Gatsby vs Cameron for the Panama Hat

Eton Tests

Another Eton College King’s Scholarship English examination paper from 2012 makes interesting reading. Compared with yesterday’s 2014 example I posted, this actually offers reading material and questions that could/should engage, though the difference in the reading demands and potential responses seem at quite disproportionate odds for an exam that is apparently meant to set the same standard. Wouldn’t get away with that for national GCSEs…..

I am bound to be amused by the following latter part of the extract given from Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby as it would seem to potentially reflect the actual experience of likely candidates for the scholarship! And lest anyone suggest that as a scholarship this is targeted at the less privileged or a broad social background: I suppose it could be, but when the College’s own literature explaining the purpose makes a reference like In most papers of the examination there is a wide range of questions, so that any clever boy has ample opportunity to prove his worth, the language is so steeped in a public school paradigm of that ‘clever boy’ it seems unlikely:

Screenshot 2016-04-07 13.39.28

If I was undertaking a response to question 4 [b] I would, as an Eton aspirant, most likely chose the relatively modern Gatsby because the more contemporary and useful godfather figure Cameron isn’t available. I would call my essay Gatsby and His Panama Hat, writing obliquely but dreadfully keenly about the lavish lifestyle I could lead when such a ‘father’ figure guides and teaches me how to make the most of my offshore funds:

Screenshot 2016-04-07 13.40.16

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