Presentation on theme: "English Leaving Certificate Exam Papers Paper 1 Paper 1 Section 1: Comprehending Section 2: Composing Paper 2 Paper 2 Section 1: The Single Text – Big."— Presentation transcript:
English Leaving Certificate Exam Papers Paper 1 Paper 1 Section 1: Comprehending Section 2: Composing Paper 2 Paper 2 Section 1: The Single Text – Big Maggie, John B Keane. Section 2: The Comparative Study Section 3: Unseen poem and questions Prescribed poem and questions
Poet: Sylvia Plath Born Boston 1932 Exceled in school Father died when she was 8 years old – Plath experienced a loss of faith as a result of this. In 1941 Sylvia's first poem was printed in the children's section of the Boston Herald. Attended Smith College in 1950 – became editor of a magazine. Had both successes and failures in her publications – lead to a ‘high-low’ life in which she often questioned her own talents.
Poet: Sylvia Plath Spent time in a psychiatric hospital (attempted suicide in 1953) 1955 Fulbright scholarship to Cambridge. Meets poet Ted Hughes in Feb. 1956, they marry in June Two children (Frieda and Nicholas) + cheating husband = rocky marriage!
Poet: Sylvia Plath Plath continued to write powerful poetry however the strain of a failed marriage and the weariness of a lifelong battle with depression simply became too much for Plath. In February of 1963 she took her own life. She was 30 years old.
Sylvia Plath: Poems to cover “Child” “The Arrival of the Bee-Box” “Poppies in July”
“CHILD” By Sylvia Plath
“Child” Read the text General class discussion – first impressions. Content of poem Language Themes
Pre-reading: Context: This poem was written in 1962 after the birth of Sylvia’s second child, Nicholas. Unfortunately the birth of this child coincided with a very painful time for Plath, during which her marriage broke up. Ted, moved to London with his lover, leaving a bitter Plath with two children in Devon.
On top of Plath’s own mental anguish [over marriage breakdown] it seems that her depression could also be classed as postpartum. [Symptoms include sadness, fatigue, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, reduced libido, crying episodes, anxiety, and irritability. ]
Postpartum depression may lead mothers to be inconsistent with childcare. Women diagnosed with postpartum depression often focus more on the negative events of childcare. Plath in this poem begins in a positive light in Verse One, however, relapses as the lyrics unfold.
“Child” by Sylvia Plath The Poem Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing. I want to fill it with color and ducks, The zoo of the new Whose name you meditate-- April snowdrop, Indian pipe, Little Stalk without wrinkle, Pool in which images Should be grand and classical Not this troublous Wringing of hands, this dark Ceiling without a star. poem begins The poem begins with the speaker (Plath) celebrating the beauty of her child’s eyes. In the beginning, she is hopeful to fill these eyes with “colour and ducks” – to stimulate her child’s imagination [nurturing] Nature/Natural references - Flowers: white, innocent, delicate, youthful “without wrinkle”. Pool: naturally reflecting positive, exuberant images of the child’s fulfilled life. Verse four sees a shift in mood: colours fade to “dark...without a star” The image of “troublous wringing of hands” highlights the Plath’s frustration and disenchantment with her mother- role
The Title Why is this poem entitled “Child”? Entitled “Child”, it is a poem about a nameless child who has been brought into a dark, uncertain yet beautiful world. However, because of the relationship this child shares with his mother [who is depressed] his existence also becomes dark and colourless. Nameless unattached to her newborn child
Plath’s journal entry… “I felt very proud of Nicholas, and fond. It had taken a night to be sure I liked him...” In 2009, aged 47, Nicholas, himself, commited suicide. Did he ever have a chance in life?
Language Opening stanza uses joyful and optimistic language Her poetry is decorated, again, with colour. Colour, for Plath in this poem, represents living, vitality and positivity: “colour and ducks”. Colourless (“dark”) represents depression. “Child” by Sylvia Plath The Poem Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing. I want to fill it with color and ducks, The zoo of the new Whose name you meditate-- April snowdrop, Indian pipe, Little Stalk without wrinkle, Pool in which images Should be grand and classical Not this troublous Wringing of hands, this dark Ceiling without a star.
Language The metaphor of “The zoo of the new” is so rich with meaning; a world of variety, learning and newness. She uses a playful, childlike language in the life she envisages for her child. Image of the child: “April snowdrop, Indian pipe” – flowers. What do they represent in this poem? Snowdrops are delicate white flowers, here it represents the purity and innocence of the young child. The Indian pipe is also white and delicate looking. But this is also the first hint of darkness in the poem because this flower lives in the darkest part of the forest. It feeds on the decaying matter of other plants. It may represent how Plath felt she was drawing the happiness out of her own child.
Language Alliteration “w” in stanza three – “without wrinkle” captures the smoothness and clarity of newborn skin and juxtaposes the lone “wringing of hands” in the final stanza which captures the poet’s sense of bewilderment. Assonance [repetition of vowels]: ‘colour and ducks, the zoo of the new’. Note the ‘u’ sound repeated four times here: the ‘ou’ in ‘colour’, the ‘u’ in ‘ducks’, the ‘oo’ in ‘zoo’ and the ‘ew’ of ‘new’. This musical touch gestures towards a nursery rhyme effect/ the cooing of a baby.
Language Return of the broad vowel sounds in the final stanza: “troublous”, “dark”, “without”, “star” Tercets (3 line stanzas) are linked together by a series of run-on lines. This use of enjambment allows Plath to create a soothing, gentle and almost “rockabye” momentum.
Task: There are 2 very different and distinct sets of emotions in this poem. Draw a column page. Write “Positive” over in the left-hand column and “Negative” over in the right. Divide the main words and phrases in this poem into the 2 columns. At the bottom of the page, write down whether the poem left you with positive or negative feelings overall.
Task: Complete Table ChildKey PointQuoteExplain ThemeMental anguish“Not this troublous/Wringing of hands” The poet describes her distress and despair by giving us an image of her twisting her hands with upset. She doesn’t feel that she can provide what her child needs and this fills her with terrible mental anguish. Tone (Feeling, mood, atmosphere) Feelings of joy and admiration… Technique (The way the poet uses language)Metaphor
(P.Q.E X2) (a) What feelings are expressed by the poet in the first three stanzas of this poem? Support your answer with reference to the poem. (10) (P.Q.E X2) (P.Q.E X2) (b) What feelings are expressed by the poet in the last stanza of this poem? Support your answer with reference to the poem. (10) (P.Q.E X2) (ELABORATE 2 EXPLANATIONS) (c) Choose two lines or phrases from the poem that appeal to you and explain your choice. (10) (ELABORATE 2 EXPLANATIONS)
Answer ONE of the following: [Each part carries 20 marks] (i) You have been asked to make a short video to accompany a reading of this poem on YouTube. Describe some of the images, colours, music, sound effects, etc. that you would use as a background to the reading and explain your choices based on your knowledge of the poem. (5 PARAGRAPHS) (ii) Which of the following word or words would you choose to describe the language used by the poet in this poem? (4 PARAGRAPHS) – (BRAINSTORM/SPIDER DIAGRAM BEFORE YOU BEGIN) Unusual Descriptive Appealing Support your answer with reference to the poem.