3.1 Views and Voices

The aim of this part of the subject content is to allow students to learn about how and why views and perspectives of different kinds are shaped and used in narratives.

Students learn how language choices help to shape the representations of different worlds and perspectives in literary fiction. They apply their knowledge to the following:

  • prose fiction that constructs imaginary worlds
  • poetry that constructs a strong sense of personal perspective.

Methods of language analysis

In working on this part of the subject content, students will learn about methods of language analysis. They will be required to adopt a close language focus, identifying salient features of language used in the respective texts.

The following list is a guide to the areas of language analysis students are expected to be familiar with:

  • phonetics, phonology and prosodics – for example, the sounds of real speech and the patterns of sound symbolism (rhyme, alliteration, onomatopoeia) that some writers employ
  • lexis and semantics – for example, the connotations of words and phrases, metaphor and idiomatic language
  • grammar – for example, how the use of pronouns can shape narrative viewpoints
  • pragmatics – for example, the assumptions made about listeners/readers by the speaker’s/writer’s language choices
  • discourse – for example, the way different text types use particular features or routines, including aspects of visual design and layout.

Imagined Worlds

Students study one of four texts:

Mary ShelleyFrankenstein (1818)
Bram StokerDracula
Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid’s Tale
Alice SeboldThe Lovely Bones

In this part of the subject content, students explore the imagined worlds of these texts which are characterised by unusual narratives, narrators and events. Students also consider key aspects of the texts which place them in particular contexts of production and reception. Students analyse the language choices made by writers in order to study the following:

  • point of view
  • characterisation
  • presentation of time and space/place
  • narrative structure.

Poetic Voices

Students study poems from one of four poets within the AQA Poetic Voices Anthology:

  • John Donne
  • Robert Browning
  • Carol Ann Duffy
  • Seamus Heaney.

The poems prescribed for study for each poet (and included in the AQA Anthology) are as follows.

Poet Poems
John Donne Air and Angels
The Anniversary
The Apparition
The Canonization
The Flea
The Good Morrow
Woman's Constancy
Elegy: To His Mistress Going to Bed
A Jet Ring Sent
The Relic
The Sun Rising
The Triple Fool
Twicknam Garden
A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning
Elegy: His Picture
Robert Browning My Last Duchess
The Lost Leader
The Laboratory
Johannes Agricola in Meditation
Porphyria's Lover
Home Thoughts, From Abroad
Meeting at Night
Parting at Morning
'De Gustibus–'
Carol Ann Duffy (selected from Mean Time) The Captain of the 1964 Top of the Form Team
Before You Were Mine
First Love
The Biographer
Stafford Afternoons
The Cliché Kid
Small Female Skull
Never Go Back
Mean Time
Seamus Heaney (selected from New Selected Poems 1966-1987) Digging
Mid-Term Break
Night Drive
The Otter
Death of a Naturalist
Personal Helicon
The Tollund Man
Strange Fruit

The Skunk

This part of the subject content is concerned with the nature and function of poetic voice in the telling of events and the presentation of people. In studying the role of language in the construction of perspective, students explore and analyse:

  • the presentation of time: understanding the past, reviewing past experiences, the manipulation of time
  • the importance of place: locations and memories, the ways in which these are captured in voice(s), and their effect on individuals
  • how people and their relationships are realised through point of view, attitude, specific registers, physical descriptions, speech and thought
  • the presentation of events through the poet’s selection of material, the use of narrative frames and other poetic techniques.