Skip to main content


Leaving Certificate French Predictions 2018

● As with all subjects, it is impossible to accurately predict what styles of question and topics will come up on the French paper

● It is possible however, to study the past papers and establish the most common features, and to look at current affairs that may have influenced the examiner 
You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert French or French in 90 words opinion piece collection (€)
1. Paper structure
● The French written paper is divided into three sections - aural comprehension, reading comprehension and written comprehension 
● For the aural and reading comprehension sections, the best way to prepare is to listen to and read as much French as possible in the run-up to the exam, and get comfortable with question styles by doing past papers 
● The written comprehension section:  ○ In this section, there are four questions, each with a choice between a part (a) and a part (b)  ○ You must answer one of the parts of question one, and two others out of questions 2, 3 and 4 -…

Literary Genre - I'm Not Scared, Foster, Big Maggie for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

Using one comparative text that you have studied explain how the author uses literary techniques to create a compelling story.

There is a reason I tell people who aren't mad into English to steer away from Literary Genre. Below is a perfectly reasonable answer - but it still needs a lot of improvement. The author of the essay talked a lot about the dynamics of the plot and setting, she alluded to some other aspects, but she really didn't focus enough on techniques. What about imagery? Characterisation? Suspense? Dramatic scenes? Dialogue? Narration/playwright's remarks/soundtrack/camera angles? Literary Genre essays require a lot of technical stuff, so make sure you put it in. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€). 

The text that I have chosen for this question is "Foster." "Foster", written by Claire Keegan, is set in 1960s Ireland wherein a young girl is a “rescued” by the Kinsellas. She spends a glorious summer there, free from this penniless shackles of the home she hails from. I thoroughly enjoyed the novella. It is a sublime short story wherein the skilled hand of Claire Keegan uses literary techniques to her advantage in order to create a fantastically compelling story.

“Foster” is a very socially realistic story. It is set in 1960s Ireland. Events happening in the real world such as the hunger strikes and “children starving in Africa” are relevant to the young girl’s life. This helps the reader to set the scene in “Foster.” We realise what life was like at this time, as subtle references drag us back to the time of the story and to the character’s world. It is also pleasing that the quaint town of the story, Gorey, is a real one. All of these factors add up to make “Foster“ a fantastically compelling story. It is a story bounded in truth, exciting and real.

Our young girl is the main character of the story. From the outset of the story, this girl is quiet yet strong, a product of her upbringing. Though we never learn her name, she is a fascinating and memorable character: her silent strength and her awe of this new world of the Kinsellas entertains the reader. I particularly enjoyed reading about her amazement at being given a £5 note by John Kinsella. Her reaction was one of childish innocence and love: she bought something for herself and shared the rest. (What literary technique did the author illustrate here? I don't quite know - and therefore it will be hard to award any marks for this.)

That was not the only opportunity for John Kinsella to show kindness. He also donated money to the school roof despite having no children of his own. A friendly, charitable character, this man quickly winds his way into the reader’s heart. Readers are desperate to read on to find joy and a love that is usually missing from life today.

All in all, the ending of “Foster” is a miserable one. The young girl has been made return. Once again, John and Edna Kinsella have been left childless. The happy spell is broken as we return to sitting on a “car seat.” Once again, our protagonist’s quality of life will be left to deteriorate as her education is affected. Yet the resolution is not quite complete. Through my optimistic eyes, I can see an opportunity for the girl to return to the Kinsella’s home. I crave a second book and would be easily persuaded to read a sequel, such is the power of the ending of this book. (I think C. Keegan was not directly advocating for putting every disadvantaged girl in a new home, but rather that the girl will be better able to adjust to her harsh realities given everything she learnt with the Kinsellas and underlined what was missing in her native family. On that front, she has been successful.)

As I have explained, this book is fantastically compelling. The story itself is simply boring, the days repetitive, but it is Claire Keegan’s literary techniques that bring this story to life. The characters add wonder and awe. The chronological style of storytelling creates suspense and tension. Truly, “Foster” is a perfect name for this book. We learn of a young, fostered girl, but the reader also learns how to foster a beautiful book in one's mind. (I feel that this answer would have benefited from a few more technical terms.)

Use the other comparative texts that you have studied to explain how the author uses literary techniques to create a compelling story.

The two texts I have chosen for this question are “I’m Not Scared” and “Big Maggie.” “I’m Not Scared” shows director Gabriele Salvatore’s story of a young Michele growing up in Southern Italy in 1978, and finding a half-dead boy in a hole. It is a rescue tale of daring and bravery. “Big Maggie” is a tale of another world; Maggie is an inhabitant of the rural west of Ireland during the 1960s. Written by John B. Keane, It is a shocking tale of the complex figure who chooses to drive her children away.

Social realism is a huge literary technique in both the text I have chosen. Social realism is a dominant literary technique in both texts. During “I’m Not Scared“ it becomes apparent that a kidnapping has taken place. Kidnappings were rampant at this time in Southern Italy, particularly of rich people from the North, like Filippo. There was even the famous kidnapping of the Italian president, Aldo Moro during the same year in which the text is set. “Big Maggie” is also a text bounded by social realism. The setting is appropriately realistic: a small village shop, a graveyard and those who leave, leave for England.

Maggie is a shocking character, however, who chooses to defy the social constructs norms and etiquettes of her day. It can be said that Michele behaves in a similar fashion when he chooses to defy his father to protect his friend. Our two brave protagonists act in an individual manner when faced with difficulties ahead. However, despite being similar in this way, they contrast each other in other respects. Maggie is a hugely cynical individual, her actions are selfishly motivated. Michele, however, is still young, innocent and with more love to give. Without a second thought, he risks his life to save another. That is something Maggie would never do.

By and large, the endings of both “Big Maggie” and ”I’m not Scared” are hugely tragic. Maggie has driven all her children away and goes on to deliver a tragically devastating monologue which explains her past actions, and delves into a life full of sorrow. “I’m Not Scared” culminates in a child being shot by his father. However, “I’m Not Scared” has a silver lining which is not to be found in “Big Maggie.” “I’m Not Scared” at least ends with the rescue of Filippo and the capture of Sergio. Yet readers can relax after reading the conclusion of “Big Maggie.” Finally, Maggie’s actions make sense. This is a wonderful ending for any reader because although it’s over, it leaves food for thought.

All of these points expressed throughout this answer highlight the importance of literary techniques, and the effect they have on stories. Without tremendous characters like Maggie and the dramatic ending of “I’m Not Scared” (complete with helicopters and a blinding light) these stories would be nothing but shells, incomplete and boring. There would be nothing to entice the reader to read on and no satisfaction gained from completion. This proves to us just how important literary techniques are.

Literary Genre - I'm Not Scared, Foster, Big Maggie for Leaving Cert English

Popular Posts