Turnbull High School English Department Homework Booklet Reading for Understanding, Analysis & Evaluation Contents How to use this booklet 3 In Your Own Words

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Context: This is an extract from an article where the writer describes the harsh conditions of lifer in North Africa, and suggests what may be in store for the region and the wondering (nomadic) people who live there.

At the beginning of this month I was in a hellish yet beautiful place. I was making a programme for Radio 4 about one of the world’s most ancient trade routes.

    1. What is surprising about the writer’s word choice in the first sentence? (4)

(Use the example above to help you with the first part of the answer)

Context: This is an extract from an article about an activity called ‘parkour’. This involves running through cities and leaping over obstacles.

It is a Wednesday night in Glasgow. The high walls, rails and steps of Tottenrow Gardens look like some form of municipal amphitheatre under the reddening sky. Several athletic youths in T-shirts and jogging bottoms are moving quickly. They bound over rocks, sure-footed before leaping like cats into the air, their trainers

crunching into the gravel on landing. To move off again, they roll to their shoulders on the hard ground, springing up and pushing off in one fluid unbroken movement. You can still see the dust in the air as they pass on through the shadows, up and over a wall or vaulting a railing.

    1. With reference to two examples of the writer’s word choice from this paragraph, how does the writer show the agility of the “athletic youths”.(4)

Context: This is an extract from an article which describes an area of London.

It is a Saturday night in the northernmost fringes of London. Outside an anonymous building with blanked-out windows, a discarded plastic bag swirls in the breeze. At first glance it seems a miserable place.

    1. Show how the writer’s word choice helps convey the idea that the place is “miserable”. (4)

Context: This is an extract from a passage where the writer explores how superstition can both help and hinder us.

The superstitions and rituals so beloved by the world’s top tennis players are not confined to the court. They take even more bizarre twists when the poor dears get home after their matches. Goran Ivanisevic got it into his head if he won a match he had to repeat everything he did the previous day, such as eating the same food at

the same time in the same restaurant, talking to the same people and watching the same TV programmes. One year this meant that he had to watch Teletubbies every morning during his Wimbledon campaign. “Sometimes it got very boring,” he said.

    1. Show how the writer’s word choice helps convey his attitudes to the top tennis players in lines 2 and 3. (2)

Context: This extract is from an article about parents 30 years ago who did not have much money but loved their children and did what they could for them.

I remember only once going to a restaurant in the UK. It was a motorway café on the A303 road. My father told us, wincing as he looked at the laminated text, with its stomach churning pictograms, that we could have spag bol. from the children’s menu. We had a TV, but as we lived in Belgium there was nothing to watch apart from two American sitcoms, which came only once a week.

My parents were so hard up that when we went to England for holidays on the family farm my father would invariably book cheap overnight ferry crossings from the Continent. He would never shell out for a cabin, despite the 1am or 2 am departure slots. Instead, he would tell us to go to sleep in the back of the car, parked in the lower deck, where we would eventually pass out from the suffocation or diesel fumes.

    1. Show fully how examples of the writer’s use of word choice helps convey the idea of her family being “hard up”. (4)

By now most of us know that the version of reality on offer is one shaped by a multimillion-pound business with slick production values, and yet we willingly suspend our disbelief week after week, month after month, in the name of entertainment. Is there something lacking in our daily lives that draws us so inexorably into Cowell’s web?

    1. Comment on the writer’s use of word choice in the final sentence of this paragraph. (2)

I only began to grasp this a few months ago when I travelled to Xi’an to visit the First Emperor’s mind-boggling mausoleum, home to his Terracotta Army. “This is one of the people who changed the world,” said Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum. “There are terribly few historical figures whose achievements lasted like that. This is really one of the great, great figures in human history.”

    1. Show how any one feature of Neil MacGregor’s word choice makes it clear that he thinks of Qin as someone special. (2)

The missing part of the Cinderella story is what happens when she puts on the glass slipper and disappears into the palace. Rowling filled in the blanks, describing to Jeremy Paxman how she has to cope with begging letters, journalists rifling through her bins, photographers lurking on the beach, and strangers accosting her in the supermarket.

    1. Explain how the writer’s word choice these lines helps to show the negative effects of fame. (4)

Then, in March 1936, in chortling collaboration with editor R D Low, they cooked up characters for a new Fun Section in the Sunday Post; a wee lad with a bucket and a vast family in a tenement flat. The rest is history. Watkins had soon created Desperate Dan for the new Dandy, one of the most enduring characters in an endearingly ridiculous milieu. This lantern-jawed cow pie-loving cowboy lives in Cactusville, a town with very British telephone boxes and irrefutably Dundonian bobbies. The comic’s sister paper, The Beano, was launched the following year and later still, new post-war titles – The Beezer and The Topper – which would last till the 1990s, added still more to his workload.

    1. Referring closely to the text, show what the writer’s language reveals about Watkins’ relationship with R D Low, the editor of the Sunday Post. (4)

By 6pm, several 16-year-olds are standing in the magisterial surroundings of the Pavilion Suite at Orsett Hall. The unceasing rain hasn’t dampened the excitement as the teenagers flood in to inspect the formally laid tables, helium balloons and glittery fairy lights. The prevailing smell is of hairspray and scent. Friends who normally wear shapeless uniforms and dirty trainers are transformed into exotic peacocks in huge-skirted ballgowns, teetering heels and heavy makeup.

    1. Explain how the author uses contrasting word choice to emphasise how special the event is for the teenagers attending. (4)

Imagery questions test your ability to understand, analyse and - often - evaluate a piece of figurative language.

The formula below may help you to answer these types of questions.

  • ________________ is being compared to ___________________

  • This is effective because just as ‘________’ suggests _______________

  • So to __________________________________


It is only when a superstition begins to compromise our deeper goals and aspirations that we have moved along the spectrum of irrationality far enough to risk a diagnosis of obsessive compulsive disorder. Take Kolo Touré, the former Arsenal defender, who insists on being the last player to leave the dressing room after the half-time break. No real problem, you might think, except that when William Gallas, his team-mate, was injured and needed treatment at half-time during a match, Touré stayed in the dressing room until Gallas had been treated, forcing Arsenal to start the second half with only nine players.


Explain how effective you find the word “spectrum” (line 71) as an image or metaphor to illustrate people’s “irrationality”. 3


  • The variety of superstitions that exist is being compared to a spectrum

  • This is effective because just as a ‘spectrum’ suggests a wide range of colours

  • So to there are a wide range of different severities of superstitious beliefs


  • Quote and identify the type of image – not all questions will direct you to a specific example.

  • State what two things are being compared in the image

  • Explain why the image is effective (e.g: Just as... so to....)

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