Presentation on theme: "Know the poems! This means you should be able to: 1. Quote extensively (in completion?) from between 8-12 poems. 2. Be able to summarise the main themes."— Presentation transcript:
Know the poems! This means you should be able to: 1. Quote extensively (in completion?) from between 8-12 poems. 2. Be able to summarise the main themes of each poem from memory (see example on the next slide). These can often be used in essays to introduce the key ideas of a poem before analysing in detail. 3. Be able to select appropriate quotations to highlight the stated themes. 4. Be able to highlight key language and structural points from memory. 5. Be able to use literary language to analyse the points highlighted. 6. Remember 5/25 Marks are available for ‘Knowledge and Understanding’.
In ‘Valentine’, Duffy seeks to subvert the conventions of St Valentine’s day (and indeed the conventions of traditional romantic poetry) by replacing the worn out and clichéd gifts of love with the offering of an onion. For Duffy the onion becomes a much more honest reflection of the complexities of love than ‘cute cards’ or ‘kissograms’. By comparing love to the many layered nature of the onion, she identifies the range and variety in the romantic experience and, in particular, she leads us to an understanding of the juxtaposition between the ‘promise’ of love and the emotional suffering and possessiveness that love so often brings.
Again, without knowing the poems really well it will be difficult for you to sustain a response. If you do know them well… 1. Read all of the titles carefully (both the poetry and general literature questions) before deciding which title is most appealing. 2. Highlight the key words and requirements of the question (what is it asking; how many texts do you need to use etc) and think carefully about which poems you would use. Many students make poor choices and select poems that are only partially suitable for the question. 3. Plan your essay: points to make, quotations to use (depending on the reliability of your memory, you may want to jot down the quotations in full here) 4. Make sure all points relate to the title! 5. Remember 5/25 marks are available for ‘Responding to the Question’.
Overall Argument: Poetry shows us that love is complex but seemingly universal emotional state and is manifest in a variety of human experiences with a variety of human responses. It can be moving, sensual, shocking, possessive, isolating, unwanted, surprising. Poems to use: ‘Mean Time’, ‘Body of a Woman’, ‘Spinster’ Points:Evidence: Love can be painful‘The clocks slid back an hour / and stole light from my life’ Love can cause regret‘…there are words I would never have said’ Love can make us feel that life is pointless ‘But we will be dead, as we know / beyond all light.’ Love can be exciting and sensual ‘Oh the goblets of the breast!’ Love can make us want to possess ‘You look like a world lying in surrender’ and be possessed And so on…
How far did you identify different ‘speaking voices’ in the poems which you studied? How was a speaking voice created and what were its qualities in at least three poems you have studied? The creation of a unique ‘voice’ is arguably one of the chief concerns of the poet. Through the poet’s voice (or sometimes voices), we engage with the world from a different perspective, a perspective that is often beyond our own narrow understanding. So, for example, we can see the world through the eyes of an alienated and disenfranchised youth in Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Stealing’; we can appreciate the hopelessness and disillusionment in Duffy’s ‘Havisham’; we can get closer to the bitter frustrations of a woman coming to terms with feelings of loss, betrayal and victimization in Sylvia Plath’s ‘Daddy’. The very different and distinctive voices created in these poems are the media by which these poets can communicate their sometimes brutal, often moving, but always profoundly important truths about what it is to be a human being.
1. A response to the question (in purple) 2. Examples from the poems that you will analyze (in green) 3. A clear idea of the argument that you will use (in red) 4. Look again at the example introduction:
The creation of a unique ‘voice’ is arguably one of the chief concerns of the poet. Thorough the poet’s voice (or sometimes voices), we engage with the world from a different perspective, a perspective that is often beyond our own narrow understanding. So, for example, we can see the world through the eyes of an alienated and disenfranchised youth in Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Stealing’; we can appreciate the hopelessness and disillusionment in Duffy’s ‘Havisham’; we can get closer to the bitter frustrations of a woman coming to terms with feelings of loss, betrayal and victimization in Sylvia Plath’s Daddy. The very different and distinctive voices created in these poems are the media by which these poets can communicate their sometimes brutal, often moving, but always profoundly important truths about what it is to be a human being. 1. A response to the question (in purple) 2. Examples from the poems that you will analyze (in green) 3. A clear idea of the argument that you will use (in red)
1. Please remember that the examiner will expect you to compare and contrast the poems that you are writing about. Try not to write 2/3 ‘mini- essays’. 2. You can plan to make your points explicitly comparative (e.g.. both Duffy and Plath at times make use of a tone of regret in their poems; or both poets see love as possessive in nature; or both Heaney and Plath use natural imagery to reinforce their points about love (although of course from very different perspectives) and select evidence from both poems as you write. 3. You can also make comparative statements throughout the essay (e.g. Unlike Plath, in ‘Adultery’, Duffy sees physical love as dangerously exciting and engaging. She relishes the physical, human connection that Plath seems to reject in ‘Spinster’. 4. Remember 5/25 marks are available for ‘Presentation’.
1. Always think about the order of the points you make. Make sure that there is a logic to you structure – remember the presentation mark! 2. If possible, start with the most straightforward points / easiest poems to help build confidence. 3. Consider summarising the main themes of the poem that you are analysing (see example from earlier) so that you can show the examiner that you understand its main themes. 4. Always make sure that your points are clearly stated and that your evidence directly supports them. 5. Points should be linked to each other (discursive markers) and clearly linked to the title. Topic sentence – seamlessly embedded quotations – analysis – linking sentences. 6. You need to offer both an explanation of how the evidence reinforces your argument / connects to the title and show that you can comment on how the language of the quotation supports the overall point. 7. Use technical language and a sophisticated, academic vocabulary – don’t use colloquial expressions, a conversational tone or, god-forbid, slang. 8. Remember 5/25 marks are available for ‘Formal Use of Language’.
It is vitally important that you show the examiner that you appreciate the ways that writers use language to reinforce meaning. In order to do this you will need to identify specific features of the poems, use technical language to describe them, discuss the effects of those features and show how they relate to the themes/topics under discussion. For example, consider the following quotation: ‘She judged petals in disarray, /The whole season, sloven’ Here, as in the poem as a whole, Plath uses ‘spring’ as an extended metaphor for the the chaotic disorder of human feeling. The ‘Spinster’ reels away from spring because, like love, it is portrayed as unpredictable and untidy. The language used is important. The ‘Spinster’ ‘judges’ spring; adopts a patronising moral stance and the conventionally appealing ‘Petals’ are seen as jumbled and messy. Plath then personifies spring as slovenly which is again unexpected considering that spring is usually seen as the embodiment of purity, vitality and natural energy. The hyperbole, ‘whole’ and the sibilance in these lines suggest the disgust of the speaker’s feelings as the words are almost spat out. Remember 5/25 marks are available for ‘Appreciation of Literary Features’.
A conclusion should, of course, bring your argument to a logical end. It should re-state you main argument(s) and briefly show how you arrived at this point. You may want to give a few specific examples of evidence used as well. See the example on the next page.
As we have seen, Duffy, Neruda and Plath all engage with the concept and emotional state of ‘love’ although they do so from very different perspectives. In ‘Valentine’, Duffy examines the gap between conventional symbols of love and the much more complex reality of how love manifests itself in the human experience. In ‘Havisham’, Duffy primarily explores the idea of ‘lost love’ and takes on the persona of the reflective, sometimes melancholic lover struggling to come to terms with love’s end. On the other hand, in ‘Spinster’, Plath rejects the very notion of ‘romantic’ love and exposes the impulse for a withdrawal from romantic liaison. Love, as all of these poets show, is a common and fundamental but also highly complex and confusing state of body and mind.
Good Luck! But, even better, create your own good luck by being properly prepared!