Monday, April 22, 2013

Sample essay Literature PMR -The Railway Children” by Edith Nesbit

Sample Question 1:
Based on one of the novels you have read, choose a character that you admire. Give
reasons for your choice.

Sample Answer:

I refer to the novel “The Railway Children” by Edith Nesbit. Among all the characters
in the novel, the character I admire the most is the old gentleman because he is kind,
helpful and generous. He travels regularly on the morning train and sees the children
waving to him. He opens up to them readily when they need help. When Bobbie
writes to him for help to get better food for their sick mother, he gives generously.
Again, when Bobbie approaches him for help to investigate the truth
about her father, he tells her that he will do his best and he has high hopes that
things will turn out well because he believes in her father‟s innocence. In the end he
is also rewarded when his only grandson, who is injured during a paper-chase, is
rescued from the train tunnel by thechildren.
When he learns of this, his generosity ensures that the children have a
comfortable life with their mother. He gets the family a housemaid and a cook while
his grandson stays with the family. He eventually helps to get the children‟s father

Sample Question 2:

Based on one of the novels that you have chosen, write about an event that has
taught you a very important lesson.

Sample Answer 2:
I refer to the novel “The Railway Children” by Edith Nesbit. An event which
has taught me a lesson is the rescue of the „hound‟ in the red shirt. Upon realising
that the boy has gone into the train tunnel and has not emerged while all the others
have, Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis immediately run into the tunnel to search for him.
They brave an oncoming train passing through the tunnel. They finally find the boy,
hurt and unconscious.
They manage to wake him up. Peter and Phyllis run off to get help while
Bobbie bravely accompanies the boy in the dark and tries to make him as
comfortable as possible. Bobbie then firmly decides that they will take the boy, Jim
home to their mother.
This event has taught me a very good lesson about taking initiative.
The children are very observant when they notice that Jim has not emerged from the
train tunnel. They act immediately to look for him in case he is lying injured
somewhere. They find him and naturally take him home to be nursed by their mother.3

Sample Question 3:

Based on one of the novels that you have chosen, write about your favourite theme.

Sample Answer:
I refer to the novel “The Railway Children” by Edith Nesbit. My favourite
theme is about showing initiative. First of all, as Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis realise that
things are different for them now after their father is taken away, they try to make life
easier for their mother by being good. The first thing they do is to get up early the first
morning in their countryside house to prepare breakfast for her.
They are quick-thinking and always take the initiative to solve a
problem or crisis when it arises. They try to stop an approaching train by themselves
when they realise that there will be a disaster if the train is not warned about the
landslide by the railway track. They run quickly Into the tunnel when they realise that
the „hound‟ in red shirt has not emerged from the tunnel during the paper-chase. The
children also discover that Perks has never celebrated his birthday and they get the
villagers to participate in their birthday plan for Perks.
The children take to their new environment in the countryside because they
are energetic, spirited and have a lot of initiative. They do not need to be told how to
behave. They are proactive.

Sample Question 4:

Based on one of the novels that you have learned, write about the relationship
between two characters. Give evidence from the novel to support your answer.

Sample Answer:
I refer to the novel “The Railway Children” by Edith Nesbit. I would to describe
the relationship between Bobbie and her mother. Bobbie is the eldest child and feels
responsible for her mother and her siblings. She is always sensitive to her mother‟s
needs and she senses that her mother must be lonely because she has no one to
talk to about their troubles. When they first wake up in the morning in their new
countryside home, she is eager to make life easier for her mother by getting
everything in order in the house. Bobbie acts like an adult when their mother is sick.
She looks after her during the day and night.
Bobbie and her mother have a special relationship. When she reads
about her father being jailed, she confides in her mother and says nothing to her
siblings. Bobbie shares a rather special relationship with her mother because she is
the eldest and feels the responsibility of being the eldest child.4

Based on one of the novels you have read, write briefly on a character that you would
like to be.
Based on one of the novels you have read, write briefly on a character that you would
like to have as a friend.
Based on one of the novels you have read, write briefly on the moral values .
Based on one of the novels you have read, write briefly on a lesson you have learnt.
Based on one of the novels you have read, write briefly on the values you have
Write briefly on one of the themes in the novel you have studied.
Write briefly on the theme of friendship in the novel you have studied.
Write briefly on the themes in the novel you have studied.
Based on the novel you have read, write briefly on a place that you find interesting.
Based on the novel you have read, write briefly on the setting.
Based on the novel you have read, write briefly on a memorable setting in the novel.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Step by Wicked Step sample Essay

·                                 Step-By-Wicked Step:Themes
The following are some themes for the novel Step-by-Wicked Step taken from my latest book, Step-by-Wicked-Step, Pelangi Publication:
1 The importance of preserving the family unit
This is the central message in the novel. The family institution is a solemn entity. It is created when two adults decide to tie the knot through their marriage vows. Hence, parents are mainly responsible in keeping the family unit intact through love and understanding because divorce and separation can only lead to ugly consequences as clearly shown in the novel.
The family institution should also provide security to children. However, when it is broken, children feel helpless and they feel they are victims of the situation. The novel reveals how the five children cope with difficult times when their parents’ marriage fails. Claudia and Pixie for example, have to undergo emotionally painful and tumultuous moments to get used to their parent’s divorce. The ugly effects of divorce and separations are also shown in the way Claudia and Pixie resist their step parents and siblings. The quarrels, the screaming, the sibling rivalry demonstrate that the harmony that is central in their families has long gone. Children suffer most from broken homes and they need a lot of time to adapt to their new situation. This is true in the case of Pixie, who needs a great deal of time to adjust to her step mother and step sisters, Sophie and Hetty.
The family institution must be preserved at all cost to avoid unnecessary sufferings on the part of the children. Parents must protect their children from the effects of divorce as much as possible. If a divorce is unavoidable, parents need to ensure that every care is taken to make life as normal as possible for their children.
2 Acceptance and tolerance 

Learning to accept and tolerate new members in the family is important when a divorce happens. The novel shows how children learn to accept their ‘new’ family members and make the best of their new circumstances. Although this sounds a big task for them, they all end up accepting their new life at the end of their stories. Despite their being young, they realize how important it is to learn to share belongings and love with their step siblings. For example, Pixie has to learn to share her bedroom with her step sister Hetty. She has to tolerate her privacy being taken away causing her to devise ways to get rid of Hetty from her bedroom. She considers her bedroom is her territory and Hetty’s presence an intrusion. However, she manages to get her room back after a heated argument with her step mother. In the end Pixie learns to tolerate her step sisters and accepts their differences.

Acceptance and tolerance can also be seen in Claudia’s story. She learns to accept the presence of her step mother when her father’s marriage to her real mother fails. The green pyjamas her step mother gave her and the dinner hosted by her step mother one night play a role in bringing them closer. Despite her earlier resentment towards her step mother, Claudia makes a big decision that it is not fair for her to hate her step mother. In doing so she also shows her maturity despite her young age. In Pixie’s story, she is shown to accept the fact that her new stepmother is having as much trouble "adjusting" as she is. It is amazing how these young characters show a lot of strength despite the distinct problems they face in their families. They learn to accept things around them gradually because they do not have a choice. Furthermore that life has to go on.
3 Responsibility
This is another theme that is evident in the novel. Responsibility is shown in different ways in the novel.
Marriage entails responsibility. It is about building a family and raising children that are part and parcel of a marriage partnership. This will include providing shelter, clothing, education and love. Therefore if a marriage is broken, children would be directly affected. Parents therefore must accept that they still have a responsibility to ensure that the divorce does not cost their children more than it already has. One of the ways this is shown in the novel is by the turns or visits the children have with their new families. Their parents although divorced, insist that their children take turns to visit them. Pixie for instance goes to her step family’s house ‘a few days in a month’ while Ralph has a more hectic and complicated schedule. He has to divide the weekdays to be at his divorced parents’ house. It is a pity that he has to shuffle his time between his parents but he pretty much accepts his situation without complaints.
The step parents also try their best to be responsible towards their step children. Stella tries to make Claudia feel comfortable every time she is with them. Colin’s mother shows a different kind of responsibility though. She moves to a different place to protect her son from her ‘rough-house’ husband. Although Colin misses his father very much, his mother has made the right decision for their safety. Another example is Robbo’s step father who sends Callie, his sister to school every morning and works over time to pay for repairs for the house.
It is fair to say that no one would wish for a divorce but when it happens, parents have to carry out their responsibilities well. They have to be sensitive to the needs of their children since children have a natural attachment to their parents. Sometimes children are simply attached to their surroundings, and moving into new surroundings can cause an understandable negative reaction. Colin for instance has trouble learning ‘being half asleep in school’.
4 Children have opinions too

This theme is portrayed through the five main characters in the novel. Since all the main characters come from broken homes, we learn that they too want their opinions to be heard and acknowledged. Very often than not, there is a communication breakdown between the children and parents who undergo divorce. For example, Colin does not have a say at all when her mother decides to move to another place to stay safe from his father. Colin has to start all over in a new school and make new friends. His opinion is never sought. In another example, Pixie shows that she wants to be heard. Her strong opinions about the adults around her are revealed when she quarrels with Lucy, her step mother. She expresses her frustrations and anger through her words.
The writer provides the opportunity for the children to voice out their opinions frankly and honestly through the stories they tell. Through each of the main characters, we realize that children too have opinions and that their opinions must also be sought. Pixie would like to have a say about her room arrangement and Colin, although quiet, often wonders why his mother makes decisions independently.
Through the main characters’ words and actions, we can also see a certain level of maturity in the children’s thinking. They are not without opinions. But how many parents actually sought for their opinions. Divorce is always an adults’ story and too often children are just trapped in between. The novel in a way is a tribute to the children’s spirit. They make us see the depth of their feelings and opinions through their unique stories. Too often children’s feelings are unnoticed, ignored and or not taken seriously resulting in failure in building relationships in broken homes.

Model questions, answer and personal response
The following are the novels studied in the literature components in English Language.
Catch Us If You Can - Catherine MacPhail
Step By Wicked Step - Anne Fine
The Curse - Lee Su Ann
Choose any one of the novels above and answer the questions below.
“It is important to have a person that you look up to in your life.”
From the novel that you have read, write about one character that you look up to. Give reasons why you choose him/her.
The novel that I have chosen is “Step by Wicked Step” by Anne Fine. Richard Harwick’s story is heart-rending with its tale of a lonely rich boy who is unable to accept that someone has taken the place of his father who has passed away.
Richard Clayton Harwick
- Runs away from home
- Unbearable living with his stepfather
- Always lost and lonely child – nobody tells him about his dying father, has to be brave, father – take care of his mother and sister. Only a young lad.
- Family fails to understand him. Hurt but cannot speak out. No one to talk to.
- Mother remarries a cold and unfeeling character – conform to his ways
- Accuses Richard to be wild and undisciplined
- Sends Richard to Mordanger School (4 years)
- Comes back – mother and sister get along well with Mr. Coldstone.
- Could not take it – decides to run away
- Torn between hatred for his stepfather and his love for his mother and sister.
- Makes a wrong decision
- Immatured – running away solve problems
- Has severe consequences on his mother, his sister and even his stepfather.
- Does more harm, mother dies of heartbreak trying to locate him, his stepfather of fury when he finds that Richard is the owner of Old Harwick Hall, and his sister marries someone whom she does not love but wealthy to keep the search for him till her dying day.
- Richard not happy – decision resulted in so much sorrow
• Brought suffering upon himself – immatured
• Led a sheltered life until sudden death of his father
• Tears his whole world apart and heaps a pile of responsibilities upon his frail shoulders
• Deserves our sympathy
• Important ingredient for happiness
• Before father’s death, can assume Richard’s family as close-knit and full of love.
• After father’s death, hatred for stepfather, love is gone, left with sorrow and pain.
• Hurt and angry – no one tells him that his father is dying.
• Only summoned to his father’s deathbed after suffering much anxiety
• Disappointed – father did not notice instead wants him to be brave
• Mr. Coldstone finds him to be rude and disrespectful. He treats him even more harshly after he becomes his stepfather. Richard clashes violently with him. He declares he will be “no son of his”
• Disappointed that his mother does not stick up for him when Mr Coldstone puts pressure
• Charlotte and Richard – Coldstone causes a rift between them. Richard accuses his sister of having forgotten their father. He refuses to hear his sister out and thinks that is better for everyone if he leaves home.
• Torn between love for his mother and sister and hatred for his stepfather.
• Runs away, sacrificing his love. Comes twice to the mansion. Coldstone – does not go in.
• Yearns to see him after his departure. It creates extreme grief for his mother who never stops looking for him
• Ends up spending the family’s fortune
• Dies of a broken heart without ever seeing him again
• Also made an ultimate sacrifice for Richard
• 16th birthday marries a man, Charles Devere whom she does not love but wealthy – to keep alive the search for Richard.
• She seems to die ‘in fever of childbirth” as she predicts before Richard is found.
• Richard’s mother and sister’s share of waiting and hoping to reunite with Richard were in vain
• Loves but not strong enough to face obstacles that come along
• Love is important to keep a family together – strong and deep to stand any test
• Richard loves his family but his deep hatred has clouded his judgement.
• He needs to learn to accept the fact that his father is dead and he has to move on, as his sister Charlotte pleads him to. He cannot run away from a problem and think that by doing so it will solve the problem.
• Richard’s rash decision to leave home causes devastating ripple effect which leaves him a broken man when he learns from his sister’s letter of what has happened during his time away. Richard’s action offers a powerful lesson about the need to think carefully before making any decision.
• Therefore, we see how important the family unit is, whether it is a normal family unit or reconstructed one of step parents. The family unit is important to ensure that the children can grow up in a happy and healthy environment.
• Mr Coldstone’s negative character and behaviour teach us to be more thoughtful and forgiving. His character also teaches us not to feel that we must always have the upper hand in our dealings and not to be too grasping. In wanting to control everything from the household and the people in it, Mr Coldstone loses everything in the end.
• Divorce or separation in the family – frightening for children – caught in between.
• Complicated – when a parent remarries – cope with a total stranger under the same roof. (give textual evidence- When Richard’s father dies and his mother marries Mr Coldstone, his whole world falls apart. He hates the cruel and overbearing Coldstone but he has no one to complain to and he cannot depend on his weak mother to defend him.
• Responsible parents help children to adjust to the situation. However, irresponsible adult like Richard’s mother leave their children to fend for themselves and let things spiral out of control. (Textual evidence)
• Children portray responsibility but not adults
• Children are caught in the web.
• Richard’s story is heart-wrenching with its tale of a lonely rich boy who cannot come to terms with his father’s death and his mother’s new status as the wife of another man. Unfortunately, having a wicked stepfather and living in the same house with him makes it all the more agonising and impossible for Richard to endure his ordeal. Each person longs to love and to be loved
• Decision making
• Expectations in life
• Dealing with problems
• Family relationships
• Adults should look around them and listen.
• children lack choices and real opportunity to speak frankly and openly about their feelings and situations to the adults around them.
• Ability to accept the reality of change and be able to move on is essential for the happiness of the person and the people around him. (Richard is unable to accept the new man in his mother’s life. So he makes life miserable for himself, his mother, his stepfather and his sister as well. Richard makes a decision to leave home that brings untold grief to his mother who eventually dies of heartbreak, as well as his sister who misses him till her dying day. His decision also sours his mother’s relationship with his stepfather.)
• Family relationships should be nurtured and not taken for granted
• When making decisions, we should take into consideration everyone’s interest.( When parents decide to divorce, their decision not only affects them but their children as well. They break up the family harmony too, without finding out how their children feel)
• We have expectations like family happiness, support and encouragement from all members of a family.
• We should work towards retaining a strong family home by giving support and encouragement to everyone.
• Do not look down on others.
• Do not give up easily when we are faced with problems.
• We must try to accept things the way they are and make the best out of it.
• “Now you must be brave for me. I will not have your father go troubled to his grave.”
• “You must be good to your mother and sister. You are the man of the house now. They will depend on you.”
• “…I have learnt nothing except how to freeze, and how to starve, and how to be bullied and beaten.”
• “… I wish it burnt to ashes.”
• Which is a “cold corner of hell” for him
• “Its very rumble turns my stomach to knots.”
• “the black bat”
• “It was more like a tomb” “… in this silent mausoleum…”
Based on one of the novel that you have studied, write about a memorable event and how the event affects one of the characters in the story.
Support your answer with close reference to the text.
I choose the novel Step by Wicked Step written by Anne Fine. The memorable event from the novel is the honest conversation between Pixie and her stepmother Lucy. I think that the conversation is important because it affects Pixie's life.
First of all, I think that the conversation is important because Pixie has a chance to tell the truth about her feelings. Pixie tells Lucy that she hates to pretend that their family is normal. It is hard for her to accept strangers as family. She dislikes her stepsisters. When Hetty moves into Pixie's bedroom after quarreling with Sophie, Pixie is very angry. She tries many ways to get rid of Hetty.
Apart from that, I think that the conversation between Lucy and Pixie is important because Lucy also gets a chance to express her feelings towards Pixie. Lucy hates being a step mother. It is very hard for her to take care of someone else's child. Lucy is angry when Pixie when Pixie tries to get rid of Hetty from her bedroom.
Last but not least, I think the heart to heart conversation is memorable because it improves the relationship between Pixie and Lucy. They understand each other better. at the end of the conversation, they are crying and hugging each other. After that day, their relationship becomes better and they are more like a normal family.
In a nutshell, I think that the honest conversation between Lucy and Pixie is memorable because it improves the relationship between Pixie and her step family. I learn many things from this novel.

Friday, April 19, 2013


1. Based on one novel above, write about a character who is determined to achieve success.

Based on the novel Around the World in 80 days written by Jules Verne, Phileas
Fogg is determined to achieve success.

Phileas Fogg was very determined to travel around the world in 80 days. The railway track  from Alahabad  to  Calcutta was  incomplete.    Therefore,  he bought  an elephant  to continue the journey.  Finally, they reached Allahabad.

Besides, Phileas Fogg was also determined to continue his journey. He found out that the steamer had left him. He searched for another ship to continue his journey.

In conclusion, we should always be determined to achieve success.

2. Choose one of the novels, write about a lesson that you have learnt in the novel.

Based on the novel Around the World in 80 days written by Jules Verne, a lesson that
I have learnt is we must be brave.

Firstly, Phileas Fogg was very brave to accept the wager. Andrew wagered 4000 pounds. Phileas Fogg accepted the wager. Finally, he managed to travel around the world in
80 days.

Secondly, Fogg was brave to save Aouda. She was kidnapped by bandits. He wanted to save her. It was very dangerous but Phileas Fogg managed to save her.

In conclusion, we must be brave to take risks.

3. Based on one novel,write about an important/interesting/significant event .

Based on the novel Around the World in 80 days written by Jules Verne, an important/interesting/significant event is when Phileas Fogg tried to save Aouda.

In the story, Aouda was kidnapped by bandits. Phileas Fogg wanted to save her. It was very dangerous but Phileas Fogg managed to save her. In my opinion, this event is important/interesting/significant because it shows that Phileas Fogg is a brave person.

This event is also interesting because it shows that Phileas Fogg is concerned about Aouda. He did not know Aouda but when she was kidnapped, he and his friends tried their best to save her.

Based on the reasons above, I think that this is an important/interesting/significant event.

4. Based on one novel ,write about a theme that you have learnt in the novel.

Based on the novel Around the World in 80 days written by Jules Verne, I have learnt the theme of determination.

Firstly, Jean Passepartout was determined to help Mr Fogg. He followed Phileas Fogg to  travel around  the  world  in  80  days.  They  faced  many problems during  the  journey. Passepartout still wanted to find ways to help Phileas.

Next, Phileas Fogg aslo showed determination when he saved Auoda. She was kidnapped  by  bandits.He  wanted  to  save  her.  It  was  very  dangerous  but  Phileas  Fogg managed to save her.

In a nutshell, I have learnt to be more determined in solving my problems.

5. Based on one novel you have read, write about how two characters work together to achieve success.

Based on the novel Around the World in 80 days written by Jules Verne, there are two characters who work together to achieve success. The two characters are Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout.

In the story, Aouda was kidnapped by bandits. Phileas Fogg wanted to save her. It was very dangerous but Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout worked together to save Aouda. Jean Passepartout helped his master to save Aouda from the bandits. He followed Phileas Fogg’s order. They were able to save Aouda in the end.

Next, Jean Passepartout also helped Phileas Fogg to get to Calcutta. The railway track from Alahabad to Calcutta was incomplete.   Passerpartout suggested that they bought an elephant to continue the journey. Finally, they managed to reach Allahabad.

In the end,  Phileas  Fogg  won the wager. This  is because Passepartout  worked together with him to win the wager.

6. Based on one novel, write about a relationship between friends in the story.

Based on the novel Around the World in 80 days written by Jules Verne, I have noticed the relationship between Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout.

In the story, Aouda was kidnapped by bandits. Phileas Fogg wanted to save her. It was very dangerous but Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout worked together to save Aouda. Jean Passepartout helped his master to save Aouda from the bandits. They were able to save her  in the end.

Next, they worked together to fight the outlaws on the train in America. They were on their way to Omaha. The train was attacked by outlaws. They would die if they did not fight to save themselves.

In conclusion, Passepartout helped Fogg to win the wager.


7. Based on one novel,write about a synopsis of the story.

The story of Around the World in 80 Days written by Jules Verne was about Phileas Fogg. He wagered with Andrew Stuart that he could travel around the world in 80 days. He had a butler named Passsepartout. He travelled with his butler.

They had many problems along the journey around the world. They had to travel to Allahabad on an elephant.  They also helped save Princess Aouda when she was kidnapped by the bandits. Passepartout was also arrested for entering a temple illegally. Phileas Fogg had to pay for his bail. They also had to fight outlaws on the train in America.

Lastly, Phileas Fogg was able to travel around the world in 80 days and won the wager. In the end, he married Aouda and they lived happily ever after.