Can you please mark and give me an approximate grade and how to improve my essay?

Analyse how language features were used to develop your understanding of one or more ideas.

It is human nature to want power and so it is natural for there to be an imbalance of power in society. This inbalance of power can lead to people, especially woman, in society being abused by people in power as they have no power. In The Box Social by James Reaney language features are used to develop readers understanding of multiple ideas. The ideas conveyed through lanaguge features at the beginning,middle and end of the short story are the idea of what people without power are like before being abused, how they can get caught up in the abuse and how trauma can lead people to do out of character things.
In The Box Social, the protagonist Sylvia prepares a box for a box social. However at the end of the story when the man (who we discover must have been her abuser) opens the box he does not find a lunch inside but instead the corspe of a stillborn child. There is a dead child inside the box instead of lunch as Sylvia’s way of getting revenge for the sexual assult that he did to her.
At the beginning of the text language features are used to develop readers understanding of the safety,hope and innocence that victims feel before they have been assaulted. At the beginning of the text Sylvia is decorating her box and goes outside where the ‘rain was falling in soft appluase’ to collect wallpaper for her box. This metaphor creates a calm mood through the postive connotations of ‘soft’ and ‘appluase’, making readers think that even the weather is appluading sylvia for her box, and develops the idea of how life is full of innocence before abuse. At this stage of the text readers did not know what would actually be in the box so after discovering this it makes us wonder whether the rain was symbolism for something darker. Reaney uses this metaphor to show how there are two sides to everything; while some people enjoy the rain as it means time spent inside with family feeling safe and warm, others fear it as it means being trapped inside with their abuser. When Sylvia went to head outside ‘the candle in her hand sprouted a yellow willow leaf’. Reaney uses this personification to symbolise hope because when things sprout it is representing new life. As readers we do not know that Sylvia has been abused yet and so we think this personification is just used to make us think about the beauty of a willow tree in nature, but after learning she has been abused it makes us wonder if Reaney chose a willow tree to demostrate how Sylvia felt like she had so little power she could not hold herself up, like how a willow tree droops. Reaney used langauge features at the beginning of the text to create a safe hopeful mood which represented emotions people feel if they havn’t been abused, but after discovering what happened to sylvia readers wonder if these language features symbolise something worse. This shows how in life someone can appear hopeful and safe on the outside but we do not know how they feel on the inside.
Towards the middle of the text the language features develop an idea of excitment, symbolising how people can get caught up in a relationship before the abuse starts. During the box social Reaney describes Sylvia like looking ‘like the queen on a playing card- in her rich red dress’. The simile of looking ‘like the queen’ symbolises how when people first get in a relationship they will be treated like a queen and so get swept up in it. Reaney uses the connotation of ‘red’ to show how at the beginning of a relationship there is lots of love and red roses but then as the relartionship progresses and the abuse starts we remember that red also symbolises blood and violence. This develops readers understanding of how people can get caught up in an abusive relaitonship as being treated ‘like a queen’, and recieving love or roses can lead people to ignore signs and forget that there is often a negative side to postive things. While being treated like a queen at the start might be good once the abuse starts you remember that the queen is often just a pretty sidepiece for a king with no power at all. Reaney uses another simile to describe the box social. It is described as glowing ‘in the distance like a light at the end of a dark stable’, this creates a mood of exctiment as it makes everything else seem dark and make the box social be something exciting as it is all lit up. This simile is used to show how people getting into a relationship can be blinded by the light and only see the good until it is too late and it seems like almost everything is swallowed in darkness. After learning about the abuse Sylvia faced we see that Reaney used this simile to also show that for Sylvia the box social seemed like a ‘light at the end’ of darkness because it was her chance to finally get revenge. Reaney uses similes in the middle of the text to show how when people first get into a relationship they only see the good in the person and so by the time the abuse starts it is too late for them to do anything. This makes readers think about how people without power in society can so easily be manipulated into abusive relationships by people with power so we better understand how people can find themselves in abusive relationships.

At the end of the text, Reaney uses language features to reveal the contents of the box and to develop readers understanding of how trauma can lead to people doing out of character things. Before revealing the dead baby Reaney includes a conversation between Sylvia and her abuser where he asks sylvia if she isn’t ‘mad at me anymore’, this rhetorical question elucidates how her abuser had so much power in the relationship that he thought Sylvia shouldn’t be mad at him. This explains to readers how Sylvia was manipulated so much she was no longer even thinking straight as in the relationship he made all the decisions for her. This meant that when there was the revelation of the “crabbed corpse of a stillborn child wreathed in bloody newspaper” readers understood it was because of her trauma that Sylvia had done this. The alliteration of ‘crabbed corpse’ illustrates the trauma Sylvia must have gone through as she not only lost her virginity but her baby was nothing more than a ‘crabbed corspe’ not a beautiful thing of life so it meant the abuse really was for nothing. At the time of writing, women were considered nothing more than an object, they were expected to clean the house and look after the kids and to not have opinions or want power in a relationship, so despite all the abuse, Sylvia still forgave him. Reaney conveyed this in the direct speech of ‘I hated you so much’, as Sylvia said this in past tense it shows she no longer hates him and so she must have forgiven him. Reaney uses this direct speech to show how Sylvia’s trauma led to her forgiving her abuser because it is not something she would have done if she had been in the right mind. Sylvia may have got her revenge but her mind had been manipulated so much she believed she must forgive him and allow him back into her life, which illustrates how much trauma can affect a person. Reaney used language features at the end of the text to encourage readers to think about how people’s actions can be affected by trauma.

In the short story The Box Social the author James Reaney used language features at the beginning, middle and end of the text to develop the ideas of people before abuse, how they can get into abusive relationships and the effect abusive relationships can have on people. These ideas show readers how when power is misused in relationships, it can destroy a person’s mind and makes us wonder if we would recognise if we were being manipulated in a relationship. While the Box Social was written a long time ago, it is scary that many of the ideas shown in this text are still relevant today despite all the work done for women’s rights. If the ideas are still relevant today, it makes us wonder if it is because the people in power do not want an equal world and so we wonder if the issues shown in this text will ever be fixed.

Kia ora Sophie17003!

I like how you’ve started your introduction off with the ideas. It makes it much more interesting to read that way. You’ve used the language from the question well, but with this sort of question, you would be better off naming the language features you’re going to focus on, rather than discuss the structure (beginning, middle, and end) of the story. On the whole, you’ve done a great job of answering the question and showed a strong understanding of the text. There were a few ways that you could go deeper with your analysis of the language features. Here’s a few:

To elevate the language you use in your response, you could use some English jargon like exposition or rising action, instead of “at the beginning of the text”. This makes it sound more sophisticated and shows you have a stronger understanding of structure. “The rain was falling in soft applause” would be personification as it is giving a human action to something not human. You’ve done a good job of unpacking the language with the positive connotations of the adjective “soft” and the action of “applause”. You could develop this by explaining how these two words contrast with what we typically associate with rain. There’s a language feature called pathetic fallacy which could be good to bring in there. I like that you’ve brought in the reader as well, acknowledging that we don’t yet know the sad reality of Sylvia’s situation.

Then you’ve got the metaphor of, “The candle in her hand sprouted a yellow willow leaf.” This time, the author hasn’t given something non-human a human quality or action, so it is a metaphor. I really like how you’ve discussed the significance of Reaney’s choice of a willow leaf and the shape of the tree. What do you think a candle might represent? Are there two things working together here like there were in the previous example of personification?

You’ve done well with weaving the exploration of how Reaney uses the simile alongside the colour symbolism. What do you think is the significance is it of being, “like the queen on a playing card,” instead of just like a queen. Why the card?

You could explain more why you think that this direct speech is a rhetorical question. The author follows it up with an adjective that describes then man’s demeanour. That might support your argument more.

How does the alliteration illustrate the trauma? Alliteration is a sound technique, so think about how the words sound. It is quite a harsh “c” sound on those two words. It certainly contrasts with the beautiful words previously used to describe the box.

When you say, “at the time of writing,” when was that? Why would Sylvia go to all that trouble if she had forgiven him? Considering the time it was written, would that have played into Sylvia’s choice to leave it in the past?

Kai pai to mahi, Sophie! I hope this helps :slight_smile:

This is really helpful for helping me look into the deeper connections thank you!

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