General Vision and Viewpoint: What to compare

General Vision and Viewpoint: What to compare

What you need to compare: whether the texts you are studying reveal a bright or dark outlook on life.

Subject matter that reveals a bright/dark outlook – examine what the texts focus on; is it a commentary of some sort, does it symbolize something else – what is the story about? Consider if this reveals a bright/dark outlook on life – does the plot inspire hope, optimism, despair, pessimism etc.

Aspects of life texts focus on – this is not like the above; you are not simply focusing on what the texts are about again. You are examining parts of life that the texts centre on; is it a child leaving home, poverty etc, and whether these show the texts to have a bright/dark outlook on life. Does poverty inspire hope? Normally not; so if a text focuses on poverty its outlook is usually dark as it shows a struggle in life etc.

Characters sharing a vision of life – here you should be focusing on some sort of life which the characters aspire towards or possess, and whether this again gives the texts a bright/dark outlook on life, and why this is so. Are the characters forced to live certain lives and thus have no freedom in their decisions? This shows entrapment, which would not fill many with optimism, and thus a text showing this will usually have a dark outlook on life.

Impressions of closing scenes – here you should focus on whether the closing scenes give us a bleak/bright outlook of life. The closing scenes normally do one of two things – resolve the problems or obstacles set for characters in the text (bright outlook) or leave these unresolved (dark).

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About the Author

John Ryan

John has a Masters in Modern English Literature and is the founder of RyJoLC, an educational consultancy based in Dublin that provides English language and curriculum resources to educational institutions worldwide.
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