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IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 02

IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 02

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert

Q2. How does the writer bring out the thoughts and feelings of Kari Herbert in the passage from ‘The Explorer’s Daughter’?

In your answer, consider:

  • her understanding of the Inughuit people;
  • her description of the narwhal;
  • her feelings towards the hunt;
  • the use of language.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

Kari Herbert is experiencing conflict regarding the hunting of narwhals. This is because she has understanding of and respect for both the Inughuits and the narwhals.

Herbert has great respect for the Inughuit people, because of the difficulty of survival in such a harsh environment. She portrays them as extremely resourceful, for example by listing all the ways that they use the various parts of the narwhal. By describing the narwhal as an “essential contributor to the survival of the hunters”, Herbert shows how life in the Arctic is a real struggle. By referring to the Inughuits as “the hunters” throughout the passage, she emphasises the centrality of hunting to their lives and identities. In her description of the hunt, Herbert also expresses admiration for the way that they work as a team. The simile “the hunters spread like a net” shows that they are working together so well that they are almost like one whole tool. Herbert’s respect for the Inughuits is a key message in this passage.

As well as respecting the Inughuits, Herbert admires the narwhals in Thule. She uses beautiful vivid imagery, showing how the narwhals add to the natural beauty of the setting: “plumes of spray” which create a “spectral play of colour”. As well as providing factual information about the narwhals, Herbert portrays them as almost mystical; as she watches the narwhals in the water she begins to wonder “if the narwhal existed at all”, making them seem magical and elusive, like illusions. She also emphasises the intelligence of these creatures, as “their senses are keen” and “they talk to one another”, implicitly comparing them with the Inughuits who are hunting them.

Because of her respect for both Inughuits and narwhals, Herbert feels conflicted about the hunt. She recognises that killing narwhals is necessary for the Inughuits to survive, but her appreciation of the beauty and intelligence of the narwhals makes her reluctant to watch them be killed. This results in a conflict between her head and her heart; that is, between her reason and her emotion. She “urged the man on in [her] head”, but her “heart also urged the narwhal to dive, to leave, to survive”. The assonance and use of the triple infinitive here, combined with the repeated ‘v’ sound, add a sentimental and dramatic tone to this feeling, creating a sense of tragedy and highlighting her conflict.

At the heart of this passage is a dilemma: between recognising the necessity for hunting for the survival of our own species, and the desire to protect beautiful animals. At the end of the passage, Herbert admits with simple certainty that hunting is an “absolute necessity” for the Inughuits, confirming her loyalty to the struggling humans in Thule.

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IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 03

IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 03

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert

Q3. In the passage from ‘The Explorer’s Daughter’, how does the writer use language to make the passage appealing to the reader?

In your answer, you should think about:

  • the descriptions of the Inughuits’ lives;
  • the description of the narwhal;
  • her feelings towards the hunt.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

Kari Herbert uses a variety of language techniques to share with the reader her respect for the Inughuits, the narwhals’ beauty, and her conflicted feelings towards hunting.

Herbert emphasises the Inughuits’ struggle to survive to interest and engage the reader. Throughout the passage, she refers to them as “the hunters”, showing that for them, hunting is not just a hobby; it is crucial to their survival. In the description of the hunt, Herbert says that the hunt “was like watching a vast, waterborne game”, highlighting the teamwork involved. This simile is also ironic, since the hunt is actually serious and dangerous. By emphasising the danger of the hunt, Herbert captures the reader’s attention and makes them interested to see what will happen next. For example, the women’s reactions create tension: they watch the hunters, “spinning round at a small gasp or jump”, capturing their anxiety about their husbands.

Herbert’s descriptions of the narwhals highlight their natural beauty. This is particularly engaging for the reader, since the passage describes their deaths. Herbert describes the stunning beauty of her surroundings, for example with the metaphor “glittering kingdom”, which makes it sound like a rich and magical place. The narwhals themselves contribute to the beauty of the area, with their spray “catching the light in a spectral play of colour”. This poetic, figurative language creates a vivid visual image for the reader, encouraging them to appreciate the beauty of the narwhals, and their suitability for their natural environment. This adds poignancy to the idea that they are being hunted by the Inughuits.

Because Herbert has induced respect for both the narwhals and the Inughuits, the reader is drawn into her conflicting emotions regarding the hunt. Initially, she builds tension about the hunt, encouraging the reader to share her excitement about ‘witnessing’ the event. For example, she was “scrambling” up to the lookout to see it; this vivid vocabulary shows her sense of urgency. However, this excitement becomes more complex as she experiences conflict between her head and her heart: in her head, she “urged the man on”, but in her heart, she “urged the narwhal to dive, to leave, to survive”. The assonance, triple structure and repeated ‘v’ sound draws the reader’s attention to this expression of emotional desire; it encourages the reader to reflect on the implications of such a beautiful creature being slaughtered.

Although Herbert uses language techniques to draw the reader into her emotional conflict, she doesn’t leave the reader in any doubt about whether the hunt should occur. The passage finishes with a simple but decisive statement – “Hunting is still an absolute necessity in Thule” – which persuades the reader that hunting must continue if the Inughuits are to survive.

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IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 04

IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 04

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert

Q4. How does the writer portray the importance of the narwhal to the Inughuits in the passage from ‘The Explorer’s Daughter’?

In your answer, you should consider:

  • the Inughuits’ way of life;
  • the writer’s feelings towards the hunt;
  • the use of language techniques.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

Although Kari Herbert has an emotional attachment to the narwhal, she emphasises that the hunting of it is necessary to the survival of the Inughuits.

Throughout the passage, Herbert shows the centrality of the narwhal to the Inughuits’ lives. She describes the narwhal as an “essential contributor to [their] survival”. The word “survival” highlights the fact that these people simply could not live without hunting the narwhal. Using scientific and factual language, Herbert describes how every part of the narwhal is used by the Inughuits, for things that the reader considers essential, such as food, shelter, light and heat. Every part of the narwhal is used by the Inughuits, showing that no part of the animal is wasted, and that its body has many essential purposes. The informative tone of this paragraph contrasts with the emotive description of the natural setting opening the passage, which contains poetic imagery. This shows the importance of considering the practicalities of surviving in such an environment, rather than simply being sentimental about its beauty.

By portraying the hunt as dangerous, Herbert shows that the narwhal is so important to the Inughuits that they risk their lives to catch them. This danger is evident in the reactions of the women who watch their family members hunting; their body language “spinning round at a small gasp or jump” – shows their anxiety. Herbert’s description of the hunt also positions the hunters as skilled but vulnerable. In particular, the equipment that they use to hunt is portrayed as insufficient to keep them safe. The emotive word “flimsy” is used to describe their kayaks, suggesting that they could easily break. Herbert describes their weapon with its composite parts: “two heads and one bladder”, which sounds makeshift and homemade, as if it would not be enough to defend the hunters against the large, powerful whales. The fact that the hunt is so risky and difficult shows that the Inughuits only do it because they absolutely have to.

Because Herbert feels sentimental about the narwhal, she feels conflicted while watching the hunt. This comprises a battle between her head, which understands the necessity of hunting the narwhal for the Inughuits, and her heart, which wants these beautiful creatures “to dive, to leave, to survive”. The triple infinitive structure and alliterative sounds create an exaggerated sense of tragedy which shows Herbert’s awareness that she is being sentimental. The passage ends, however, with a statement of clear certainty which leaves the reader in no doubt about the importance of the narwhal to the Inughuit’s survival: “Hunting is still an absolute necessity in Thule.”

By admitting to her own sentimental attachment to the narwhal yet still defending the hunt, Herbert persuades the reader to consider the practical necessity of the practice.

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IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 05

IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 05

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert

Q5. In the passage from ‘The Explorer’s Daughter’, how does the writer portray narwhals?

In your answer, think about:

  • the descriptions of the narwhal;
  • the importance of the narwhal to the Inughuits;
  • the writer’s feelings towards the hunt;
  • the writer’s use of language.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

Kari Herbert has great respect for the narwhals in their natural setting, but also recognises the centrality of narwhal-hunting to the survival of the Inughuits.

The living narwhal is described with great respect for its beauty and intelligence. The passage opens with a poetic description of the natural setting, of which the narwhals are a beautiful part: “the plumes of spray” create a “spectral play of colour”, which creates a striking visual image for the reader. In this description, there is also a sense of mystery surrounding the narwhals: “I fell to wondering if the narwhal existed at all”. This makes them seem like beautiful illusions. Herbert also highlights the intelligence of the narwhals. By using human vocabulary in the statement “they talk to one another” (as opposed to, for example, “they communicate”) makes them seem extremely intelligent. Their hearing is also described as more developed than humans’, again portraying Herbert’s respect for them.

However, Herbert also acknowledges the importance of hunting narwhals to the lives of the Inughuits. After the sentimental description of the narwhals in their beautiful natural setting, Herbert adopts a factual tone to describe the various uses for the narwhal’s body. This may shock to the reader: “the dark rich meat” and “the blubber” is difficult to think about when the reader has built respect and emotional attachment for the animal. However, Herbert goes on to describe the essential uses of the narwhal, such as food, heat and shelter, forcing the reader to reconsider their aversion to these animals being hunted. Herbert also explains why hunting narwhals is still necessary in the modern world: there is “only one” supply ship per year, and the supply-carrying plane can “only carry” a small amount of goods. The repetition of “only” shows that this modern intervention is not enough to justify ceasing the practice of whale-hunting.

Herbert herself experiences this conflict between attachment to the narwhal and the knowledge that they have to be killed in order for the Inughuits to survive. This conflict is expressed through a battle between Herbert’s head and heart. She respects the hunter for his bravery in daring to do something so dangerous yet so crucial. However, her emotional side also wants the whale “to dive, to leave, to survive”. The language techniques in this short phrase – the triple infinitive structure, assonance and alliterative repetition of the letter ‘v’ – create an exaggerated sense of drama and tragedy, showing Herbert’s awareness that she is being irrationally affected by her emotional attachment to the animal.

Although the narwhals are portrayed as beautiful and intelligent, and Herbert acknowledges that it is natural to want them to live, she also shows the importance of their being hunted, so that the Inughuits can survive.

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IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 01

IGCSE The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert Model Essays Question 01

Edexcel English IGCSE: The Explorer’s Daughter by Kari Herbert

Q1. How does the writer show the conflict in her thoughts and feelings about hunting in the Explorer’s Daughter?

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The writer admires and respects the narwhal, but also recognises the necessity of hunting for the Inughuits. She explicitly states her emotional conflict during the description of the hunt.

By focusing on the beauty of nature, including the narwhal, the writer shows that she is conflicted about the idea of hunting. She reminds the reader of the magnificence of nature with vivid visual imagery, such as a metaphor of the “glittering kingdom”. The narwhals themselves are also described as beautiful and worthy of respect. One vivid image in particular shows that the narwhals contribute to the natural beauty of the setting: “the plumes of spray from the narwhal catching the light in a spectral play of colour”. The narwhals are also portrayed as “intelligent creatures” with “keen” senses and the ability to “talk to one another”. This focus on their intelligence challenges the idea that they deserve to be hunted and killed.

On the other hand, the writer also appreciates the necessity of the narwhal-hunting to the survival of the Inughuits: a group of people for whom she has great respect. She describes the narwhal as “an essential contributor to the survival of the hunters”, using strong vocabulary to emphasise the importance of the hunt for the Inughuits. By listing the uses for the many parts of the narwhal, the writer portrays the hunters as resourceful, whilst also highlighting the difficulty of their lives. For example, the narwhal’s fat is “the only source of light and heat” for them. Thus by portraying the vital importance of the hunt, the writer highlights the contradictions in her loyalties.

During the hunt, the writer experiences conflict between her head and her heart. Logically, she supports the hunters: “I urged the man on in my head”. She experiences fear and excitement in her support of the hunters, highlighting the dangers of the hunt: the hunters’ boats are “flimsy” and they could “easily” be drowned. She also shows respect for the hunters’ skill. The simile “the hunters spread like a net” creates the impression that they can act skilfully as a team, becoming one joint tool to catch the narwhal. However, she is also emotionally attached to the narwhal: “my heart also urged the narwhal to dive, to leave, to survive”. The triple infinitive structure and the repeated ‘v’ sound here create an emotional, sentimental tone, suggesting an element of tragedy; she doesn’t want the beautiful narwhal to die.

The writer respects both the Inughuits and the narwhals, and it is this conflict of appreciation and respect which leads her to be unsure of her feelings about the hunt. Although she strongly believes that the Inughuits need to hunt to survive, she cannot completely disregard her emotional attachment to the narwhals.

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