Unfamiliar Text
Writing a response using the
TEMPERS method
You have the resources in front of you
• Step One:
• Step Two:
• Step Three:
Panic
Try not to panic
Use a strategy to answer the
questions
Read the texts
• Read them slowly
– Make notes about ‘the speaker’
– Whose voice it is - what sex/nationality
– Is ‘the speaker’ also the author?
– Why are they writing about this subject?
Let’s do this for A Winter’s Tale
– Make notes about ‘the speaker’
• Brian Turner (see bottom of page)
– Whose voice it is - what sex/nationality
• A man, living in Central Otago, New Zealand
– Is ‘the speaker’ also the author?
• Yes
– Why are they writing about this subject?
• Living in the middle of the Otago winter he ponders the
things in life that really matter. He wants people to
know why he lives there and what he gets out of it.
Think about the techniques
• Question One
– Identify ONE language technique used in the first
three paragraphs of the text (lines 1.-17). Provide
an example, and show how it relates to the rest
of the text. This is a theme question!
Achieved
Merit
Excellence
Identifies and gives an example
of at least ONE valid language
technique from lines 1-17
AND Makes a relevant
comment about how the
technique relates to the rest of
the passage
Identifies and gives an example
of at least ONE valid language
technique from lines 1-17
AND Presents a valid and
detailed discussion of how the
technique relates to the rest of
the passage.
Identifies and gives an example
of at least ONE valid language
technique from lines 1-17
AND Presents an integrated
discussion of the links between
the technique(s) and the rest of
the passage.
There may be more than one
reference point, and the
discussion will provide more
detail
There will be a sense that
connections are being made
across the passage.
Look at the passage again
In Russian literature, stars in the sky have been described as resembling frost on the blade of
an axe. That image resounds, strikes me as entirely apt if you live in my part of the world, the
inland spaces of southern New Zealand.
It’s brisk, bristly and bright in the morning as I write this. There are no clouds anywhere over
Rough Ridge to the east or Blackstone Hill to the west. I imagine diamonds are glinting in the
snow on my back lawn. I’m sitting here in my possum socks. On my head I have on e of my
several woollen beanies. My stringy frame hosts a singlet, a very thick lined “bush shirt”, and
over that two woollen jerseys. For the time being I’ve lost my fingerless woollen mittens. In
my “main” room is a small woodburner that, years ago, I put in what was previously an utterly
useless, ineffectual fireplace.
I live in a tiny house, a shoebox, and have the unenviable distinction of hunkering in a very
small town, Oturehua (population 30-40), near the head of Ida Valley in the Maniototo region
of Central Otago. A few kilometres up the road are the snow-draped and pleated slopes of my
beloved Hawkdun range, and a bit further off, in the northwest, is that wonderful mammoth,
Mt St Bathans. In every direction are high hills and mountains, their shapes and hues often
replicated by the most wonderful and startling skyscapes I have seen anywhere.
The Question
• Identify ONE language technique used in the
first three paragraphs of the text (lines 1.-17).
Provide an example, and show how it relates
to the rest of the text.
- What are three of the most common techniques
‘known to man’?
- Simile, metaphor, alliteration…ok go find them!
Question 1
• Identify ONE language technique used in the
first three paragraphs of the text (lines 1.-17).
Provide an example, and show how it relates
to the rest of the text.
Technique
Example
Simile
“stars in the sky…resembling frost on the blade of an axe”
(line 1)
Alliteration
“it’s brisk, bristly and bright”
“startling skyscrapes”
Metaphor
“diamonds are glinting in the snow on my back lawn”
“my stringy frame”
Using the TEMPERS approach to write
the answer
The author Brian Turner uses the technique(s) of
____________ . An example of this(these) is
___________________________ . This relates
to the rest of the passage in that …
Excellence response
A language technique used by the author Brian
Turner in the first three paragraphs of the text is a
simile “stars in the sky…resembling frost on the
blade of an axe”. This relates to the rest of the
passage through its appreciation of the relationship
between man and nature but also the insignificance
of man in comparison to the size of nature. In this
passage, Turner is writing about why he enjoys
living in the harsh Otago winter, finding an
appreciation of the simple things in life and
discovering what is really important.
Question 2
What conclusion does the writer reach? What
techniques does he use in the last three
paragraphs to get his point across?
Let’s look at that passage
People have said bluntly that I must be mad living here, which reminds me of Yeats
reflecting on who might be “Mad as the mist and snow”. Well, half those I know
everywhere strike me as a bit mad, and I’m sure I’m no different. It’s the so-called
sane I fear most, those afflicted with rational-it is laved with vanity and self-delusion.
They're much in evidence among the “we-will-do-betters” who seldom do, and who
yap more loudly in the lead up to election times.
One feels of and in this land, challenged by it often, and a certain distaste for
pretension or affectation. In my case there’s a disinclination, too, to listen to too much
whinging about rights and entitlements driven by unreasonable or unsustainable
expectations. Living here helps emphasise the difference between needs and wants,
forces me to learn how to get by and make do.
Often I’m reminded of Thoreau who, for a time, learned from nature, set out “to live
deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life”. He was looking for ways to
apprehend the essence of what is less grasping, and hoped to become more
appreciative of simpler, respectful pleasures.
The Question
What conclusion does the writer reach? What
techniques does he use in the last three
paragraphs to get his point across?
The Question
What conclusion does the writer reach? What
techniques does he use in the last three
paragraphs to get his point across?
s
the use of the term technique would
suggest that you need to find AT LEAST
two!
What is the point?
What conclusion does the writer reach? What
techniques does he use in the last three paragraphs
to get his point across?
Possible points include…
• The hardships of winter, in a hostile and inhospitable
environment, remind the writer of what really matters
• ‘the basics’, like warmth and a sense of community, are what
is really important in life
• Self-reliance helps create a resilience of spirit
• Those who do not understand the writer’s choice of lifestyle
are themselves petty and delusional
• Winter is beautiful but harsh, and teaches us something
The Question
What conclusion does the writer reach? What
techniques does he use in the last three
paragraphs to get his point across?
Let’s go technique hunting!
Possible techniques
• Spoken language features/conversational
language
– Contractions, abbreviations, use of personal pronoun
(I’m, I)
– Colloquialisms (yap, whingeing)
• These allow a sense of personal
engagement/enjoyment
• Reinforce the writer’s view of the world
• Attempt to persuade others of the writer’s views
Possible techniques
• Diction
– Formal, almost legal language (apprehend,
entitlements, One)
• Makes the writer’s thoughts more forceful –
he has the weight of the law behind him
Possible techniques
• Quotations and allusions
• Yeats, Thoreau, Russian Literature (not in this
section however)
• Links to other literary figures show that the
writer wants to be taken as seriously as them
• Appeals to an educated audience – this is no
‘buffoon’ writing about ‘the simple things’
Possible techniques
• Neologisms/compound words
– (rational-it is, ‘we-will-do-betters’, self-delusion)
• Reinforces the reflective and/or the persuasive
effect
• Reinforces the mocking/sarcastic tone
Possible techniques
• Abstract nouns/negative emotive words
– Vanity, self-delusion, pretension, affectation
• Reinforces the mocking/sarcastic tone
• Encourages the reader to accept the writer’s
view of the world
Abstract Nouns name
ideas (justice, peace,
truth, vanity, selfdelusion) and cannot be
touched or seen
Excellence Example
• This was actually written by an AGGS student in the
examination in 2009
The writer incorporates quotes of highly esteemed persons
such as Yeats to reinforce his point. The writer reaches the
conclusion that life in a remote area with the surroundings
of nature and just the essentials is preferable to the lives of
those who critique this and who appear pretentious – “who
yap more loudly in the lead-up to election times”. The use
of quotes backs up his claims and emphasises that he is not
alone in his belief, others share such sentiments too. He
uses neologisms such as ‘rational-itis’ so that he can subtly
satirise those who deem themselves sane by using a word
that may come across as sounding slightly silly.
Question Three
What mood is established in lines 1-6 of the
poem? With reference to the text, explain the
effect that is created.
Techniques…
•
•
•
•
Diction/word choice
Imagery
Personification
Strong verbs/words of action
Examples of moods
• Negativity/hopelessness
– Shown by diction/word choice
• ‘fruitlessly’, ‘barren’, ‘cold’, ‘sunless’
– Negativity also reinforced by strong verbs/words
of action
• ‘fall’, ‘arms grip’, ‘haul’
Examples of moods
• Coldness and rejection
– Shown by diction/word choice
• ‘fruitlessly’, ‘barren’, ‘cold’, ‘sunless’
Examples of moods
• Sadness/melancholy
– Shown by images, e.g: the tree is barren; the
poet’s love will bear no fruit; autumn is linked to a
‘patient’
• References to ‘pain’ and ‘old pain’; ‘worn art’ suggests
tiredness/dejection
Examples of moods
• Familiarity and resignation
– Shown by personification of tree
• ‘once more in love’
– Also by diction
• ‘sad reminiscence’, ‘age-worn friends’, ‘rediscovering’
Examples of moods
• Nostalgia
– The tree is trying to hold onto the warmth of
autumn – remembering better times
The explanation of effects
• This may include:
• How the writer uses language to create a mood
• How the mood helps to tell us what the poet feels and
why
• How the writer uses the poem’s mood to create a
response in the reader about the poem’s subject
matter/theme/ideas
Examples of effects
• An idea is created by the mood
– The poet is pessimistic about the onset of
autumn: none of the benefits of the approach of
autumn (autumn harvest, colours of leaves, etc)
are contemplated
– Autumn is unwelcoming
– A realisation that halting or changing the passing
of the seasons is impossible – humankind is
powerless in the face of nature
– Realisation of the nature cycle of the seasons
Examples of effects
• Image(s), in the sense of visualisations, are
created by the mood
– Reminds the reader of a cold winter’s day
– Makes the reader think of the misery of old age
• An emotional reaction/response is inspired by
mood
– e.g. sympathy for poet/tree
An excellence example from 2009
AGGS student in exam
• It seems as if a mood of weariness and melancholy is established in
the first 6 lines of the poem with the use of words/phrases such as
‘age-worn friends’, ‘sunless world’, and ‘damp’. These all connote a
sense of the glum so that the poem in turn evokes an almost numb
sadness. The first line ‘Fruitlessly I fall once more in love’
incorporates a verbal pun in that there is imagery of a fall of fruit
from a tree and yet it is fruitlessly. Here bears a contradiction. It
incorporates the act of falling with the act of being in love so that
the mood within the poem is wary yet also a sort of friendly
amiableness. The use of figurative language such as the simile of
‘like a patient down the street’ and personification of ‘her cold arms
grip’ give the effect of connection between the reader and the tree
which is given human qualities. The abstract concept of love with
the concrete nouns following sort of gives the effect of
juxtaposition, yet also reinforce the human qualities the writer may
associate with the presence of the tree (such as companionship)
Question Five
• With reference to the last three lines of the
poem, explain the point the writer is making
about the onset of autumn.
Ideas may include
• The poet recognises his powerlessness in the fact of nature (I am nothing)
• The coldness/barrenness of autumn makes the poet feel like a
rejected/bereaved lover (retread the mashed grass that my first forays
made)
• The poet dreads the onset of winter (wish only to hide in the ignorance of
sleep)
• The poet feels bereft – there is no external force which cares about his life
(The awareness grows that I am nothing to her)
• The repeated personification of the tree (I am nothing to her) may suggest
tha the poet’s relationship with autumn may be a metaphor for a failed
relationship in his life
• The ‘ignorance of sleep’ may suggest that he wishes to depart life
• The ‘ignorance of sleep’ suggest a childlike perspective; sleep will make it
go away and he will not have to think about it in sleep
• The onset of autumn is predictable and cyclical (‘I retread the mashed
grass’ - just as he has done many times before)
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