Exam Review 2023 – English Paper 2 (O)

By Yeats College English teacher Ms. Emily O’Flaherty

English Paper 2 was another fair, engaging and highly accessible paper for all abilities. The questions on the Single Text were even-handed and clearly phrased, providing great scope for students to demonstrate their personal engagement with the text.

The section on Philadelphia, Here I Come! centred on communication, hope and the relationship between the main characters, while the questions on Macbeth made reference to ambition and the nuances in Lady Macbeth’s character.

The Comparative Study section of the paper was equally manageable; students who had studied and reflected on their chosen texts would have especially welcomed the questions on the theme of relationships which centred on fulfilment and kindness in the lives of the characters.

The Prescribed Poetry Section was wonderfully varied, with poems ranging from William Shakespeare’s Sonnet XVII ‘Shall I Compare Thee’ to Allison Joseph’s ‘My Father’s Kites’. Elizabeth Bishop, Derek Mahon and Patrick Kavanagh also made a welcome appearance and the questions were both straightforward and stimulating throughout. The Unseen Poem ‘Late Love’ by Jackie Kay may have proven a challenging read for some; however, the questions were less complicated and gave students the opportunity to display their knowledge of poetic terms and their understanding of language.

Overall, this paper rewarded diligent students for their efforts while offering all students the opportunity to play to their strengths and excel.