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Today we are Understanding the requirements of timed essays Learning how to annotate a poem.

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1 Today we are Understanding the requirements of timed essays Learning how to annotate a poem

2 TIMED ESSAYS In the exam you will have to write an essay under timed conditions You will be given a range of questions to choose from, seperated into different categories: Prose, Drama, Poetry, Media, Non- Fiction, Language

3 TIMED ESSAYS It is up to YOU to select the question that best fits one of your studied texts …however, you cannot use the same text/author for the timed essay AND the set text questions! And you have to learn your quotes off by heart

4 TIMED ESSAYS The good news is you will have PLENTY of practice on this You will know your texts inside and out by the time the exam rolls round

5 SO WHAT IS OUR PRACTICE RUN TEXT? MEDUSA By Carol Ann Duffy

6 Carol ann who? Carol Ann Duffy!

7 Carol ANN DUFFY Born in Glasgow, She is the first female AND the first Scottish Poet Laureate – basically the national poet, traditionally appointed by the queen. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender and violence in an accessible language.

8 MEDUSA Taken from “The World’s Wife” –an anthology of poems by Duffy In this anthology mythical and historical female characters are given a new, feminist spin

9 MEDUSA who?

10 medusa The story of Medusa is both sad and symbolic. It comes from one of the most famous Greek myths. In Ancient Greece people believed that there were multiple gods living on Mount Olympus. These gods were responsible for everything from the sun rising to the crops growing.

11 medusa The three ‘main’ gods were Zeus (king of the heavens), Hades (king of the underworld) and Poseidon (king of the sea). Fyi they were not great dudes

12 medusa Zeus (and many of his family) were also known to forge relationships with mortals, sometimes without their permission. In addition to the gods there were also many monsters for mortals to cope with. Many of these monsters started out as gods and mortals who had been cursed for a mistake or moment of pride and arrogance.

13 Medusa was the daughter of two gods and one of three sisters. She was the only mortal of the three and said to be incredibly beautiful. She had many suitors as a result. However Medusa wasn’t interested in marriage. Instead, she wanted to serve as a priestess to the goddess Athena.

14 Unfortunately, her beauty caught the eye of the god Poseidon. Despite Medusa’s pleas, Poseidon violated her inside the temple of Athena

15 Medusa was devastated. This violation meant that she could no longer serve as a priestess. It was unlikely that any man would want to marry her now either However the worst was yet to come…

16 Athena was furious that her temple had been disrespected and wanted vengeance However she did not target her anger at her uncle Poseidon Instead, her wrath fell upon Medusa

17 The once beautiful maiden was turned into a hideous, grotesque creature Venomous snakes grew from her head and anyone who looked directly at her was turned to stone

18 Medusa soon became ugly on the inside too Angry and bitter, she became a creature that mortals feared Enter Perseus, a hero (whose father just happened to be Zeus) on a noble quest. He was tasked with the job of killing Medusa.

19 Perseus’ cunning ensured that he won the battle between man and monster He decapitated Medusa by looking at her in the reflection of his shield – thus avoiding being turned to stone

20 Perseus was called a hero… naturally

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23 Activity one Read the poem to yourself Remember that Duffy often uses a dramatic monologue (taking on a persona) to give us another side to a traditional story

24 Activity two: analysis You are now going to work in groups of four to annotate the poem Each group will be given a specific section of the poem to look at Use your technique list to help you!

25 A suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy grew in my mind, which turned the hairs on my head to filthy snakes as though my thoughts hissed and spat on my scalp.

26 My bride’s breath soured, stank in the grey bags of my lungs. I’m foul mouthed now, foul tongued, yellow fanged. There are bullet tears in my eyes. Are you terrified?

27 Be terrified. It’s you I love, perfect man, Greek God, my own; but I know you’ll go, betray me, stray from home. So better for me if you were stone.

28 I glanced at a buzzing bee, a dull grey pebble fell to the ground. I glanced at a singing bird, a handful of dusty gravel spattered down

29 I looked at a ginger cat, a housebrick shattered a bowl of milk. I looked at a snuffling pig, a boulder rolled in a heap of shit.

30 I stared in the mirror. Love gone bad showed me a Gorgon. I stared at a dragon. Fire spewed from the mouth of a mountain.

31 And here you come with a shield for a heart and a sword for a tongue and your girls, your girls. Wasn’t I beautiful Wasn’t I fragrant and young? Look at me now.

32 What is the speaker’s attitude to the ideas in the poem? What’s the mood and atmosphere of the poem? What creates this?

33 Why do you think Duffy chose to write a dramatic monologue from Medusa’s point of view?

34 Duffy’s Medusa It is for this reason that Medusa makes such a good metaphor for aging, the bitterness of betrayal and the fleeting nature of youth and beauty. If there is one theme or idea that runs through the character of Medusa it has to be loneliness. This poor woman has been forced to live apart from human society for almost the entire span of her life. Her curse did far more than make her ugly, it made her a monster to be feared by all humans. We have to ask ourselves, should we pity Medusa? What is more monstrous, Medusa or the curse?

35 Duffy’s Medusa The reason Duffy has chosen to breathe new life into Medusa is that this is a character quite simply packed full of fascinating imagery and symbolism. She is woman, after all, who has been persecuted by both men and women and has ultimately been cursed for a combination of her youthful beauty and pride.

36 ‘a suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy’ Duffy uses groups of threes as a means to build up rhythm from the very first line. Highlights a climax is coming. A vague idea that something is wrong Unsure of something, more definite Conflict > envy > has someone/some thing to fixate on Demonstrates there is a lack of trust, a bad history –has her trust been broken before? She has low self-esteem / is lacking in confidence. Negative tone/opening! This is what turned her into a Gorgon

37 ‘filthy snakes’ Devious Dangerous Vicious The destructive power of jealousy turns Medusa's hair to 'filthy snakes' Reference to the mythological Medusa – snakes for hair

38 “my bride’s breath soured, stank” Marriage, connotations of white: purity, innocence, naivety, beauty Change from good (bride) to bad (soured) Connotations of soured: milk gone off, bitter taste Description of another transformation from good to bad. She is turning into something terrible and monstrous.

39 “There are bullet tears in my eyes” Harsh image which reflects her stony feelings. She is cold, closed off. Metaphor –she kills with a look the way a bullet from a gun would Turning her own tears to stone?

40 “Are you terrified? Be terrified” Linking phase –one stanza to another. First is a rhetorical question. Directs her question at her ‘perfect man, Greek God’ – reference to her husband/Perseus or possibly Poseidon Suggestion of a threat, she wants her revenge, she is warning him of it or possibly trying to scare him

41 “Are you terrified? Be terrified” Linking phase –one stanza to another. First is a rhetorical question. Directs her question at her ‘perfect man, Greek God’ – reference to her husband/Perseus or possibly Poseidon Suggestion of a threat, she wants her revenge, she is warning him of it or possibly trying to scare him

42 Today we are Analysing “Medusa” Discussing the extended metaphor

43 THE POEM This dramatic monologue offers an unusual perspective on the Gorgon Medusa. She is a byword for terror and ugliness, feared for her terrible looks and breath. Duffy gives us a fresh take on the story of Medusa.

44 In giving Medusa a chance to tell her story, Duffy asks us to consider an alternative view. She asks us to see Medusa as a woman who, fearing betrayal by her husband, developed the terrible physical characteristics for which she is so well known.

45 Today we are Revising the structure of Critical Essays Planning our timed essay of “Medusa”

46 The Question!!! Choose a poem in which the speaker’s personality is gradually revealed. Show how, through the content and language of the poem, aspects of the character gradually emerge.

47 Whaaat? Choose a poem in which the speaker’s personality is gradually revealed. Show how, through the content and language of the poem, aspects of the character gradually emerge.

48 Breaking it down We need to think about the most important techniques Duffy uses Once we do that, we can look at individual quotations Then we can ‘flesh out’ the analysis of each

49 The Techniques We will focus on: Tone Imagery Rhythm –enjambment

50 TECHNIQUEANALYSIS Paragraph 1 Bitter and angry: ‘as though my thoughts hissed and spat on my scalp’. Becomes tragic and self- pitying: ‘Wasn’t I fragrant and young? Look at me now’ Paragraph 2 Physical transformation –ugly on the inside and out: ‘ I’m foul mouthed now, foul tongued, yellow fanged.’ ‘I looked in the mirror / Love gone bad / showed me a Gorgon.’

51 TECHNIQUEANALYSIS Paragraph 3 Conversational but use of end stops and questions shows the different feelings she has: ‘but I know you’ll go, betray me, stray from home.’ ‘ And here you come with a shield for a heart and a sword for a tongue.’

52 In Paragraph 2 discuss: Physical transformation: monstrous, horrible. Possibly spouting lies/accusations 'now' = she was once beautiful? Reflection of a monster Mirror = Perseus killing her Is love/husband responsible for transformation or is she?

53 Today we are Planning our timed essay of “Medusa” Continuing to analyse the techniques used by Duffy

54 Remember to think about… How the technique reveals Medusa’s personality Why the technique is effectiveness

55 ‘as though my thoughts hissed and spat on my scalp’

56 Assonance of ‘hiss’ alongside the explosive onomatopoeia of ‘spat’ serve as indications of her fury and anger in her situation. Implies she has evil thoughts –biblical story of Eve, snake = the devil. Presents Medusa as bitter and angry –her thoughts hiss (simile) The snakes could also represent the actual snakes Medusa was cursed with instead of hair, which gives an indication of how she looks. Her jealous thoughts have come alive

57 ‘Wasn’t I fragrant and young? Look at me now’

58 Self-pitying, tragic tone. She seems sad to recognise what she is now, comparing this to how she was in the past Command in the second line. She is reasserting her power. She ultimately wants to punish him. Rhetorical question used. Does she want us to feel sorry for her? To remind her she was once beautiful and full of optimism? Or is she giving us a warning? If she telling us to be careful? Warning us about what jealousy and bitterness can turn you into?

59 In Stanza 2 metaphors are used to describe the physical decay of the jealous wife

60 “I’m foul mouthed now foul tongued”

61 “I’m foul mouthed now foul tongued, yellow fanged” Normally a metaphor used to describe a person who uses a lot of obscenities. In this case there is a literal sense of her mouth being filthy and putrescent (decaying), along with her tongue. Suggests she is a truly horrible person. Possibly spouting lies or accusations? Group of 3 – Repetition of ‘foul’ to emphasise how horrible, furious and monstrous she has become. Does she want us to be scared of her? Does she enjoy this feeling of power? The physical transformation is taking place –she is ugly on the inside and out. However ‘now’ suggests she wasn’t always like this, was she once beautiful?

62 “I stared in the mirror Love gone bad showed me a Gorgon”

63 Image of the mirror is a nod to how Perseus will be able to kill her. In the myth he used Medusa’s own reflection (in his shield) against her. In this poem, Medusa is (arguably) responsible for her own downfall. She seems sad to realise what she has become –the image staring back at her is a monster. She recognises her suspicions and jealousy have transformed her, as she has transformed others. But is she sorry for loving her husband? Is love/him responsible for this transformation –or is she? Metaphor! Half rhyme – draws attention to this. Gorgon = monster = what Medusa is.

64 “but I know you’ll go, betray me, stray from home”

65 Group of 3. How does she know? Has he done this before? She seems sad about this, resigned to the fact that no matter what she does, her husband will cheat on her. Half-rhyme of ‘know/go’ and ‘betray/stray’, intensifies the impact.

66 “And here you come with a shield for a heart and a sword for a tongue,”

67 Poor Medusa is resigned to her fate. She is almost accepting of what is to come –her demise/the demise of her marriage. She recognises that he has his “beautiful girls” and that she is no longer desirable to him. Husband’s arrival with a shield for his heart –is he protecting himself from Medusa? From the hurt of seeing what his once beautiful wife now looks like? Or does his heart belong to another woman now? Is he in fact shielding himself from his guilt? He can kill with harsh words – ’sword for a tongue’ Metaphors galore! The husband kills Medusa by not loving her. She in turn would rather he was stone than ignored her. A once loving relationship has been destroyed.

68 INTRO - TAGL MAIN BODY CONCLUSION

69 Topic Sentence Context Quote Explain Context Quote Explain Link

70 In the first stanza the speaker is presented as a bitter, angry woman whose fury at her unfaithful husband can be felt instantly. This is indicated through the use of a simile, “ as though my thoughts hissed and spat on my scalp”. Duffy effectively conveys Medusa’s personality as bitter because it is as though her thoughts have literally sprung from her head and turned into snakes. As serpents are often associated with the biblical downfall of Adam and Eve, it could be argued that this portrays Medusa as an evil woman. Her suspicious thoughts literally ‘hiss’ -as indicated through the sibilance of this line- and further add to the idea that she is a twisted soul.

71 However this changes towards the end of the poem when Medusa’s personality takes a radical turn. She becomes a tragic figure when she asks sadly, “Wasn’t I fragrant and young? Look at me now”. This shift in tone identifies Medusa as a lonely, pitiful woman as she comes to realise all that she has lost –her husband, her marriage and herself. She has undergone a metamorphosis, changing from a naïve, beautiful and young girl to a world weary, ugly woman. She is perhaps using this rhetorical question to look for affirmation; she wants the reader to remind her of what she used to be. Or perhaps this is her way of warning us against letting jealousy and doubt twist our minds. In summary, Duffy introduces “Medusa” as a woman full of pain and fury yet has her experience a moment of self- awareness at the end. It is this which presents Medusa not only as a jealous wife, but also as a truly tragic figure.

72 Introduction Title Author Genre Link back to question + 2 line summary of the text

73 Introduction Carol Ann Duffy’s poem “Medusa” explores the breakdown in the speaker’s marriage due to her jealousy and husband’s infidelity. Medusa comes across initially as an angry, bitter woman yet transforms into a tragic figure at the end. It is Duffy’s effective use of similes, metaphors, tone, enjambment and more which gradually reveal the speaker’s personality.

74 Introduction “Medusa” is an effective poem as it gradually reveals the personality of the speaker –a twisted, bitter woman who is ugly inside and out. Carol Ann Duffy successfully explores Medusa’s envy and jealousy by using techniques such as imagery, word choice and enjambment.

75 conclusions Link back to question How you’ve answered the question (sum up your main points) T A G

76 conclusions “Medusa” by Carol Ann Duffy is a fantastic poem which effectively explores the speaker’s personality. At the beginning of the poem she seems angry and full of revenge but by the end she realises what she has become –a pitiful, tragic shadow of her former self. It is through Duffy’s use of imagery, word choice et al. that the poem is made successful.

77 Critical essays Plan it!!! Introduction 3 main body paragraphs (TS.C.Q.E.C.Q.E.L) Conclusion 45 minutes

78 ‘Medusa’ is written in an angry and bitter tone which is shown in the following quotation: “as though my thoughts hissed And spat on my scalp’ This example presents Medusa as an angry and bitter character by using a simile to show she has thoughts that hiss. The reader can infer that her thoughts sound like a snake hissing which gives the impression that they are angry and dangerous. On another level, this implies that the character has evil thoughts as the biblical symbol of a snake represents the evil of the devil from the story of ‘Adam and Eve’ who were manipulated by a snake. Although quite literally the snakes could represent the actual snakes Medusa was cursed with instead of hair, which gives an indication of how she looks, the assonance of ‘hiss’ alongside the plosive onomatopoeia of ‘spat’ serve as indications of her fury and anger in her situation.

79 Throughout the poem, Duffy uses imagery to explore the anguish and dissatisfaction experienced by Medusa. In the opening lines we are told, “a suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy Grew in my mind, Which turned the hairs on my head to filthy snakes” The image Duffy creates here effectively portrays Medusa’s transformation and the fact that it was her negative emotions that cause

80 Topic Sentences Reflect the words of the task AND The focus of the paragraph e.g. Steinbeck uses the character of Candy to represent the elderly in the novel. TASK: Write topic sentence for each of the paragraphs on each of the four different characters and their dreams.

81 Context Give the context of your quote In other words, introduce it Don’t just quote out of nowhere!

82 Quote Self-explanatory! The quote should support your point

83 Explain Explain how your quote supports your point Basically, answer the question you’ve been asked

84 Link Tie your paragraph up into a neat little bow by linking back to the question


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