Henry V – Structuring an Essay and a Paragraph

Your homework, due in on Tuesday, is an essay with the following title:

“In what ways can we draw comparison between the Olivier and Brannagh productions of Henry V?”

First of all, here is the Brannagh Prologue that we watched:

I’m afraid that I couldn’t find the Olivier version of the first scene on YouTube, but this bit is the next scene, and should give you something to refer to if needs be.

Read more after the break for essay technique and other pointers.

I’m not going to go into great depth her on the Introduction and conclusion – suffice to say that in the Introduction, you should introduce what you are going to talk about (some people even write their introduction after they have finished their essay…). The Conclusion should summarise the gist of your arguments, and bring it all together into one final point. What I am going to talk about here is how to construct the paragraphs in between. Some things to remember:

Each paragraph contains a single point. Got something new to say? Start a new paragraph!
Use the headings that we discussed to give you an idea of what to put in each paragraph. Your first might be on Setting, for example, and your second on Costume. Here’s the list that we talked about (you might have more!)

1 – Acting and speech – natural, realistic, modern?
2 – Staged, “actorly”, classical?
3 – Speech – expression and intonation.
4 – Setting, clothing and props
5 – Staging, and use of stage. Is there even a stage?
6 – Lighting.
7 – Overall Realism

OK, got all that? then here we go…

How to Construct a Paragraph

1 – Point

This is where you lay out your stall, and tell the examiner in no uncertain terms the point that you wish to make. An example in this essay might be, “Brannagh’s staging of the first scene is far more effective, from an audience’s point of view, than Olivier’s.”

2 – Example

Give an example, i.e. tell the reader what you have observed in both the productaions. This is very, very important – if you do not show evidence for your point, you will be in a lot of trouble. You may have the best point or idea in the world, but you’ll get a very low mark if you don’t back it up with some evidence. For the point above, you might like to say, “Branagh’s production is set on a modern sound stage, whereas Olivier’s is set in Shakespearean times, actually on the recreated stage of the Globe Theatre.”

3 – Explanation

Explain how your quotation backs up your point. Again, very important, as this will let the examiner understand your point of view, and give you marks accordingly. In our example above, you would explain why you think Brannagh’s stageing is more effective – perhaps you think that it resonates better with a modern audience? Perhaps you think that is more relevant to people today? Perhaps you just think it is more believable. Either way, make sure you explain your evidence.

4 – Link

Don’t worry about this one for the time being. It is a more advanced techniqure that we will come to at a later stage.

So there you go. A nicely constructed paragraph. Nowput your feet up, and have a nice cup of tea…

And remember – I want to see a plan!


~ by mrprestney on January 16, 2009.

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