IB DP Language A Language and Literature – sample text analysis – WWII vet diary

Before you read the “spoiler” bullet points below take a careful look at the text. Imagine it is a text you are using for one of your DP Language A Language and Literature assessments: the individual oral, the HL essay, or Paper 1 and analyze it accordingly. (This text would not be appropriate for Paper 2).

Source: Extract from Flight Lieutenant Lloyd Berryman
DFC 412 Squadron, 126 Wing, Second Tactical Air Force RCAF https://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/second-world-war/flyers-remembrance

A Flyer’s Remembrance

Return to Normandy – June 2004

I was pleasantly surprised to be included in the detailed list of Veterans to attend the 60th Anniversary commemoration of D-Day in France in June 2004.

The Canadian Fighter Pilots Association and the Air Force Association of Canada recommended my participation. The War Amps Association, the co-ordinating body for Veterans Affairs, included me in the “Back to Normandy” delegation as part of the RCAF contingent.

Of course when the full weight of the recommendation hit home, that I would be one of only 60 Veterans invited to comprise the Official Delegation, and only five would represent the Royal Canadian Air Force, I was both deeply proud and humbled.

My experience as a Spitfire fighter pilot in the Second Tactical Air Force during World War Two, in the cause of restoring freedom and justice, has been a compelling influence in my life. Sixty years after the invasion of Nazi Europe, the 11-day journey back to Normandy in June 2004, has served to cement that belief.

This, then, is the objective in providing this compilation, an opportunity to organise my thoughts on a profoundly humbling series of events both then and now. It is done in the hope it will evoke a better appreciation of the enormous role played by our country in achieving victory by the Allies in World War Two.

D-Day was the largest sea borne invasion in our history. As Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight David Eisenhower carried the weight of his responsibility with him on that day in the form of a note he would have released in the event of disaster on the coast of France. 

“Our landings have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have ordered a withdrawal of the invasion force,” it read. “Our troops, air force and navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do. If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt, it is mine alone.”

General Eisenhower did not need those words but they hint at the burden of responsibility he must have felt on the eve of the invasion.”

Some elements of the text to consider:

  • The context of the diary: written by a WWII veteran (a pilot) on his return to Normandy decades later
  • The fact that the diary is published on the website of Veteran Affairs Canada (part of the Canadian government)
  • How the diary includes memories of WWII but also the author’s thoughts on the 60th anniversary commemoration
  • The use of language such as “pleasantly surprised,” “full weight,” and “deeply proud and humbled”
  • The simplicity or complexity of the language
  • The simplicity or complexity of the structure (e.g. paragraph and sentence length, the use of simple vs. complex sentences)

When the IB has used websites for Paper 1 in the past (going back to the previous curriculum) it has often simplified the text but keeps some images from the original.

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