Higher Critical Essay Questions

You can keep your topic sentences in particular very short. In fact, it’s best to make them straight to the point. Using the “Jekyll and Hyde” example above, the topic sentence for the first paragraph could be: “The battle between Jekyll and Hyde is symbolic of the battle between good and evil in humans.” This is direct, and shows the reader exactly what you will talk about in the paragraph.

Make sure that you finish each paragraph with a one sentence mini-conclusion that links back to the question. Usually the question is split into two, and the finish of the sentence should refer to the second part of the question. So, using the “Jekyll and Hyde” example, the final sentence of the first paragraph could be: “Jekyll’s growing realisation that he cannot control Hyde forces him to isolate himself, and shows that Jekyll has come to regret his earlier immoral decisions.” Writing a one sentence mini-conclusion will help you when it comes to writing your final conclusions, and will also keep your work focused on the question.

In your paragraphs, the best sentence structure is the P.E.A. approach. This stands for Point, Evidence, and Analysis. Make your point, then back it up with a quotation or an example from the text, and then explain why this is important or relevant to the question. You can practice this simple approach by using the following framework in your revision:

Point – One of the key themes in the text is…

Evidence – This is shown when…

Analysis – This highlights/emphasises….

Although it is best not to use these exact phrases every time, this does give you an idea of how you should approach the content of your paragraphs.

The almond tree is rife with biblical meanings. Moses’ brother, Aaron, carried a rod cut from an almond tree. When almond blossoms and leaves suddenly sprouted on the rod, this miracle was attributed as a sign that God had chosen Aaron and his tribe to be His priests. Almonds were mentioned often in the Bible, possibly because they are native to the Middle East and would have been widely available during biblical times.

Priestly Meaning

During the many years in the wilderness, the people of the Lord quarreled between themselves trying to determine who should be the priests and directly serve God. So, representatives of all 12 tribes brought their rods and placed them within the tabernacle. The next day, when Moses went into the tabernacle, he discovered that Aaron’s rod which was cut from an almond tree had miraculously burst into flowers. This meant that God had chosen Aaron and his family, from the tribe of Levites, to be His priests.

Old Age

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In Ecclesiastes, the almond is indicative of old age. This is an apt description since the almond bursts into flowers in late winter—and winter is often considered anthropomorphically as an old man. The almond blooms are borne on naked stems before the leaves emerge, and the old blossoms often look like white snowflakes when they fall to the ground.

Watchful Tree

The almond tree is also referred to as a “watchful” tree by the Prophet Jeremiah when he talks to God in a vision. Yahweh asks Jeremiah what he sees and Jeremiah mentions that he sees “a branch of an almond tree.” Yahweh answers: “You have seen well: for I keep watch over my word to give effect to it” (Jer.1:11-12).

Rod of Authority

In their book “Rod of an Almond Tree in God’s Master Plan,” Peter Michas and Robert Vander Maten propose that the Rod of Authority made from the Tree of Life was passed down through the ages by the biblical patriarchs. Eventually, King David planted it and centuries later it formed the cross on which Jesus was crucified. They believe that Revelation 22:2 states that the relic of the cross will reappear and flower. This will be a sign of God’s authority just as it was in the days of Aaron.

 

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Barry WrightTagged Almond Tree, Higher English, Poetry

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