Baking Up an Essay – Analyse This Part 4

I’m going through a phase of wondering whether we’ve got hung up on the paragraph as the unit in an analytical response, as if every paragraph needs the same internal parts.

Writing an analytical response to literature should be more like baking a moist fruitcake than a dozen identical cup cakes displayed on a cake stand. There are ingredients which need to be evident during the response but not in every mouthful.

I’ve written about this previously here and here when I looked at the barriers to students crafting an analytical response and here when I looked at some potential faults in PEE.

Below, I’ve merely listed the potential ingredients of this kind of writing. In coming posts, I’d like to explore how we might support students in writing a really tasty essay.

In Part 2 of this sequence, I outlined that not all GCSE questions require every one of these ingredients as the responses expected are more like essay-lets than full essays. However, over time, students need to learn how to manipulate and handle each of these parts separately as well as blend these parts together. I’d be really grateful for further suggestions or amendments if you’d like to offer them.

  • An introduction
  • A sequence of points (sometimes referred to as topic sentences) which are relevant to and address the question
  • Contextualisation linked to the task and text. As explained here, this could be ideas, perspectives or relevant historical, political, cultural and social events
  • Evidence – the manipulation of relevant quotations
  • Exploration of the impact of the language on the reader/audience in a way that is relevant to the question
  • Evidence – references to aspects of structure or form which are relevant to the question
  • Exploration of the relevant impact of form or structure on the reader/audience.
  • Evaluation of how far the writer has impacted on the reader/audience
  • Exploring links, similarities and differences between texts which relate to the task.
  • A conclusion


  1. Sandra · December 15, 2017

    I really enjoyed the image of the moist fruitcake and fully agree that this is what we are aiming for. A lot of students like the scaffolding provided by PEE(L) paragraph structures, and I find it useful as one way to talk about effective academic writing.


  2. Pingback: It’s Rude Not To Point – Analyse This Part 5 | English Remnant World

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