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Template for IOC Structure (Individual Oral Commentary):

Introduction- general context

1. Give the introductory information, such as the texts title, author, where and
when the work is set.
2. Give an overview of the broader contextual information, such
as the social, cultural, political and historical factors
3. Provide a brief overview of the plot context- what this extract or poem is
about ie. the key event(s). This can be part of the second point.
4. Thesis:
Indicate the purpose of the passage. State the key themes or ideas in the
passage- aim for 2-3 and comment on the key techniques used to
convey or explore these themes.
*Dont mention smaller techniques like alliteration or sentence structure in
your thesis. Refer to the more important literary aspects that directly relate
to meaning, like symbols, structure, contrast, imagery, setting, irony etc.
*Also comment on the tone, mood or atmosphere- whichever is most
relevant to your poem and thesis points. This can be before the statement
of themes or after- depending on how you want to set up these points.

Body of Discussion
Structure: You can organize your commentary in two ways:
1. A linear approach you discuss the poem chronologically and divide this
into sections of about 2 to 6 lines (or stanzas if the poem uses them), so
that they are units of meaning concerning an issue. Try to have a
heading for each section so that you dont just read the lines and explain
and you introduce the points with this, rather than the quote.
*Make sure you quote from the poem and talk about the meaning, the
techniques and their effect. Then you go on to the next section.
*You can talk about structure as you develop your discussion at the point
it appears in the section you are discussing, or as a separate point where
it fits.

2. A thematic approach (ie. key issues explored) 2 to 3 is a good target.

Below are examples of partly complete thematic section headings/signpost
statements for a commentary on Freedom Train. The statements could be
used for your transitional statements as you work through sections of the
poem, as they follow the general pattern of ideas. Also, remember that
referring to the key techniques used in this section helps to ensure that you
are not just explaining the poem.

1. Through the personas emotional account of his feelings toward the

Freedom Train, Hughes conveys/establishes
2. As the persona loses hope that he will be free from racist persecution,
the unjust treatment of African Americans is revealed

3. And finally, after questioning the possibility of the Freedom Train being
accessible to all Americans, Hughes then invokes his readers/audience to
persevere.. or..

*As you discuss each of these themes, make sure you quote, explain and
evaluate the words, images and techniques that are used to explore this.
*If you use this approach, remember to cover the whole passage. So make
sure that your chosen themes are all encompassing. It also helps to try to plan
the commentary so that your themes are in the order they are presented in
the poem, as it is easier to find your quotes and build on your argument.

Follow this outline for each main section of your body (basically SEE, but concise):
1. Statement concerning theme/issue- make a statement- dont just give a
label or word, eg. suggest what is indicated about the theme/issue. (so not just
inequality or hope, but what is conveyed about these concepts)

2. Cite/quote examples. Look for a number of examples in the text where

relevant. When using your examples, refer to them chronologically- ie. How
the issue is introduced, then developed, and then reinforced.

3. Comment on the effect of the techniques: words/diction, symbol, short

sentences, punctuation, pronouns, juxtaposition, irony, etc.
Make sure you link your discussion of techniques to the ideas:
- You might consider how the ideas are introduced, highlighted and
reinforced and what the writer suggests through this.
- Remember to look for a range of techniques- for example, a writer may
use specific diction, a sound technique and short sentences/lines to
create a particular effect or highlight an issue. Try to comment on how
these work in combination.

Draw it together- give an overview of the main ideas you have covered and
make sure you address the Guiding Questions that have been provided. Avoid
repeating your thesis in the same you introduced it move beyond this. You
can comment on what the reader may be left thinking and or feeling at the end
of the poem and how this EFFECT links to the writers PURPOSE, or how the
different target audiences may receive the poem.
Or how does it fit in with writers other works in terms of purpose and effect.
You can also comment on the universality and/or timelessness of themes.