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English Lit/Lang Anthology [Samuel Pepy's Diary] Cheat Sheet by

A Level English Lit/Lang [OCR Exam Board] Samuel Pepy's Diary has already come up in an exam before (2018), so it's unlikely that it'll come up again.

Portrait of Samuel Pepys

About the diary

- Samuel Pepys kept a daily diary from 1660-1669.
- This diary entry in particular is dated for 2nd September, 1666.
- The diary was first published int he 19th century.


Genre: Diary
Register: Formal
Audience: (For a contem­porary audience) history lovers, Pepys wrote at the time for himself and members of the public.
Mode: Written discourse - its archaic language shows its 15th century nature.
Purpose: To entertain and inform about the historical events (and language, somewhat)
Subject: Pepys talks, from first-hand event, about the Great Fire of London. He describes the event and his high status at the time.


Discourse: (1)written or spoken commun­icate or debate. (2) speak or write author­ita­tively about a topic.

Narrative voice: First person

Follows the schema of a typical diary - shows the time and date.

As it is a written piece, it was well-p­lanned and the conven­tions are very complex - this reflects his level of education and high-s­tatus.


Minor sentences used: "2nd (Lords Day)."

Use of complex declar­ative sentences: "So, I rose, and slipped on my night gown, and went to her window; and thought it to be on the back side of Marke-Lane at the farthest, but being unused to such fires as follow­ed..."

Use of polysy­ndeton: (Same example above), repeated use of "­and­".

Parent­hesis: "(who it seems, are related to them)" -extends the knowledge of the reader.

Exclam­ative then interr­ogative sentence: "­Lord! What can I do?" - shows the shock/­hor­ror­/fear of the writer.

Lexis and Semantics

Use of archaic language: "­nig­ht-­gow­n", "­sta­id"

Metaphor: "­horrid malicious bloody flame"

Semantic field of fire and destru­ction: "­mal­ici­ous­"­/"fl­ami­ng"/­"­cra­cki­ng"


Pragma­tics: the brand of lingui­stics dealing with language in use and the contexts in which it is used, including such matters as deixis, the taking of turns in conver­sation, text organi­sation, presup­pos­ition, and implic­ature.

People in Samuel Pepy's life: "Sir J. Robins­on", "­Mic­hel­l"/"S­ara­h"/"Lord Mayor"/­"King and Duke of York" - shows the importance and/or wealth of Samuel Pepys.

Places where the fire broke out: "The bridge­"­/"St Manges Church­"­/"St­eel­e-y­ard­"


Phonology: (1) the system of contra­stive relati­onships among the speech sounds that constitute the fundam­ental components of a language. (2) the brand of lingui­stics that deals with systems of sounds (including or excluding phonetics) within a language or between different langua­ges."

Fricative allite­ration: "fine flame", "­flakes of fire", - shows, through soft sounds, the movement of the flames.
Onomat­opoeia: - "­cra­cki­ng" shows the way that the fire is destru­cting things.


Samuel Pepys was a member of Parliament for Torys but was most famous for his diary.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 was a year after the Great Plague in London that killed over 75000 people, compared to the 6 that died in the fire.


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