Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vancouver High School English Tutor & Vancouver University English Tutor

Vancouver High School English Tutor & Vancouver University English Tutor


British Council Certified IELTS Instructor
SAT Expert
Published Writer

Please call 778-triple9-7028 or email me with details of your needs. Thanks!

Each sample essay and analysis was written by my students years ago. If you need guidance, just contact me and we'll make an appointment to meet in Vancouver, Burnaby or Richmond. Skype is also available:

1. Shakespeare gender roles
Shakespeare introduces characters whose gender roles have reversed, and today, over 400 years later, females have become more independent, assertive, and powerful, reflecting the positive view of such a change in the play.

In Shakespeare’s time, women had little independence. In fact, they relied on men for survival. For example, many women were not allowed to work, they could not choose who they wanted to marry, and their wealth belonged to their husbands. However, in Belle, Dido is not afraid to think and act independently. She speaks back to Lady Elizabeth Murray, her adoptive mother, when she is told not to dine with guests. Furthermore,...

2. A sense of place
John Vaillant’s “The Golden Spruce” shows how humans decimate native cultures and the world’s forest. It also discusses the ownership of place, boundaries, the value of trees and humanity’s relationship with nature. In particular, Grand Hadwin, an expert logger-turned-activist, “butcher[ed], this magnificent old plant,” the Golden Spruce, sacred to the Haida (Vaillant 135). Despite knowing the significance of the tree, he still chopped it off because of his hatred towards MacMillan Blooded and...

3. Architecture and nationalism 
Globalization influences urban society more than ever and creates unprecedented social and political issues. The National Stadium built for the 2008 Beijing Olympics is both a product of globalization and a pride of China. In “Architecture and Nation Building In the Age of Globalization,” by Xufei Ren, and “Concept and Fake,” by Ai Weiwei, both scholars discuss from different perspectives and tones the various hurdles in the construction of the stadium, including the sociopolitical and cultural effects of the National Building of Beijing. Even though the two articles relate to the same project,...

4. Apartheid
At the beginning of the colonial period, South Africa’s politics and economics were heavily dependent on slavery, subjugation, and segregation. While black people lived under oppressive conditions, ... However, the concept of apartheid also relied on effective politics and economics to preserve a delicate balance between domination and subordination and to prevent rebellion. South Africa experienced a long history of segregation, but growing local and international support for equality and civil liberties eventually contributed to the formal end of apartheid and...

5. Compare and contrast a newborn and an elderly person
Another similarity between the two different age groups is that they are both physically weak and have uncontrollable body movements. For instance, newborns relieve themselves whenever they want. They don’t know how to use the toilet. As a result, they must wear diapers all the time. Likewise, seniors require...

6. What caused World War I
World War One (July 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918) can be attributed to long-term conflicts between countries in Europe, and the tension that grew related to politics, economy, military, imperialism, territorial disputes, and the fall of the Ottoman empire. However, it was the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria by Gavrilo Princip, a Yugoslav nationalist of Serbian descent and a supporter of the Black Hand, that triggered World War One. Many countries, including Russia, France, Great Britain, and Belgium, were involved due to subsequent diplomatic conflicts, such as Germany’s refusal to follow Britain’s demand that the German army withdraw from Belgium before August 4, 1914. As a British dominion, Canada was under the UK parliament and was obligated to join the war.  

7. Cigarettes and warning labels
Rose Cipollone was addicted to smoking, and after she was diagnosed with lung cancer, she sued Liggett Group, which was required to pay $400,000 in compensation (PBS website). She won the case because she was able to draw a link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer. However, as the dangers of smoking become more obvious to the general public, tobacco companies should not be obligated to educate consumers.

8. Globalization 
For many years after World War Two the international tensions and superpower rivalry of the Cold War disguised and diverted attention from important economic forces that were transforming capitalism and leading to what some observers in the 1990s began to describe as “globalization.” Assess the strength of this claim by examining both the nature and global manifestations of Cold War rivalry and the economic forces that transformed global capitalism in the decades since the Second World War. 

9. Cosmetic surgery
As if this weren’t enough, the media makes us feel inadequate about ourselves. However, while things like the environment and our surroundings are worth altering for the better, changing our physical appearances comes with many pitfalls.

10. Delay of gratification

Moreover, the research program drew a link between self-imposed delay of gratification and a wide variety of long-term developmental outcomes, including aggression, mental health, academic performance, and overall competence. Mischel et al. posited that demonstration of self-control and self-control techniques in preschoolers could reflect cognitive and social ability later in adolescence. 

11. Whistleblowers

Although whistleblowers betray their employers and often break privacy agreements, they have important information that educates the public and applies pressure on companies and governments to operate ethically.

12. Existentialism

Write a 150-200 word working definition of Existentialism. You may want to check other definitions, but be sure to cite any text from which you draw ideas for quotations. Be careful to avoid superficial assumptions in this definition.

13. Fahrenheit 911 

The film examines the connections between the US President George Bush, Saudi interests, his direct connection with the Taliban, invasions in Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, American oil interests, media bias, the Patriot Act, weapons of mass destruction, and the many absurdities that those in power impose on their fellow citizens. The film’s release took place in 2004 while Bush was still in power. 

14. FDA needs more funding
Therefore, people depend on the government, such as Food and Drug Administration (FDA), to assess the quality of food that its people consume. The threat of foodborne illnesses, infectious diseases of livestock, and genetically modified food requires that FDA increase the budget in order to effectively protect the health of the public.   

15. Givers

There are certainly many important factors that directly contribute to achieving personal and professional success. However, this paper will use Adam Grant’s definition of a “giver” in Give and Take and suggest that the giver gains success through a conscious and active strategy of communication, collaboration, influence, self-reflection, and evaluation.

16. Publishing

Boris Kachka’s essay was written five years ago, and now, with information about how the book industry has evolved, we can analyze the accuracy of his claims. Furthermore, with knowledge of this industry’s history, marketing strategies, and business concepts, I find that some of Kachka’s claims are true but others are false and exaggerated. 

17. Publishing

Morgan Entrekin says, “A publisher can only do so much. A book’s fate is ultimately in the hands of gods.” That is, book sales are completely unpredictable, and there are no specific ways to manage the instability of working in a semi-chaotic book market. However, ...

18. Social learning

According to Albert Bandura’s Bobo dolls theory, he concluded that the children learn aggressive social behaviour through the process of observational learning. However, he also argued that a person’s behaviour does not change even when something is learned. Although this is true in many cases,

19. Corruption
How has the effect of corruptions impeded human development?

20. Symbol, Irony, and Social Context in Zhang Xiaogang’s Bloodline: Big Family No. 3

The ability for the green and red of the uniform to capture attention reflects the oppressive power of the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution. Furthermore, rather than the two parents as the centers of attention, they are mostly black and white and blend into the background, representing their loss of power in the family unit. As a result, ...

21. Father Hires In-Game “Hitmen” to Deter Son from Playing

The father used a very unconventional way to discourage his son from playing video games: hiring professional in-game assassins to kill off his son whenever he played. However, ...

22. Violence is Contagious
Researchers also suggest that violence can be transmitted through proximity, such as shared roads, and through social factors, such as video games. Given that violence behaves in similar ways to a disease, they suggest that, perhaps, in the future, a vaccine can be developed to fight its spread.    

23. IQ Tests
Malcolm Gladwell’s “None of the above” is a magazine article that offers a convincing argument that I.Q. tests do not accurately measure people’s intelligence. Gladwell uses studies from a prominent scholar, James Flynn, associates low I.Q. test scores with racial biases, and create vivid images to show that I.Q. tests are inconsistent and unreliable. Ultimately,...

24. Sense of place
Heidi Greco’s “It Comes in Colours” persuades us to look beyond the drab colours that seem to define Vancouver and recognize the variegated beauty and richness that hide beneath the surface. The writer implies that a perspective of colours can bring a dull atmosphere to life, and that, ironically, colours do not need to be more vivid than “shades of grey on grey.” The poem begins by conjuring up such images as...

25. Whistleblower. Good or bad?
In recent years, incidents involving people known as whistleblowers, disclosing the secrets of organizations and governments, are becoming more and more widespread. Some people think that whistleblowers are their heroes. Cohan explains that whistleblowing “is the right thing to do… because it will enable regulators to root out bad behavior” (Cohan).

26. Compare and contrast films
Zhang Yimou’s The Story of Qiu Ju and Zhou Xiaowen’s Ermo are Chinese films that depict transformations of traditional women who live by the rules of patriarchal society to those who live by their individual beliefs and desires. The female protagonists both come from modest backgrounds and seem to...

27. Biofuels: Pros and Cons
Switching to new sources of energy too soon is certainly not the solution. A dramatic shift from food production to biofuel production has led to higher food prices, starvation, and even riots. As a result, some governments have placed bans on the export of grain in order to control prices and provide enough food for their own people. These problems show that...
28. Old versus Modern English
The English language has a history of around 1700 years, and it can be classified into three categories: Old English, Middle English, and Modern English. Old English, which began in 450AD, was a language based on Germanic dialects used by the Germanic tribes that invaded Britain. As time went on, Old English appropriated words from...
29. Orwell's Politics of Language
George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” is an essay that attempts to show a direct connection between language and politics. Orwell argues that lazy and imprecise language is becoming a growing problem leading to sloppy thinking and that politicians use this type of language to control others. He believes that...

30. Compare and contrast overpopulation
However, in 2010, Fred Pearce’s “The overpopulation myth” suggested that overpopulation is an exaggeration and that it is not actually happening. Similarly, Erle C. Ellis, an associate professor of environmental systems at the University of Maryland, wrote in a controversial New York Times article called “Overpopulation is Not the Problem” that this belief is a “profound misunderstanding of the ecology of human systems.” In response to this article, Alon Tal, a Stanford professor of conservation biology and author of “Overpopulation Is Still the Problem,” disagrees, calling overpopulation a cause of “a range of social maladies” (2013). Robert Walker, President of Population Institute, also attacks Ellis’s claims in his article “Overpopulation Is Not the Problem? Really?” 

31. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep

Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? uses the idea of empathy to distinguish humans from androids. That is, those who have empathy are considered human: “Empathy, evidently, existed only within the human community” (30). Throughout the novel, this concept seems to influence how the humans perceive and treat the androids. 

32. William Wilberforce

William Wilberforce’s story has inspired many people, including myself, to have confidence, courage, and commitment. With these “big idea,” I believe that I can graduate from nursing school, provide care and assistance to patients, and save lives of poor people in developing countries.

33. On the reserve
When Junior decides to study at a white school in Reardan, outside of the reservation, he confides in his best friend, Rowdy, telling him that he will transfer to Reardan. He then tries to persuade Rowdy to come with him by saying that the new place will be an adventure and bring new hope. However, not wanting Junior to leave and betray his people, Rowdy gets upset and tells Junior to stay. Junior explains that Reardan students are filled with hope, but rather than...

34. Summary

In this episode of The Absolutely True Diary of Part Time Indian, Mr. P, a white math teacher, is in Arnold’s home to talk about Arnold’s reason for throwing a textbook and hitting Mr. P in the face. Mr. P forgives Arnold and admits that, in the past, he and the other teachers tried to kill Indian culture by suppressing their art and heritage. Mr. P then apologizes for...

35. Financial aid in developing countries
Africa’s slow development has been attributed to local states’ poor governance (Glennie 56). Although providing financial aid to the poor people in Africa helps to combat health problems significantly increases their chance for building self-sufficient and successful communities, aid actually harms them when it provides assistance that does not promote education, personal responsibility, and taking initiative.

36. History

For instance, In Qin dynasty, Xiao He and Han Xin were government officials and best friends. Xiao He, however, used their friendship to win promotions and eventually become the prime minister in feudal China. Feeling threatened by Han Xin’s military power, Xiao He did not thank him, but instead lured him outside the city and killed him.  

37. Wal-mart in Japan

Both Katherine Ryder’s “How to crack Asian business culture” and Shelly Banjo’s “Wal-Mart Says Time Is Right for Japan” present American companies some advice on building successful companies in Asia. While Ryder’s article suggests that...

38. Industrial revolution

 In response to this problem, Russell Brand identifies several causes and solutions in his book Revolution. He believes that the main culprits are individualism, ignorance to injustice (243), adherence to tradition and dogma (185), and apathy towards making necessary social change (246). Without recognizing our own deficiencies, Brand believes that there is little chance for global change and socioeconomic equality. However, it is also true that without effective policies and regulations, behavioural change is often impossible, especially one on a global scale. 

39. Investigation of Hoist Brake Incident on Nanaimo site
Unfortunately, it was not until I received your memo that I learned the cause of the accident. I then examined the site’s administrative records and discovered that Katie Jacobs—a senior site manager who retired five months prior—was assigned to schedule crane maintenance every month. However, no records or memos show that this duty was delegated to any of the site managers.

40. Verify accounts

I just received a call from Sally. The Sherlock account for MARK International was not set up properly. She is worried that three other K and R accounts, specifically the Delmoy account, the Kingston account, and the Chomp account, may also face this issue. 

41. National Rail Corporation

After careful investigation, it seems that our booking agent placed the wrong order (Private Escape Package) and charged you for the Premier Escape package. We have already informed the employee and ensured that this type of mistake will not happen again.

42. Theme parks and PNE

“The Overall Theme Park Experience: A Visitor Satisfaction Tracking Study” was conducted by Gary L. Geissler, a professor of marketing at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. This research focuses on services marketing, specifically an American theme park. Data was collected through questionnaires and then analyzed through various scientific methods: stepwise linear multiple, principle component analysis, and...

43. Compare and contrast essay
Similarly, the narrator of “Boys and Girls” is told to focus on helping her mother with chores and not wander to the farm. As Virginia Woolf states in “A Room of One’s Own,” the creation of Judith Shakespeare emphasizes that no matter how talented a woman is, she could never reach the same success if she were a man. Memela argues that these concepts are passed from one generation to the next. 

44. A Nice Place to Visit analysis
The title implies “Toronto is A Nice Place to Visit,” but Baker decided not to complete the sentence because he wanted the reader to agree with his argument after reading it. By leaving the name of the city out of the title, Baker prevents readers from agreeing or disagreeing before his convincing examples of the differences between the cities are presented. 

45. Frankenstein analysis
Victor’s tragic story starts in college, when he develops an obsession with the origin of life while studying natural philosophy and chemistry. After two years, he digs up body parts from the cemetery, sews them together, runs electricity through the body, and brings it to life. Right away, he’s horrified and runs out of the lab. When he returns,...

46. Tragic hero
F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby centres on Gatsby, a protagonist who does not fit the conventional image of the tragic hero. He is neither noble, in that he is not of aristocratic origin, nor morally pure. However, it could be claimed that he holds the same position as a tragic hero, rising to a peak of success and then ending in ruin. 

47. The Great Gatsby analysis

In The Great Gatsby, written by F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tom Buchanan and Gatsby are characters that reveal the evils of capitalism and the falseness of the American Dream. With money, both seem to be able to fulfill their dreams. However, their desires to satisfy their passion emphasize their true weaknesses. Nonetheless, although both Tom and Gatsby are wealthy, reckless, and strong-willed, the differences...

48. Clean Well-lit Room analysis

49. Novel and Autism synthesis
The Curious Incident allows readers to look through a lens that is unfamiliar to ordinary people—those without autism. This perspective forces us to reexamine society’s notions of love and normal behavior. For example, Christopher tries to simplify his world by rejecting “bad” things such as the color yellow and strangers, but we simplify ours by doings things like talking. However, since Christopher’s life remains complicated, we assume that the writer believes that people’s lives cannot be simple if they have relationships with other...

50. Tragic hero

Yet at first glance, Christopher Boone, the protagonist in Mark Haddon’s “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time,” displays characteristics we would have never considered to define a hero. Upon closer inspection, however, we find that Christopher’s choices in dire circumstances parallel that of a more conventional hero, to the point where...

51. Synthesis essay
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and H.G. Well’s The Time Machine both centre on the relationship between humans and nature. In Frankenstein, Walton, the narrator, “preferred glory to every enticement that wealth placed in [his] path.” His glory comes from taking adventure and learning about nature. Similarly, Victor Frankenstein finds a way to challenge nature and create life. On the other hand, in The Time Machine, the protagonist builds a machine that takes him to the future, in the year 802,701AD. Through various symbols of...

52. Walton's letter
In the novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley reveals a theme that having mad curiosity will lead to dangerous knowledge, and pursuing this dangerous knowledge will, therefore, lead to suffering. In Walton’s letter, Shelley uses metaphor, symbol, and connotation to indicate how mystery and unfamiliarity can urge the growth of curiosity and how wild curiosity can...

53. Frustration analysis
From the title, “Frustration,” Isaac Asimov hints at an appeal to pathos. As a result, we expect to sympathize with a character that experiences annoyance and anger because of an inability to achieve something. Ironically, as Hargrove, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, fails to create a computer program for winning wars, he simply does not evoke pity, but rather shock and horror. Although the world no longer...

54. Conflict and theme in Gazebo
Raymond Carver’s “Gazebo” dramatizes the difficulty of making life-changing decisions through a conflict between two protagonists, Duane and Holly. The importance of decisions is reflected in the married couple’s failing relationship and the many ambiguities in the story.

55. King Lear analysis
These qualities motivate many of the characters’ behaviours, compromise their relationships, and drive the plot towards the tragic deaths of Regan, Goneril, Cordelia, and, finally, King Lear. In 1.1, Lear declares that Cornwall and Albany should have equal shares of the third of the kingdom that was supposed to be given to Cordelia. Through the use of diction and connotation in his declaration,...

56. Comparison of Pierce’s and Barthes’ Models of Semiotics
American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce introduced the science of signs and believed that the meaning of a sign depends on both the sign interpretation, which he referred to as the interpretant, and the subsequent response or action. He suggests that interpretation is an interactive process between language and thought. This concept of interpretation and the semiotics of images have been applied to visual analysis. Barthes’s model of semiotics effectively...

57. Photographic truth
Marita Sturken and Lisa Cartwright’s “The Myth of Photographic Truth” introduces Roland Barthes’s theories of the truth that a photograph can give to its viewer. Barthes argues that this medium “offers an unprecedented conjunction,” which, he believes, is the difference between an event in the past and the same event presented in the photo at a later time (Sturken and Cartwright 17). That is, as time progresses, the truth of a photograph...

58. Jade Peony: Make three connections with the real world (art, history, music, memory, Biblical allusion)
The Jade Peony shows how China’s history has a powerful way of controlling the behaviour of the characters, even when they have moved to Canada, a country with very different traditions. Poh-Poh seems to personify the traditionalism of Chinese culture, revealed by her treatment of Liang, the only female in the family. For example, before Liang performs her dance, Poh-Poh is reluctant to tie the ribbons on Liang’s tap-shoes, saying...

59. Novel analysis
Richard Wagamese’s Keeper’ N Me is a novel in which an aboriginal boy searches for his identity and future home while wandering in a lonely and confusing city. The writer creates a convincing protagonist, Raven, who goes through many challenges, and finally, a transition into adulthood. To help us understand the transformation, Wagamese uses a descriptive setting, strong imagery, and dramatic events. Through Raven’s experiences, we recognize...

60. Novel analysis
Morrie, in Mitch Albom’s Tuesday with Morrie, and, Barrie, from the movie Finding Neverland, are happy and optimistic characters who try to live their lives to the fullest. Barrie is married, but after he meets Sylvia, a widow, he spends a lot of time with her and her children. His decision costs him his marriage. However, he continues to find happiness. If Morrie were...

61. Nikki Rosa poem analysis
Nikki Giovanni’s “Nikki-Rosa” is a reflection poem recounting a female African American narrator’s significant moments that she and others of her race might share. Growing up as an African American, as suggested by the name—a combination of Rosa Parks and the writer’s first name—the narrator experiences mixed feelings of both happiness and pain due to racial discrimination. 

62. A Female’s Physical Sensations in the Aftermath of a Relationship in Anne Carson’s “The Glass Essay” analysis

63. Susan Glaspell’s Trifles: Condemnation of a Male-dominated Society Through Small Details
A critical aspect of the play is the daily life of all three married couples. Two couples, Mr. and Mrs. Hale and Mr. and Mrs. Peters, are introduced firsthand, while John and Minnie Wright’s relationship is introduced through Mrs. Hale’s and Mrs. Peters’s words and discoveries. The day-to-day activities and seemingly trifling details in their marriages may seem insignificant, but they form the basis on which...

64. Rules of the Game Essay
Amy Tan’s “Rules of the Game” is a short story in which the protagonist, Waverly, is the youngest daughter of a Chinese immigrant family. At the young age of nine, forced to “bite back [her] tongue,” Waverly faces challenges in the west and attempts to find her own voice (1423). The park where she engages in intense chess matches with Lau Po made it possible for Waverly to find her identity and rise in social standing. As she wins more chess matches, Waverley’s...
65. The Relationship between the Mother and the Daughter in Rules of the Game
66. Autism synthesis essay
Both Rain Main and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time indeed give us insights into the peculiarities of autism and how the disease affects the people around the autistic person. However, through differences in the points of view of both works,...

67. Film synthesis essay
The Story of Qiu Ju (1992) and Ermo (1994) are two Chinese films that portray traditional women who come of humble backgrounds, but nevertheless, undergo experiences that compel them to change their fates through their own efforts. The women must take regular journeys from their rural villages into towns, where they confront foreign concepts of government and economic policies. While reconciling...

68. Tableau
In this episode of “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian”, Mr. P, white math teacher, is in Arnold’s home to talk about Arnold’s reasons for throwing the geometry textbook. Mr. P forgives Arnold, tells him about the racism that destroys hope on the reservation, and apologizes. He also suggests that he study outside of the reservation to get a better education. The atmosphere is tense. Arnold is confused about Mr. P’s...

69. Raymond Carver essay
In Raymond Carver’s “So Much Water So Close To Home,” one of the main characters, Stuart, was involved in a murder during his fishing trip. In the beginning of the article, we find that he and his wife are unhappy with each other. Stuart’s wife, Claire, tries to get her husband’s attention by smashing dishes on the floor, but Stuart does not respond. Also, Stuart keeps repeating, saying...

70. The Fourth Man analysis
Dr. Dubose, a man of “academic and social honors,”(3) is the smartest on the raft. He “bribe[s] the night guard” (3)and makes all the arrangements of the prison escape. From these descriptions, we learn that he is crafty and deceptive. In addition, he comes from the upper class and believes that he is superior because he is more educated than the other two white men. His controlling personality and sheer arrogance can be seen in his possession of the water bottle and his racist view that Canaque “ is a very poor and wretched example of a man,” “scarcely above the ape.” (8) These flaws are emphasized when the Canaque outsmarts him by drinking water in the bladder underneath the raft. 

71. Gastby's Kiss
F. Scott Fitzgerald uses vivid images and metaphors to describe Gatsby’s first kiss with Daisy. The first group of words emphasizes Gatsby’s hope (“white with moonlight”) to change his fate (“stars”). However, his hope is weak because his fate depends on Daisy, who might not love him back (“her perishable breath”). The second group of words suggests a possibility of achieving love (“mysterious excitement” and “unutterable visions”) and a position in the upper class (“a secret place above the trees” and “the pap of life”). By describing...

72. The Outsider
Susan Eloise Hinton’s The Outsiders is a novel that examines the injustices dividing society. Through first-person point of view, Ponyboy, the protagonist, tells his story of living in the lower class and his struggles in the gang warfare between the Socs and the Greasers. An important theme of The Outsiders is that wealth and age predetermine our susceptibility to injustice, and our perception of injustice, which may otherwise lead to self-destruction, encourages us to seek others for belonging, and ultimately, for survival. 

73. Reflection Essay
The comical image of a frustrated golfer slamming his putter on the green is familiar to even the most casual sports fans. Unfortunately, I’ve been that player—constrained by fear and anger from performing poorly in tournaments. Denise Chong’s The Concubine’s Children is a historical fiction in which May-Ying, a concubine, shares similar experiences. Through the imposition of unreasonable expectations, May-Ying, like myself, faces feelings of helplessness and little self-worth.

74. Miss Brill Sample essay
Katherine Mansfield’s “Miss Brill” is a short story that introduces a single woman who goes to a park every Sunday to eavesdrops on others’ conversations as a way to alleviate her loneliness. As a result, she creates an alternate reality to avoid the truth about her own depressing life. For example, she observes a group of people, commenting that they are “odd, silent, nearly all old… and… looked as though they'd just come from… cupboards.” Her comments about others later reveal how she really sees her own life: she lives in a “little dark room—her room like a cupboard.” In addition, Miss Brill wears a fur to the park,...

75. Sample essay analysis
Virginia Woolf’s “The Death of the Moth” is a short essay that describes a dying a moth in order to suggest that death is a natural process, while E.B. White’s “Once More to the Lake” is an essay that recounts a childhood memory between White and his father, and later, an experience between White and his son. Ultimately, both Woolf and White use their own experiences to show that...

Always make an outline:


What makes Grendel a monster? Why is Grendel considered a monster? What makes Beowulf a hero?

  1. allusion to Cain: “Cain’s clan, whom the Creator had outlawed” (line 106) [he’s a descendant of Cain, whose sinful act has resulted in a curse that is irretrievable. Grendel’s motive to murder can partly be attributed to an inborn hatred of joy and pleasure. (quote for evidence). His evil characteristic does not appear to be learned, but instead, present at birth. Grendel is “insensible to pain and human sorrows” “or incompetent of any mental feeling.” These descriptions suggest that Grendel cannot be cured of his flaws and as evil and as cursed as Cain. In other words, Grendel has been predestined by God to be a monster. outcast “waged his lonely war,/ inflicting constant cruelties on the people” (lines 164-165)
  2. connotations: “dwelt for a time/ in misery among the banished monsters” (lines 104-105); darkness: “Grendel’s powers of destruction were plain” (line 127) and “they wept to heaven/ and mourned under morning” (lines 128-129)
antagonist, society, against happiness (e.g. “the God-cursed brute was creating havoc” (line 120) + “dark death-shadow/ who lurked and swooped in the long nights” (line 160-161). 
3. represented chaos and disorder (“all were endangered; young and old/ were hunted down” (line 159) 


  1. brings stability and calmness to society: “calm the turmoil and terror” (line 282)
  2. noble background: “the mightiest man on earth,/ high-born and powerful” (lines 197-198); “undaunted courage” (line 572)  
  3. faces adversities and overcomes his weaknesses: hubris (“renounce/ sword and shelter of the broad shield” (line 436-437) and fight “hand-to-hand” (line 438); in preparation for his fight with Grendel’s mother, although he is “indifferent to death” (line 1443), he is not as reckless as before. Unlike his battle with Grendel, in which his choice to fight weaponless is an attempt to impress his foe, he now “don[s] his war-gear” and wields a “mighty, hand-forged, fine-webbed mail.”     

Oxford TSA Sample Questions:

5. Some employers operate a three-shift system. This requires that, in any three-week period, an individual worker will have to work, for example, from 6 am to 2 pm in the first week, from 2 pm to 10 pm in the second week, and from 10 pm to 6 am in the third week. It becomes very difficult to establish any kind of routine of eating and drinking under such a system. People working a three-shift system report a severe decline in their appetite, especially during the night-shift when they would normally be asleep. Therefore anyone about to begin working shifts like this can expect to lose weight.

Which one of the following is an underlying assumption of the above argument?
A All shift workers have to work during the night.
B Employees tend to dislike working shifts.
C People who feel less hungry generally eat less food.
D Shift work often pays better than working days only.
E Canteen facilities are not always available to the night shift.

The answer is C. The assumption is that employees of the three-shift system will experience a “decline in their appetite” and should therefore “expect to lose weight.” The assumed cause of the loss of weight is that the employees will “feel less hungry” and then “eat less food.” 

16. Ever since Uranus was discovered in 1781, astronomers have thought there might be more planets to be discovered in the Solar System. Because of small deviations in the orbits of Uranus and Neptune - deviations which would occur if another planet existed - some astronomers think there must be an undiscovered planet - Planet X. But the search for Planet X is futile, because these deviations would occur if the orbits had been wrongly predicted. Since Uranus and Neptune take many decades to circle the sun, astronomers must rely on old data in order to calculate their orbits. If this data is inaccurate, the calculated orbits are wrong. If the calculated orbits are wrong, Uranus and Neptune will deviate from them even if there is no Planet X.

Which of the following is the best statement of the flaw in the argument above?
A From the fact that the old data is inaccurate, it cannot be inferred that the calculated orbits are wrong.
B From the fact that the data about the orbits is old it cannot be inferred that it is inaccurate.
C From the fact that deviations occur which would occur if Planet X existed, it cannot be inferred that Planet X exists.
D From the fact that the calculated orbits are wrong, it cannot be inferred that Uranus and Neptune will deviate from them.
E From the fact that Planet X has not been discovered, it cannot be inferred that the search for it is futile.

The answer is B. The argument claims that “the search for Planet X is futile.” They base this certainty (“is futile”) on astronomers’ reliance on “old data,” which they call into question (“if this [old] data) is inaccurate. 

Analogy: The search for the suspect is futile. We have to rely on old lab equipment. If this old lab equipment is inaccurate, we will never find the suspect. (This argument infers that old lab equipment is inaccurate.)

33. There is a great concern about the threat to natural woodland in the world, especially the rain forests of tropical areas such as South America. People are often urged to re-cycle paper in order to save trees. However, the type of wood used for paper is softwood which is grown as a renewable crop in areas where there is no remaining natural woodland. Producing paper from these trees does not harm the natural environment any more than does the production of bread from wheat.

Which one of the following is a conclusion which can be drawn from the above passage?
A Re-cycling paper will not contribute directly to saving the world's natural woodland.
B There is no point in re-cycling paper for environmental reasons.
C There is no need to be concerned about a threat to the world's natural
D The environment is not threatened by the cultivation of softwood forests.
E There is no need to reduce the amount of paper being used in the modern world.

The answer is A. Paper is made from softwood, so re-cycling paper can safe softwood trees. We cannot assume that saving softwood trees will directly or indirectly impact the “threat to natural woodland.” Natural woodland may be affected by many other factors, such as urban sprawl.  

39. A painting in our local museum has just been shown, by using X-rays, to be recent and thus not the work of an old master as previously thought. This has caused its value to drop from millions to almost nothing. Yet no art experts were able to detect that it was not 'the real thing'. This means that the value of a painting is determined by who painted it rather than any intrinsic artistic merit.

Which of the following, if true, would most strengthen the above argument?
A The works of some forgers of art now sell for very large amounts of money.
B Many old masters changed their style during their career.
C In controlled tests, art experts have been shown to be very good at identifying the painters of works they have not seen before.
D Until its true origin was discovered, the painting in our museum was widely regarded as a masterpiece.
E The works of the old masters fetch higher prices than modern paintings.

The answer is D. The statement that a painting “was widely regarded as a masterpiece” “until its true origin was discovered” suggests that the merit of a painting is based on origin. This statement, therefore, supports that argument that “the value of a painting is determined by who painted it,” or, in other words, the origin.

There is a great concern about the threat to natural woodland in the world, especially the rain forests of tropical areas such as South America. People are often urged to re-cycle paper in order to save trees. However, the type of wood used for paper is softwood which is grown as a renewable crop in areas where there is no remaining natural woodland. Producing paper from these trees does not harm the natural environment any more than does the production of bread from wheat.
Which one of the following is a conclusion which can be drawn from the above passage?
A Re-cycling paper will not contribute directly to saving the world's natural woodland.
B There is no point in re-cycling paper for environmental reasons.
C There is no need to be concerned about a threat to the world's natural
D The environment is not threatened by the cultivation of softwood forests.

E There is no need to reduce the amount of paper being used in the modern world.

1. David Arnatson's "A Girl's Story": cliches, stereotyping, and thesis
2. Catherine Pigott's "Chicken Hips" contrasts, sense images, and technique of organisation
3. Stephen King's "Why We Crave Horror Movies": organisation, intended audience, tone and diction
4. Christie McClaren's "Suitcase Lady": opening description, irony, and metaphors
5. Sherman Alexie's "Saint Junior": stereotypes, alienation, isolation, and so what

Douglas College Computer-based English Assessment Format
Language, Literature and Performing Arts Self-assessment

How long is the English test? 
You will have about 50 minutes for the Reading Comprehension and 1.5 hours for the 400 to 600 word essay.


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