Point Example Explanation - Owen

Point Example Explanation (1)

Introduction

It is very difficult to construct a good response to any essay question, especially under the pressure of examination conditions, so you need a method that will help you remain focused on the question while delivering a coherent argument. One of the most popular and effective approaches is the Point Example Explanation (PEE) method.

Dividing a paragraph into three sections can provide an incredibly efficient way to organise your analysis.

POINT EXAMPLE EXPLANATION Diagram

PEE

Your first sentence should introduce an idea or argument about the text, but also remain focused on the key term of the question. You should then support your argument with a specific reference to the text. The third part of this process is to explain how your evidence is relevant to your initial statement. This is also a good moment to identify the method used by the writer to convey their ideas to the reader.

Worked Example

To demonstrate the PEE approach, we are going to explore the opening two lines of Wilfred Owen’s “Dulce Et Decorum Est” which introduces the exhausted and traumatised soldiers walking back from the front line during World War One:

“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks
Knock-kneed, crouching like hags, we cursed through sludge”

We also need a question: How does Wilfred Owen present the horrors of war?

Read the following response and try to identify the three different parts of the PEE formula:

Owen presents the horrors of war through the transformation of the young and fit soldiers into weak and feeble men. The simile comparing the soldiers to “old beggars” epitomises this terrible change. Beggars are often pictured as hungry, dirty vagabonds without homes and not the clean uniformed men we expect soldiers to be.

Notice how the opening statement uses the words of the question. It is important to sustain that focus firmly throughout your essay so do not be afraid of repeating the key terms. The “point” then offers a clear argument about the transformation of the soldiers.

This reference is backed up by the quotation in the second sentence.

Finally, your explanation could define the image in your own words and then offer a comment on the quotation.

Developing Your Answer

Of course, when you develop your response with more analysis of the lines, you need to adapt the routine. Try to identify the Point Example Explanation in this answer:

The soldiers are also compared to “hags” who are old women. Once again, Owen emphasises how emaciated the suffering soldiers have become because of the war. This broken quality is reinforced by the alliteration of “knock-kneed” and the verb “crouching”. Instead of standing tall and marching proudly in their uniforms, the men are weary in their disgusting “sacks” and some had even “lost their boots”. I feel sympathetic towards the “blood-shod” men and the horrible pain they had to endure.

It is important to note that the word “also” in the first sentence links it to the point at the start of the paragraph about the transformation of the young and fit soldiers.

To demonstrate your understanding of the language, make sure you try to define and explain each “example”. In this analysis, there is a straightforward comment that the word “hag” refers to old women and that “crouching” is the opposite of standing tall.

Finally, try to identify the device or poetic technique in your “explanation”.

Practice

Try the Point Example Explanation approach for yourself by exploring the rest of the verse:

“Bent double, like old beggars under sacks
Knock-kneed, crouching like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas shells dropping softly behind.”

You can use the same point about the transformation of the young soldiers or try to another argument of your own.

Learn More

Thanks for reading!