contrast to this, in the contemporary text "Juno", we are presented with a world where there is equality between men and women. It is seen as the "norm". Gender roles are less defined compared to the other texts. Both Mac and Brenda work outside the home as well as raising the children and doing household jobs. They both make a contribution. By examining all the different gender roles, one can discover how family reflects the cultural context in an interesting way.

In conclusion, from studying the cultural context in all three texts, it is evident that there are many differences as well as similarities between them. I found out about how each family reflects the cultural context in different ways. I have learned that you can never overestimate the power of love within a family unit. It is extremely important in my opinion.

Popular Posts