Question 1

Read again the first part of Source A:

I’ve always loved telling stories. It’s the most natural thing in the world for me. When I was a musician and folk singer, I would chat to the audience between songs. I wouldn’t tell jokes, as such, I told wee[1] stories.

Once, in the early days, when I’d forgotten the lyrics to an old Jimmy Driftwood song, I stopped singing and started riffing[2] on the story of the song to cover myself. The audience loved it. They laughed and cheered when I’d finished and I thought to myself, oh, this is interesting!

So, I was a storyteller long before I was a comedian. It was something I learned at school and later in the army, but most of all from my time as a welder in the shipyards on the Clyde. When we stopped work for a cup of tea, and the heavy machinery fell silent, the stories always flowed.

They could be rough, rude, cruel even, but they were always funny. And there were some brilliantly funny men there, much funnier than me, real patter[3] merchants who could’ve made a life out of comedy. But I guess I had a banjo[4] and that gave me a ticket out.

[1] Small

[2] Improvising

[3] Chat

[4] A small string instrument, like a guitar

Choose four statements below which are true:

  • He used to be a magician
  • He was in the army
  • He travelled by ship
  • He played the banjo
  • He enjoys telling stories
  • He didn’t like singing
  • He played the guitar
  • He was a ship welder

[4 marks]

Question 2

You need to refer to Source A and Source B for this question.

Use details from both sources to write a summary of what you understand about their different style of humour.

[8 marks]

Question 3

Look again at this part of Source B:

When Joe was brought into the dark room on so short a notice, his sensations were rather complicated, but they speedily resolved themselves into a firm persuasion that his father was not dead. A variety of causes led him to this conclusion, among which the most prominent were, his having very recently seen his father in the best health; and, besides several half-suppressed winks and blinks from Black Sam, his observing, by looking closely at the sheet, that his deceased parent still breathed.

With very little hesitation the boy perceived what line of conduct he ought to adopt, and at once bursting into a roar of the most distracted grief, flung himself upon the floor, and rolled about in a seeming transport of anguish.

John, not having seen so much of public life as his brother, was not so cunning, and perceiving in his father’s death nothing but a relief from flogging[1] and books (for both of which he had a great dislike), and the immediate possession of all the plate in the dining room, skipped about the room, indulging in various snatches of song, and, snapping his fingers, declared that he was glad to hear it.

[1] Violent beating

How does the writer use language to describe how Joe and his brother reacted to news of their father’s apparent death?

[12 marks]

Question 4

For this question, you need to refer to the whole of Source A, together with the whole of Source B:

Compare how the writers convey their different perspectives on comedy.

In your answer, you could:

  • compare their different perspectives on comedy
  • compare the methods the writers use to convey their perspectives
  • support your response with references to both texts.

[16 marks]


Question 5

“School classrooms are such serious places. Lessons should be more fun and teachers should tell humorous, interesting stories to entertain students. It would make learning much more enjoyable”

Write a letter to the Education Secretary explaining your point of view on this statement.

[40 marks]

Author: Paul

Paul has been a professional tutor for over 14 years. He’s helped countless students boost their grades, mostly via 1:1 tutoring, and has also run large revision events. He has a 1st Class Degree in English Literature, and before joining Save My Exams he ran an education publishing company, where he edited over 100 books on GCSE/A Level exam texts.