Snowset Song – UPDATED!

Aye, That'll Be Snow, Then...

I HAVE RECEIVED A NUMBER OF EMAILS FROM PEOPLE WHO DO NOT HAVE ALL THEY NEED TO WRITE THE ESSAY. (Stupid snow!) I have every sympathy with you, so will extend the deadline to THIS Friday: 10th Dec. That will give you time to retrieve books/notes from lockers, and still do a decent job on the essay.


Hi class. I’m guessing you’ll all be well on your way to finishing your Sunset Song essay on a minor character, so thought I’d open up a post for you to ask questions and or seek advice as required.

I appreciate that the snow is playing havoc with everything, but if you’ve had time to work on your essay, I’m happy to accept them by email. If you want to send them to me, you can do so using: english[at]perthacademy[dot]net. Two things to remember, put my initials in the Subject line, and include YOUR INITIALS in the filename! (It gets difficult when I receive 30 essays all called ‘Sunset Song Essay.doc’)

The question you should be looking at is:

There are many methods by which a novelist can create a character.

For example, through a narrator, a novelist can give the reader information about:

  • what the character does
  • what the character says
  • what the character looks like
  • what others say about the character.

Choose one character from Sunset Song and show how the novelist gives the reader an insight into that character mainly through one of the above methods.

I had recommended that you think carefully about the character you choose. Many of you had mentioned using John Guthrie, and he would be a good choice.

As a general point, don’t forget that your essay will need to address/make mention of the main theme(s) of the novel, and I also advise you to bear the following ‘guidelines’ from the Critical Essay section of the final exam:

Answers to questions on prose fiction should address relevantly the central concern(s)/theme(s) of the text(s) and be supported by reference to appropriate techniques of prose fiction such as: characterisation, setting, key incident(s), narrative technique, symbolism, structure, climax, plot, atmosphere, dialogue, imagery . . .

You cannot possibly hope to cover all of these points in an essay — especially one which you need to write in only 45 minutes in the exam — so you need to be sure that the points you make are relevant, and help you address the task.

The mark of an able student is the ability to leave things out. You know lots about Sunset Song, but this doesn’t mean you need to try and say it all in your essay. Make sure your points are relevant and logical… and remember P.E.E.R.

  • P = Point: What point are you trying to make. Introduce it and ensure the reader understands what you are trying to say;
  • E = Evidence: Use quotations that you believe illustrate or support the point you are trying to make;
  • E = Explain: Explain how the quotation supports your point;
  • R = Relevance: Make sure the point and/or quotation are actually relevant – and especially, they must be relevant to the task.

Most of you have encountered P.E.E.R. before, but if you’re not sure, feel free to post a question in the comments.

So, to sum up… you are being asked to:

  1. Choose a character from Sunset Song;
  2. Choose ONE aspect of how L.G. Gibbon creates that character;
  3. Find examples to illustrate the aspect you have chosen;
  4. Acknowledge that the character has been created by Gibbon to allow him to further the themes of his novel.

As a final point, Gibbon wants the reader to think positively about the things that are important to him (the land/diffusionism/socialism/etc). Any characters, no matter how ‘negative’ they may appear, will serve to advance Gibbon’s views/themes and so you should remember this as you write your essay.

As ever… leave any questions in the comments!


5 thoughts on “Snowset Song – UPDATED!

  1. No worries. I’ve got jotters and books spread between here and the school myself. Not helped by being unable to move the car so I’ve had to use the bus to go to and from the school… and that means I can’t carry very much.

  2. Yes please to Page numbers! Two (obvious) reasons:
    They allow me to check where your quotations come from, and they are a quick way to see if you have covered the whole novel.

    Don’t forget to check any you use are Relevant!

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