Few complaints with second English paper

THE appearance of poets Derek Mahon and Adrienne Rich on yesterday’s English higher level Paper II was welcomed in Kilkenny, where students had made preparations with those in mind.

There were few complaints about the overall difficulty of the second English exam, which was moved from the opening day of the Leaving Certificate in an attempt to ease the amount of writing faced by examinees on day one.

“There were a few surprises, but I kind of knew a lot of the stuff that was put on,” said Michael Slattery of St Kieran’s College.

He answered questions on Othello and how the play demonstrates the weakness of human judgment, preferring that topic to Wuthering Heights, The Remains of the Day, The Crucible, Death and Nightingales.

Michael also plumped for the poetry of Adrienne Rich, based on a quote from her: “the desire to be heard – that is the impulse behind writing poems, for me”.

Mark Kinsella opted for Adrienne Rich in the prescribed poetry section, rather than Philip Larkin, John Donne or Derek


“I was delighted with that,” he said.

“I’d prepared for Derek Mahon and Adrienne Rich so I was happy.”

He also enjoyed the Comparative Study question, on the theme or issue of a subject, and now hopes to gain a ‘C’ in English following the two papers.

The other option in the Comparative Study section was on the literary genre, with students asked to discuss “a good text will have moments of great emotional power” or “the creation of memorable characters is part of the art of good story-telling”.

Craig Eardley said the ordinary level paper was “okay” and plumped for Derek Mahon in poetry: “that was the one we had ready”.

The Comparative Study question referred to Brian Friel’s Philadelphia Here I Come and Jennifer Johnston’s How Many Miles to Babylon.

Tomorrow: Reviews of Leaving Certificate Maths (Paper I) and Geography; Junior Certificate Irish and Geography.


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