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Cultural Context - I'm Not Scared, The Great Gatsby, All My Sons for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

“The world of a text, and how it affects the behaviour of central characters, can influence a reader’s response to the events that take place”.With the Comparative, you will end up covering the same points in many essays - but your angle really matters. The essay below tries really hard to fit a Literary Genre take onto a Cultural Context title. This greatly sabotages the all-important P of PCLM. Also, it's better to paraphrase than to misquote. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 
#625Lab (a) Discuss the extent to which this statement applies to at least one central character in one of the texts on your comparative course. Support your answer with reference to the text.
In light of the above statement, the film “I’m Not Scared” by Gabriel Salvatores contains central characters that are corrupt and immoral because of the world they live in. The world of the text is revealed through many aspects which I will discuss below. These aspects affected the cha…

History Predictions 2018 (Later Modern) for Leaving Cert

The Later Modern History course for the Leaving Cert is very broad, with a maximum of 12 possible topics to cover, each with multiple sub topics. Often, this intimidates students and makes it difficult to know where to start when it comes to revision. 

It is possible however, by examining past papers, and the key points in the textbooks, to narrow down your topics of study. It is important to note that while these predictions are based on the past papers, nothing is set in stone and any attempts to shorten the course carry some risk. You may also like H1 History Notes for Leaving Cert 2018 and 2019 (€).

Contents of the LC history paper

Every year, the general contents of the paper are the same. There will always be: 
Section 1: The Document question, this year relating to Government, Economy and Society in Ireland 1949-1989 
All parts must be answered 

Section 2: Ireland, containing 4 questions each on 
  • Ireland and the Union, 1815 – 1870 
  • Movements for political and social reform, 1870 – 1914 
  • The pursuit of sovereignty and the impact of partition, 1912 – 1949 
  • The Irish diaspora, 1840 – 1966 
  • Politics and society in Northern Ireland, 1949 – 1993 
Because Government, Economy and Society in Ireland 1949-1989 is the Document topic, questions relating to it will not appear in this section. You must answer one question from one topic. 

Section 3: Europe and the Wider World, containing 4 questions each on 
  • Nationalism and state formation in Europe, 1815 – 1871 
  • Nation States and international tensions, 1871 – 1920 
  • Dictatorship and democracy in Europe, 1920 – 1945 
  • Division and realignment in Europe, 1945 – 1992 
  • European retreat from empire and the aftermath, 1945 – 1990 
  • The United States and the world, 1945 – 1989 
You must answer 2 questions in this section: one from each of 2 topics. Most teachers will pick one topic from Section 2, and two topics from Section 3 to study in addition to the document topic, so the course is already significantly narrower. 

LC History Document

The first question you will encounter is the Document question. As this is the first year that this particular topic has come up as a document topic, there is no way to narrow down the revision area. It is possible that any one of the three subjects could come up. These are: 
  • The First programme for Economic Expansion, 1958 – 1963 
  • Impact of EEC on Fisheries 
  • Impact of RTÉ, 1962 – 1972 
This section is worth 100 marks, that’s one quarter of the total. If you learn the three case studies inside out, along with a bit of contextual/ background information, it will definitely be answerable.

Know your perspectives

An easy way to narrow down the history course is to only focus on two out of the three perspectives for each topic. Every topic is broken up into three perspectives: 

  • Society and Economy 
  • Politics and Administration 
  • Religion, Culture and Science 

As per the official course syllabus, these perspectives are as follows:

(Topics in bold are those that are most common on exam papers)

Society and Economy
Politics and Administration
Religion, Culture, Science
Ireland and the Union
The Irish countryside, 1815; economic crisis, 1815-1850; the Famine; the post-Famine economy; emigration; education; impact of the railways; industrial development in Belfast
Administrative and political structures under the Act of Union. O’Connell – the campaigns for Emancipation and Repeal, achievements; the Tithe War; the Poor Law; Young Ireland. Government responses to Famine. Electoral reform; sectarianism in politics; Fenianism; Liberal reforms.
Developments in the creation of cultural and religious identities; the creative arts; developments in science and technology
Movements for political and social reform
Land agitation and land reform. Unionisation of the working classes. The Co-operative Movement. Industrial development in Belfast: the shipyards. Educational reforms: schools and universities.
The Home Rule movement: origins; development; leadership – Butt, Parnell, Redmond. The Suffrage movement. The first Sinn Féin party. The Irish Volunteers. Unionism and the Ulster Question.
The GAA Cultural revivals: the Gaelic League, the Anglo-Irish Literary Revival. The consolidation of Catholic identity
The pursuit of sovereignty and the impact of partition
Impact of partition on economy and society; impact of world economic crisis; from free trade to protectionism; impact of World War II
The Home Rule Bill, 1912-1914. The impact of World War I; the 1916 Rising; the rise of the second Sinn Féin party; the 1918 election; the War of Independence; Partition;Treaty and Civil War. State building and the consolidation of democracy; from Free State to Republic. Northern Ireland – the Unionist Party in power. The impact of World War II, North and South. Anglo-Irish relations.
State and culture, North and South: language, religion and education; promotion of cultural identity
The Irish Diaspora
The main trends in Irish emigration by origin, destination and type of emigrant; their occupations and where they settled in the country of immigration: pre-1845; the Famine decade, 1845-1855; 1855-1914; 1920-1966. Increased restriction and regulation of emigration after 1920.
Anti-Irish sentiment in both US and Britain in the 19th century; Irish participation in politics in the USA and in Britain; the Molly Maguires; Irish nationalism as an international force from the Famine to independence; the anti-partition campaign; Ulster Unionist efforts to lobby for international support among Ulster emigrants.
Role of Catholic Church and GAA in sustaining a sense of Irishness among emigrants; Irish missionaries in Africa and Asia. Role of Protestant churches in fostering an Ulster Scottish identity. The Orange Order in Canada and Australia. The creation of Irish images through film and music. Links between Ireland and the wider Irish community through tourism and heritage. The impact of John F. Kennedy
Politics and society in Northern Ireland
Impact of Welfare State: education, health, housing. Social and economic developments prior to 1969. Impact of the “Troubles”: (a) the economy; (b) society – education, health, housing.
From Brookeborough to O’Neill; the Civil Rights movement; emergence of the Provisional IRA; the fall of Stormont; Direct Rule; Republican and Loyalist terrorism; Sunningdale and power-sharing; the Anglo-Irish Agreement, 1985. The Republic – responses to the “Troubles”. The Downing Street Declaration, 1993.
Religious affiliation and cultural identity; ecumenism; cultural responses to the “Troubles”.

As there are four questions for each topic, it is highly likely that at least one question from each perspective will come up. As you only have to answer one question under any one topic heading, it is possible to only pick two of these perspectives in each topic to study. 

Know your case studies

Another way to narrow down the course is to only study the case studies, as highlighted in the standard course textbooks. The case studies are highlighted in order to make obvious the most important parts of the topic, and are therefore very likely to come up. The regularity at which these case studies appear on the papers can also be indicative of larger areas that may come up. For example, the frequency of questions relating to the elections of 1885 and 1886 would suggest that Home Rule is a generally popular topic among the SEC.

The case studies are as follows: 

Ireland and the Union, 1815 – 1870 
  • Private responses to the Famine, 1845 – 1849 (2017, 2015, 2012) 
  • The campaign for Catholic Emancipation, 1823 – 1829 (2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • The Synod of Thurles 1850 and the Romanisation of the Catholic Church (2015, 2014, 2013) 
Movements for political and social reform, 1870-1914 
  • The elections of 1885 and 1886: issues and outcomes (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • Dublin 1913 – Strike and lockout (2016, 2014, 2013) 
  • The GAA to 1891 (2017, 2015, 2013, 2012) 
The pursuit of sovereignty and the impact of partition, 1912-1949 
  • The Treaty negotiations, October – December 1921 (2017, 2016, 2013, 2012) 
  • Belfast during World War II (2012) 
  • The Eucharistic Congress, 1932 (2017, 2012) 
The Irish Diaspora, 1840 – 1966 
  • Grosse Isle (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • De Valera in America, June 1919 – December 1920 (2016) 
  • The Holy Ghost Mission to Nigeria, 1945 – 1966 (2017, 2016, 2013) 
Politics and society in Northern Ireland, 1949-1993 
  • The Sunningdale Agreement and the power-sharing executive, 1973 – 1974 (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • The Coleraine University controversy (2016, 2013, 2012) 
  • The Apprentice Boys of Derry (2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
Nationalism and state formation in Europe, 1815-1871 
  • The 1848 Revolution in Germany (2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • Robert Owen’s model village at New Lanark (2016, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • Haussmann’s Paris (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013) 
Nation states and international tensions, 1871-1920 
  • The naval policy of Wilhelm II (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2012) 
  • Women in the workforce during World War I (2017, 2014, 2012) 
  • The invention and early history of the motor car (2017, 2015, 2013) 
Dictatorship and democracy in Europe, 1920 – 1945 
  • Stalin’s Show Trials (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • The Jarrow March, October 1936 (2015, 2014, 2013) 
  • The Nuremberg Rallies (This usually features as an aspect of Hitler’s domestic policies) 
Division and realignment in Europe, 1945-1992 
  • The Hungarian Uprising, 1956 (2016, 2014, 2013) 
  • The Oil Crisis, 1973 (2016, 2015, 2012) 
  • The Second Vatican Council (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
European retreat from empire and the aftermath, 1945-1990 
  • British withdrawal from India, 1945 – 1947 (2017, 2015, 2014) 
  • The secession of Katanga, 1960 – 1965 (2017, 2016, 2015, 2014) 
  • Race relations in France in the 1980s (2016, 2015) 
The United States and the world, 1945 – 1989 
  • The Montgomery bus Boycott, 1956 (2017, 2015, 2013, 2012) 
  • Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam, 1963 – 1968 (2016, 2014, 2013, 2012) 
  • The Moon Landing, 1969 (2016, 2015, 2014, 2012) 
** It is very important, as with the Document topic case studies, to have some contextual or background information. These case studies rarely come up independent of related topics. ** 

Question style

It is important in looking at the past papers that you take notice of the question style usually employed for different topics. For example, when referring to Lyndon B. Johnson and Vietnam, the question commonly asks about his strengths and weaknesses as a president. The same can be said of many of the key figures, as well as whole regimes – another common phrasing of these questions is “How well did X deal with the obstacles/ difficulties that they faced?”. Other topics, such as the GAA and the cultural revival in Ireland, tend to come up in questions that ask you to talk about the impact of certain movements. When writing practice essays, keep these types of questions in mind, and when learning information, make notes of how you can use it to answer these strengths/weaknesses/impacts questions. 

Key figures and theme words

When revising, it is very important to look at the key figures and theme words as laid out in most standard textbooks. These are the words and people that will usually come up in the questions, and without a thorough understanding of their significance, questions will be difficult to answer properly. Similarly, the more of these words and names that you can use in your essays, the more likely it is that you will get a high mark. For example, in the case of the United States and the World topic, Lyndon Johnson is a key personality. He regularly comes up in questions regarding the Vietnam War, and without him, it is difficult to write an answer on this topic. Similarly, propaganda is one of the key concepts for Dictatorship and Democracy in Europe, and is an important feature of both Mussolini and Hitler’s domestic policies. 

Quotes and dates

As you study each topic, keep a list of short but useful quotes from some of the main figures and/or historians. Even if you have two or three general-use quotes for an essay or topic, they will come in handy. As for dates, try your best to learn the major years, and specific dates if possible. If you struggle with this however, don’t stress too much about it as they’re not the most important aspect of the exam. Just focus on having enough information to answer the question.

And finally, there is no point in learning off full essays as there is no guarantee that you will be able to use them. Writing practice essays is great for revision and building up speed, but learning essays word-for-word takes up valuable time and brain space. You are much better off deciding on some key areas to revise, and learning them well enough that you can handle any kind of question relating to it.

History Predictions 2018 (Later Modern) for Leaving Cert

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

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