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 explores some of the reasons for the popularity of reality TV shows such as “The X Factor”.

The X Factor, brainchild of Simon Cowell, is one of the most popular programmes on Saturday night. Each week, hundreds make the pilgrimage to be part of the live audience, and millions of us tune in to watch.

    1. Explain how effective you find the metaphor “pilgrimage”. (3)

Context: This extract is from an article where the writer took part in a triathlon.

Shivering in the grey light, I looked around at all the goose-bumped, goggleeyed and wet-suited competitors, a decidedly middle-aged bunch, with more women than

men. The sky was threatening, the wet pebbles beneath my feet cold to the touch.

Racers made last-minute adjustments to pacing watches and heart-rate monitors.

We were bunched up like a school of fish trapped in the shallows. I overheard murmured discussions about the various ghastly forms of protein one was supposed to have taken to enhance performance.

    1. Show how the writer’s imagery shows how many participants were involved. (3)

Context: This extract is from an article where the writer took part in a triathlon.

A half-mile into the run, the feeling returned to my legs, and I got my stride and my rhythm back. I also started to sense that wonderful endorphin high — that feeling of pleasant immunity to pain that comes at some point in a race. This is the addiction,

for me. Running fast makes you feel that you will not age, that you are free—briefly—

from the shackles of time. It’s a delusion, of course. But once you tap into this feeling,

you want to renew the experience. You want it again. It becomes habitual.

    1. Explain why the metaphor “free—briefly—from the shackles of time” effectively captures the writer’s attitude to ‘running fast’. (3)

Context: This extract is from an article where the writer took part in a triathlon.

We are also a nation of grimly-determined aerobic warriors. Endurance sports, some time ago, were democratised—they are no longer the preserve of a sporting elite. Each year seems to bring a bigger, newer, more exotic challenge, drawing a bigger pool of calculated risk-takers.

    1. Show how the writer’s imagery in the first line is effective. (3)

Context: This extract is from an article from the BBC news website.

The police had surrounded the house of Max Clifford, who has been accused of various assault claims against women stretching back as far as 1970s. His house is now his prison.

    1. Show how the writer’s imagery makes it clear that Max Clifford could not leave his home. (3)

One cold and wintry night not so long ago I disembarked from a bus in Ullapool. It was more than an hour late which meant that I had missed the last connection to Lochinver. When I pointed this out to the driver, he was as sympathetic as a traffic warden. The only balm he could offer was that ‘there are worse places to be stranded than Ullapool’.

    1. Comment on how the image ‘he was as sympathetic as a traffic warden’ is effective in illustrating the point that the writer is making about attitudes to tourists in Scotland. (3)

There is something irresistible about the smell of fried bacon. It’s one of the delights of being a meat-eater and possibly the single most common reason for why weak-willed vegetarians throw in the towel…. For others it’s the crisp slice of streaky bacon on the British breakfast plate, ready to be dipped into a runny yellow yolk or a dollop of baked beans. And our love affair shows no signs of fading. A recent poll of Britain’s best-loved 100 foods saw bacon at number one, beating chicken into second place and knocking chocolate into third…

    1. Choose one of the above images and explain fully why the image chosen is effective in expressing the writer’s meaning. (3)

But Rowling was also frank about unexpected aspects of her fame. She feels guilty about her wealth—denying she is worth the rumoured 280 million—and fears life after Harry, citing AA Milne, who could never get a book reviewed without Pooh and Tigger being mentioned.

Fame, as she implied, freezes you in one frame. Prince William will be lucky ever to take refuge in a proper job. David Beckham will always mean football, and Rowling, who

disclosed that she has tried her hand at a novel for adults, will have to write very

brilliantly to discard the label of a children’s writer

    1. Explain how effective you find the image “fame, as she implied, freezes you in one frame.” (3)


Tone questions are often seen as the most difficult to answer, but in reality they are fairly straightforward. The purpose of tone is to:

  • show the writer’s feelings or attitude about the topic

  • create a specific mood or atmosphere

  • makes use of word choice/imagery for effect

A first step to being able to answer them is knowing what some of the common examples of tone in close reading papers are, such as humourous, ironic (sarcastic) etc.




You had no right to do that!


Why would anyone in their right mind go there?


Go on, do it - you know you want to…


I spilled the tea and my best friend giggled. “You’re a genius,” she said.


If we continue to destroy the environment, the world will suffer.


Of course we should keep Personal Support going – it’s just so amazing.


School prepares you for the real world - which also sucks.


Please think twice before you do it, I’m begging you.


I am very, very, very angry with you – you are going to jail for 2 million years for the terrible theft of my last Malteser.


How could you do that to me? You’ve really let me down.


“Oh, you’re so bad to me – you’re such a tease,” she giggled.


“Wh-wh-what was that…that noise?”


Of course he gets his tea first, he always does. I’m always last – that’s just typical.


I wonder if there’s any way we could do things differently.


I can’t believe it! I just didn’t see it coming.


Cheryl Cole – the world’s leading expert in hair and make up.

In (very) general terms, look for word choice and think of the connotations - this should help you to get an idea of how a tone is being created.


So why, after a decade of phone-in rows, vote-rigging accusations and celebrity-hungry wannabes with bloated egos, does the British public remain so in love with reality television?


Explain fully how the writer successfully conveys a tone of disapproval 2


  • ‘celebrity-hungry’ suggests that the people are superficial and desperate for fame

  • ‘wannabes’ is clearly derogatory and dismissive, with connotations of being fake

  • The word choice used by the writer makes his disapproval clear.

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