P2 Paragraphing

Previous activities have shown you how to prepare your Paper 2 works, select an exam question and write a thesis statement. How do you write your ideas coherently in structured, sensible paragraphs? This page presents a method for writing a comparative essay on an unseen question. It is not presented as a 'formula' for guaranteed success on your Paper 2. Rather it is a method that can be applied to different degrees of success, depending on the quality of your ideas.

  1. Study the first paragraph 1 and 2 below. They are taken from an essay on The Tempest  and Disgrace, which is explored in the previous mind mapping activity on thesis statements. The thesis statement of this analysis reads: "The works explore the theme of injustice through point-of-view, symbolism and motif. The authors show the importance of reconciliation and love as means of overcoming injustices. " What is the function of the sentences in bold, the sentences in italics, the underlined sentences and the sentences without formatting in paragraphs 1 and 2?

  2. In both Disgrace and The Tempest, the protagonists, David Lurie and Prospero, are powerful people who have become victims of some form of injustice. David Lurie, a white professor in South Africa, was fired from his university after having sex with a student. After he has ‘fallen from grace’ he moves to his daughter’s farm, where he becomes the victim of a violent attack which leaves him physically scarred. The black men who burn him also rape his daughter. Even though David and his daughter, Lucy, eventually learn the identity of the men, it seems impossible for them to be brought to justice because pressing charges could bring even more violence. Coetzee’s novel is told from third person point-of-view though it uses free indirect narration throughout the novel, telling readers his thoughts through a limited but omniscient narrator. This makes the reader somewhat sympathetic to him, despite that he is a perpetrator of injustice as well. While he refuses to say ‘sorry’ to the university, he eventually comes to accept that his new existence, in a post-colonial, post-Apartheid South Africa, means living modestly and working at an animal shelter. 

    In a somewhat similar but also very different way, the protagonist in The Tempest , Prospero, is both a victim of one injustice and the perpetrator of another. Prospero and his daughter Miranda are stranded on an island after being usurped and banished by his brother, Antonio.Even though they seem to be the victim of power hungry people, they too are guilty of stealing the power away from their island’s rightful owner, Caliban. Through dramatic asides and dialogue, the audience learns that Caliban feels bitter about being enslaved by Prospero and Miranda. Nevertheless, the audience does not sympathise with him, because he is crass and savage in his ways. The perspective of the play favours Prospero, who seems to have a God-given, colonial right to bark orders at his servants Caliban and Ariel. Unlike David Lurie, Prospero does not end up a lowly outcast. Instead he returns to his dukedom as the rightful heir, because his brother sees the error of his ways and Prospero forgives him.While reconciliation is the answer to injustices of the past in both literary works, The Tempest suggests that some leaders are above apologising. 

    Both The Tempest and Disgrace use symbolism to explore the theme of injustice and comment on the nature of power in their worlds. In Disgrace, dogs appear throughout the novel, representing servitude and low status. There are dogs on Lucy’s farm, which Petrus, her black farmhand, helps look after initially. In fact Petrus introduces himself to David as ‘the dog-man’, which suggests that he has a low status on the farm as well. Once the dogs are killed by the intruders, Petrus is relieved of his duties and acts more like an owner of the farm. He knows and protects the attackers, and he threatens to let them attack again, if he is not given land rights. Lucy agrees to marry Petrus for protection and her father is forced to accept there will be no justice. In fact, David Lurie becomes the new ‘dog-man’, as he volunteers at the animal shelter, putting dogs to sleep and disposing of their corpses. The symbol of the dog in Disgrace is Coetzee’s way of commenting on how the injustices of apartheid are starting to reverse, as white people concede power to black people. Dogs also symbolise David’s transition from detesting animals to loving them.  

    Symbols in The Tempest are used to a different end, as they point toward the coloniser’s rightful power to inflict injustice on others. Prospero’s books symbolise his power, which lies in his knowledge of magic. While his love for books, knowledge and magic are what cost him his dukedom before the start of the play, books also symbolise his power to regain his dukedom. After Prospero’s brother, Antonio, and his shipwrecked crew come to Prospero’s island, Caliban naively thinks he can guide Antonio to Prospero’s books, steal his books and regain control of the island. However, Prospero’s use of magic and command of Ariel, his fairy servant, allow him to see and know all that happens on his island, and so he sets a trap for his enemies and regains his control over his dukedom. While Prospero and David Lurie are both powerful men of knowledge, they end up in very different places. The symbol of the dog in Disgrace is very different from they symbol of Prospero’s books in The Tempest. Coetzee employs the symbolism of dogs in Disgrace to show how knowledge does not lead to an inherent right to rule. While the injustice that Prospero inflicts on Caliban seems rightful in the colonial context of this play, the injustice that David Lurie inflicts on young women does not go unchecked in post-apartheid South Africa. 

    Both The Tempest and Disgrace explore the theme of injustice and they comment on the nature of power through the motifs of sex and love. In both works men attempt to exert power over women through sex. David Lurie, a middle-aged man sleeps with a young prostitute frequently and takes advantage of his student, Melanie. David struggles to see the parallels between his daughter’s rape and his own sexual prowess on the university campus. Nevertheless, something gradually changes in him as he works at the animal shelter. He begins to have sex with Bev Shaw, who is his age and unattractive. He sees a kind of nobility in loving her, just as he sees nobility in taking care of the dogs. Sex, for David, changes from a being means of exerting power over women to a means of means of loving someone. If there is any justice for Lucy’s rape, it is that her father has stopped being a sexual predator. Through this motif of sex, Coetzee seems to comment on power relations in South Africa, suggesting that the injustices of apartheid can only be reconciled by if the white ruling-class is willing to change their ways and accept the changes that come their way. 

    Sex and love are motifs that can be found in The Tempest as well. Caliban tries to exert his power over Prospero by raping his daughter, Miranda. He regrets that his attempt was not successful, as he would have happily populated the island with little Calibans, as he says. Because Caliban behaves so savagely, Prospero feels entitled to take the island from him. He tries, in vain, to teach Caliban to be more civilised, but Caliban is a bad servant and not loyal to his master. In this colonial context, the audience senses that any Caliban deserves any injustice that Prospero inflicts on him. In contrast, the injustice that Antonio inflicted on his brother requires reconciliation. When Prospero discovers that his daughter has fallen in love with his enemy’s son, Ferdinand, it is easier to forgive his brother of any wrongdoings. The play ends with a moralistic soliloquy in which forgiveness is presented as the remedy for injustice. Similarly, David Lurie comes to realise this and drives to Melanie’s parents house to ask them for forgiveness for what he has done to their daughter. It is only through his love for dogs, Bev Shaw and his daughter, Lucy, that he realises that this step is necessary to right his wrongs and give Melanie’s parents some sense of justice. When this novel was written in 1999, only a few years after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, showing remorse and asking for forgiveness were easily identifiable themes for South Africans. In both literary works, love is depicted as a solution for solving injustice.

  3. Did you notice a pattern in paragraphs 1-2 and 3-4? How do the bold, italics, underlined and non-formatted sentences follow the PEEL structure (Point, Evidence, Evaluate, Link) outlined in the activity on Paper 1 paragraphing? How is Paper 2 different? Study the PEACE ACT method as outlined below, using the 5th and 6th body paragraphs from the Paper 2 essay on The Tempest and Disgrace.  

  4. Function Description Example
    Point  Topic sentence makes a point or claim about how a major stylistic feature contributes to purposes of both authors and answers the question. "Both The Tempest and Disgrace explore the theme of injustice and they comment on the nature of power through the motifs of sex and love. In both works men attempt to exert power over women through sex."
    Evidence from the  1st work Descriptions of scenes or paraphrasing of passages from the first work help to prove the point.  "David Lurie, a middle-aged man sleeps with a young prostitute frequently and takes advantage of his student, Melanie. "
    Analysis of evidence from the 1st work Evaluate and analyse the effects of author's style in achieving a particular purpose in the first work?  "David struggles to see the parallels between his daughter’s rape and his own sexual prowess on the university campus."
    Compare Compare how the evidence from the first work is relevant to the second work in relation to the question. "Sex and love are motifs that can be found in The Tempest as well."
    Evidence from the 2nd work Provide evidence from the second work which is relevant to the question. "Caliban tries to exert his power over Prospero by raping his daughter, Miranda. He regrets that his attempt was not successful, as he would have happily populated the island with little Calibans, as he says."
    Analysis of the 2nd work Analyse and evaluate the effects of the author's style in achieving a particular purpose in the second work . "In this colonial context, the audience senses that any Caliban deserves any injustice that Prospero inflicts on him. [...] The play ends with a moralistic soliloquy in which forgiveness is presented as the remedy for injustice."
    Compare Compare how the evidence from the second work is relevant to the first work in relation to the question. "Similarly, David Lurie comes to realise this and drives to Melanie’s parents house to ask them for forgiveness for what he has done to their daughter."
    Tie back to thesis statement  How do these comparisons relate back to the thesis statement and question? "In both literary works, love is depicted as a solution for solving injustice."
  5. Return to the mind map that was made in preparation for this essay on these two works. How does a mind map with this structure help you write a PEACE ACT essay? 

  6. What kinds of words are used frequently to indicate comparison throughout the essay? Make a list of comparison words and  

  7. Study the assessment criteria for Paper 2. How does the PEACE ACT method correspond to the assessment criteria?

  8. In the previous activities, you wrote your own thesis statement and a mind map on two literary works that you are studying. Now write a Paper 2 comparative essay on these two works, using the PEACE ACT method. You may have noticed that the model essay does not adhere to the method strictly, and multiple examples and analyses are give for each work. Write this mock Paper 2 essay without time constraints, using text-editing software. Mark your own essay, using the assessment criteria for Paper 2, and ask your teacher for feedback on your essay. Ask your teacher to share the best example essays (anonymously) with everyone in your class. 

Last modified: Tuesday, 21 January 2020, 10:08 AM