English & EAL

CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy - Part 2

Lisa Tran

August 14, 2019

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Previously, we discussed the role of the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy. Today, I want to show you this strategy in action, employed by a 50 English study scorer.

Here's one paragraph from her The Crucible and Year of Wonders essay. If you are not studying this text, don't worry, the advice below will still be relevant and helpful for you!

Humans are social creatures, and for the most part we live in communities that are structured hierarchically, with either one or multiple people at the ‘top’ in the position of leader. This leader may enjoy many both material and intangible benefits, as we see in Reverend Parris’ ardent declaration that he is ‘not used to…poverty’ and who ‘(preaches) nothin’ but golden candlesticks’. However, they are also key figures of the society that are heavily relied upon by people lower in the hierarchy to guide them through difficult times. It is this test of leadership that is explored thoroughly by both texts, as the communities of Salem and the plague village in Year of Wonders struggle to maintain a sense of unity under a cloud of suspicion and fear; in this situation the duty of a leader is to hold their community together when they cannot do it for themselves [1]. This is poorly accomplished in The Crucible, as the various religious leaders and experts are easily led by accusations of witchcraft and overwhelmingly choose to hang rather than forgive the accused, as we see in John Proctor’s observation that ‘common vengeance writes the law’. As a clear illustration of how leadership that benefits the people requires solid moral foundations, the analogous crisis of plague is dealt with very differently by Michael Mompellion in Year of Wonders [2]. An inspiring orator and figurehead of the Church, he uses his talent for speaking to confer his faith in God to the people, and even when most of his congregation is dying off, ‘new faces’ appear at his services. This demonstrates how leading people to see the good in one another rather than the evil can inspire greater faith in them, and instil in them the hope that they will survive the crisis that has befallen them instead of the fear that they will not [3].

Annotations and analysis

[1] Here, the student explores similarities between texts with minimal reliance on text-based evidence. This is important because it shows your examiner that you're steering away from a typical Text Response essay, where evidence-heavy paragraphs are necessary, to a Comparative discussion - one that focuses more on ideas explored by both texts.

[2] This transition tells us clearly that we’re ‘changing tack’ and switching over to talking about differences instead of similarities. Try to explore both in your paragraphs (adopting the integrated Comparative essay structure discussed in the How To Write a Killer Comparative ebook). How are the ways Text A and Text B deal with an issue similar? How are they different? Use the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy.

[3] The first and last sentences are totally devoid of text mentions; they’re intended to focus completely on the more ‘theoretical’ idea of the paragraph. Once again, this reiterates our first point ([1]) where your focus is on the ideas and themes of the texts, rather too close of a text analysis as done in Text Response.

If you're interested, How To Write a Killer Comparative ebook shows you the inner workings of my brain 💭- what I think when I see an essay topic, how I tackle it, and how I turn these thoughts into a high-scoring essay. The ebook includes:

- Learn the CONVERGENT and DIVERGENT strategy to write A+ essays

- Know different essay structures, including advanced paragraph structures

- Over 10+ popular VCE English texts included

- PLUS bonus high vs. low scoring essays, fully annotated so you know exactly what you need to do

Click here to access the FULL version now!

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