Self Assessment Instructions
Before beginning the self assessment activity proper, you need to complete
your own analysis. But to simplify the task, we want you to look in detail
at three language levels:
- Overall Interpretation
- Point of View
- Speech Presentation
Please follow the instructions below:
- Firstly, read through the following extract several times so that
your are familiar with it.
We suggest that you print the printer
friendly version of this page and do your work on the poem using
a word processor. Then you can copy and paste your analysis into the
self assessment mechanism. Even if you do decide to work directly on
the self-assessment page it will be important for you save your work
to a disk or print it off, so that you do not lose it.
[CONTEXT: This extract comes from almost the beginning of the
novel. Pip, the novel's main character and narrator, has just
introduced himself and has explained that his parents died when
he was a baby and he was brought up by his sister and her husband
(the Gargerys). In the extract below, while still a young boy,
he goes to visit his parents' grave for the first time and encounters
someone who we later discover is an escaped convict.]
(1) Ours was the marsh country, down by the river, within,
as the river wound, twenty miles of the sea. (2) My first most
vivid and broad impression of the identity of things, seems
to me to have been gained on a memorable raw afternoon towards
evening. (3) At such a time I found out for certain, that this
bleak place overgrown with nettles was the churchyard; and that
Philip Pirrip, late of this parish, and also Georgina, wife
of the above, were dead and buried; and that Alexander, Bartholomew,
Abraham, Tobias, and Roger, infant children of the aforesaid,
were also dead and buried; and that the dark flat wilderness
beyond the churchyard, intersected with dykes and mounds and
gates, with scattered cattle feeding on it, was the marshes;
and that the low leaden line beyond was the river; and that
the distant savage lair from which the wind was rushing was
the sea; and that the small bundle of shivers growing afraid
of it all and beginning to cry, was Pip.
(4) 'Hold your noise!' cried a terrible voice, as a man started
up from among the graves at the side of the church porch. (5)
'Keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat!'
(6) A fearful man, all in coarse grey, with a great iron on
his leg. (7) A man with no hat, and with broken shoes, and with
an old rag tied round his head. (8) A man who had been soaked
in water, and smothered in mud, and lamed by stones, and cut
by flints, and stung by nettles, and torn by briars; who limped,
and shivered, and glared and growled; and whose teeth chattered
in his head as he seized me by the chin.
(9) 'O! Don't cut my throat, sir,' I pleaded in terror. (10)
'Pray don't do it, sir.'
(11) 'Tell us your name!' said the man. (12) 'Quick!'
(13) 'Pip, sir'
(14) 'Once more,' said the man, staring at me. (15) 'Give it
(16) 'Pip. (17) Pip, sir.'
(18) 'Show us where you live,' said the man. (19) 'Pint out
(20) I pointed to where our village lay, on the flat in-shore
among the alder trees and pollards, a mile or more from the
(21) The man, after looking at me for a moment, turned me upside
down and emptied my pockets. (22) There was nothing in them
but a piece of bread. (23) When the church came to itself -
for he was so sudden and strong that he made it go head over
heels before me, and I saw the steeple under my feet - when
the church came to itself, I say, I was seated on a high tombstone,
trembling, while he ate the bread ravenously.
(24) 'You young dog,' said the man, licking his lips, 'what
fat cheeks you ha' got.'
(25) I believe they were fat, though I was at that time undersized,
for my years, and not strong.
(26) 'Darn Me if I couldn't eat 'em,' said the man, with a
threatening shake of his head, 'and if I han't half a mind to't!'
(27) I earnestly expressed my hope that he wouldn't, and held
tighter to the tombstone on which he had put me; partly to keep
myself upon it; partly, to keep my self from crying.
(Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, pp. 7-8)
- Now write down for your future reference a brief account of your
general understanding of the text, including its general topic, its
style, or any specific overall effects you think the author wanted to
produce. This intuitive statement then becomes the interpretative hypothesis
that your later analysis will relate to. You can then keep comparing
your analytical results to see how they relate to that hypothesis. You
may find that you need to alter your hypothesis to a greater or lesser
degree, depending upon what you find. Alternatively, you may find that
you dont need to alter your initial interpretative hypothesis
very much, if at all. But you should find that your analysis will help
to explain your interpretation in more detail and greater depth.
- If you were doing a complete stylistic analysis from scratch, your
would need to look carefully and systematically at the sorts of linguistic
features we have discussed on the course, at each linguistic level.
You should also refer to relevant checksheets from the course and from
the textbook in order to make sure that you don't miss anything significant.
- Now, having completed the analytical tasks, go back to your original
comments from (2) above. Has your understanding of the text been affected
in any way (e.g. changed, deepened, etc.)? If so, write down how. This
will help you to understand the benefit of doing stylistic analysis.
- When you have completed the above tasks, you should write up a finished
version. It is important that you structure your analysis by dividing
it into sections. Start off with your own general interpretation of
the text. Then proceed to the analysis proper, and structure it according
to the three levels indicated above, linking your analysis at each stage
back to your initial, general interpretation.
- Save your work to a floppy, so that you can copy and paste your analysis
into the self-assessment exercise.
- You're now ready to (i) compare your analysis with responses from
other students, (ii) check out the level that you are achieving, and
(iii) see what improvements you can make.