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English (Year 12) - Course Concepts

Ben Whitten

What is style?

The ways in which aspects of texts are arranged and how they affect the meaning. Refers to almost any feature of the way a text is constructed. Style can reflect an author’s choice of words, sentence structure, arrangement of sentences and use of figurative language. All of these aspects are key in establishing a particular mood or atmosphere of a text, as well as the text’s meaning.

Style is also characterised by stylistic features (some mentioned above). Stylistic features review how texts are arranged to formulate meaning in a text; for example, lexical choice, syntax, narrative point of view, voice, structure, language patterns and language features (written and visual).

How do I answer questions regarding style?

Take this Responding question for example:

Compare how at least two texts employ differing styles in order to captivate or surprise you.

This question takes into account comparative essay writing between two different texts, as well as the style of each text. Questions like these invite you to provide a personal response (shown by the use of ‘you’) to comment on the differences between the texts’ styles. For example, take the film Everything Everywhere All at Once (2022) from A24 – the style is characterised by a very satirical/comedic voice, shown through the use of dialogue between main characters. This film is captivating in its use of multiple genres (action, comedy, drama, sci-fi) and delivery of satire. This may differ in comparison to a film such as Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) by Martin McDonagh, a film characterised by its dark drama elements and shocking revelations. The films, while both being surprising and captivating, differ in their style and delivery of this effect. Comparing two texts of vastly different styles is an effective way to approach a question such as this one.

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