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P1 Analytical Lenses

IBH Lang Lit - Mr. Glover

Paper 1 - Analytical Lenses •

The following four analytical lenses outline strategies and questions you can ask as you unpack your P1 text (SL) texts (HL)

Each lens introduces specific criteria as well as questions that you can ask and answer.

These questions allow you to select specific detail and examples to evaluate in your response.

A - Contextual Analysis •

A contextual analysis is simply an analysis of a text (in whatever medium, including multi-media) that helps us to assess that text within the context of its historical and cultural setting, but also in terms of its textuality – or the qualities that characterise the text as a text.

A contextual analysis combines features of formal analysis with features of “cultural archeology, ” or the systematic study of social, political, economic, philosophical, religious, and aesthetic conditions that were (or can be assumed to have been) in place at the time and place when the text was created.

While this may sound complicated, it is in reality deceptively simple: it means “situating” the text within the context of its times and assessing the roles of author, readers (intended and actual), and “commentators” (critics, both professional and otherwise) in the reception of the text.

A contextual analysis can proceed along many lines, depending upon how complex one wishes to make the analysis. But it generally includes seven key questions:

1. What does the text reveal about itself as a text? •

Describe (or characterise) 1. the language (the words, or vocabulary) 2. the rhetoric (how the words are arranged in order to achieve some purpose)


These are the primary components of style.

2. What does the text tell us about its apparent intended audience(s)? •

What sort of reader does the author seem to have envisioned, as demonstrated by the text’s language and rhetoric?

What sort of qualifications does the text appear to require of its intended reader(s)? How can we tell?

What sorts of readers appear to be excluded from the text’s intended audiences? How can we tell?

Is there, perhaps, more than one intended audience?

3. What seems to have been the author’s intention •

Why did the author write this text? And why did the author write this text in this particular way, as opposed to other ways in which the text might have been written?

Remember that any text is the result of deliberate decisions by the author. The author has chosen to write (or paint, or whatever) with these particular words and has therefore chosen not to use other words that she or he might have used.

So you need to consider: 1. what the author said (the words that have been selected); 2. what the author did not say (the words that were not selected); and 3. how the author said it (as opposed to other ways it might or could have been said).

4. What is the occasion for this text? That is, is it written in response to: 1. some particular, specific contemporary incident or event? 2. some more “general� observation by the author about human affairs and/or experiences? 3. some definable set of cultural circumstances?

5. Is the text intended as some sort of call to – or for – action? •

If so, by whom? And why?

And also if so, what action(s) does the author want the reader(s) to take?

6. Is the text intended rather as some sort of call to – or for – reflection or consideration rather than direct action? •

If so, what does the author seem to wish the reader to think about and to conclude or decide?

Why does the author wish the readers to do this? What is to be gained, and by whom?

7. Can we identify any non-textual circumstances that affected the creation and reception of the text? Such circumstances include: 1. historical or political events 2. economic factors 3. cultural practices 4. intellectual or aesthetic issues 5. as well as the particular circumstances of the author's own life

B - Text Type / Medium •

Each text type or medium of production is governed by a range of conventions that impact on the way the message is formatted. Non-Literary P1 Text Types

It is important that you are able to identify and discuss a range of these conventions in your evaluation of the P1 text.

Link these to other elements like context, purpose, message etc, in your evaluation.

C - Choices •

“Choices” refers to all the decisions that have been made in the production of the text.

These choices reflect the purpose, audience as well as the context of production of the text.

In non-literary texts these choices are evident in all of the visual, structural, and language choices of a text.

In literary texts, these choices are evident in all of the traditional language and literary techniques & devices used in the text.

Identify specific choices that have been made and evaluate these in your P1 response.

D - Message •

The message is the product of the interplay of all of these elements in the mind of the reader.

The message can be intended for a specific audience but it can also have an unintended or secondary audience.

The message changes in response to the context of reception.

When talking about the message you infer from a text you have to explain how & why your inference is justified.

You do this by explaining and justifying the ways in which specific elements of the text affect you.

The Analysis Remember to do the following in your P1 response: 1. Explain how these factors affect the way you respond to/interpret the text? 2. Remember to explain how/why you feel these examples support the point you are making. Why do they affect you in this way? 3. Identify a balanced range of examples from both texts (HL) to support your points.

Context year

Text Type / Medium

Text 1



primary audience

Choices language



drama script

cartoon chart purpose




linguistic devices



screen play


instructions travel log

brochure advert web page

structural manifesto

social factors


encyclopedia lyrics

editorial feature article

Message interpretation syntax





Text 2


review pastiche letter interview

mixed media

You can evaluate examples of each of these elements in your P1 responses

secondary audience

Text 2

Text 1

Lang & Lit - P1 Analysis Framework