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Revising for the ‘Relationships’ section of the poetry exam

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1 Revising for the ‘Relationships’ section of the poetry exam
Section A: 45 minutes

2 How do the bands progress?
Poem Top bands which lead to the highest grades Explore ideas, themes and interpretations in detail Analyse details closely Analyse and evaluate techniques and effects on reader Are convincing and imaginative in their ideas Compare very effectively Select very effective quotations as the focus of comparison Middle bands which lead to a C or above Develop ideas thoughtfully and sustain response to the text(s) Select effective details to help them develop ideas Explain how techniques are used to affect the reader’s thoughts or feelings Comment thoughtfully on ideas and themes Develop comparisons Choose good quotations to compare Lower bands which are below a ‘C’ grade pass Explain some ideas, themes and feelings in the poem(s) Use (a range of) quotations to support ideas Identify techniques used by writer(s) and comment on reader response Make clear, well-structured comparisons Select a few good quotations to compare Write accurately and in a fluent style. Write with general accuracy and a clear style. Write with some accuracy. Ideas are usually clear.

3 Aims for today’s session
Practise making links between the poems on different themes Understand how to make a plan Understand how to write an introduction Understand how to use detailed, well-developed PEEs to make our comparisons Practise making links between poems based on poets’ use of techniques

4 Do a plan which answers the question!

5 For example...’How are bitter feelings shown in ‘Sister Maude’ and one other poem?
Nettles 1. COMPARE THE FEELINGS, ATTITUDES AND/OR IDEAS Jealousy over sister’s lover – has betrayed her to parents. Narrator bitter (lines 3,4) Can’t forgive sister. Similarly father can’t forgive nettles. Bitter over pain caused to son. Feels helpless as he can’t protect son. 2. COMPARE HOW LANGUAGE TECHNIQUES ARE USED - Strong verbs, e.g. Line 4. Repetition of name (line 3) ‘C’ sounds (stanza 2) – harsh, anger Dad’s actions – powerful verbs, e.g. ‘Slashed’ Alliteration (line 6) – bitter, angry at pain Metaphor of soldiers – constant battle 3. COMPARE HOW STRUCTURE, FORM AND/OR LAYOUT ARE USED Regular rhythm and rhyme (passionate and angry) Repeated references to how family will go to Heaven except sister – she will be damned (religious times) Curses in final line Describes incident at the start and then how he dealt with it. The ending contains the moral (the structure shows us the father working through his thoughts). Enjambment around line 10 shows angry actions

6 Now write an introduction!
Include key words from the question Name your poems and poets Make a link between the two poems – what do they show the reader about the theme in the question? Question: How are painful memories explored in ‘The Manhunt and one other poem? Painful memories can last a lifetime and can have a significant impact on a relationship. In ‘The Manhunt’, Simon Armitage looks at the difficulties faced by the wife of a soldier who must deal with his physical and mental scars. Similarly, in ‘Nettles’, a father remembers an event from his son’s childhood which makes him reflect on how helpless parents really are.

7 Now write your first comparison (PEES 1 and 2)!
Keep referring to the question Remember to use connectives to help you compare Remember to EXPLAIN in detail the narrator’s feelings and to EXPLAIN how the writer’s choice of technique affects the reader ‘The writer intends...The reader feels...’ (USE THE MAGIC THREE!) Even when writing your first comparison on feelings/attitudes, it is fine to talk about language if it helps you explain how the narrator feels and the reasons for these feelings.

8 PEE 1... In ‘The Manhunt’, Armitage takes on the persona of Laura, the wife of a soldier who has returned from war. He wants to show us how the man’s body and mind, once powerful and able to face a battle have been damaged and destroyed. Laura describes the difficulties she must face in getting to know her husband again after he returns from war, his memories making him almost a stranger. She describes these memories as: ‘a sweating, unexploded mine buried deep in his mind’. This image suggests that his thoughts on the war and the horrors he went through are locked away inside. Perhaps his experiences have distanced him from his wife as he feels she cannot possibly empathise with him after what he has been through. The metaphor ‘sweating, unexplored mine’ suggests that he is always ready to explode with anger and that Laura doesn’t know how to disarm the mine as it is ‘buried’ so deeply. Their lives must be filled with tension and Armitage seems to want to show us the pressure on the relationship that the man’s experiences and lasting memories have caused.

9 ...linked into PEE 2 The memories in ‘Nettles’ appear less significant than in ‘The Manhunt’, but the father’s recounting of the pain suffered by his son shows how helpless he feels as a parent. He begins in quite a matter-of-fact tone of voice: ‘My son aged three fell in the nettle bed’. However, as he goes on he describes his child’s attackers in a way which clearly shows the anger and guilt that he holds in his memory: ‘‘Bed’ seems a curious name for those green spears, That regiment of spite behind the shed.’ Scannell’s use of imagery linked with the army shows that he felt powerless to protect his son who is clearly meant to be the enemy of the ‘regiment’ of vicious plants. This is different to the military imagery used in ‘The Manhunt’ as Laura’s husband was a soldier. It’s as if he feels the war living on inside him when she uses the ‘mine’ image. In ‘Nettles’ the poet wants us to feel sorry for the little boy as he sounds so innocent and defenceless against the attacking ‘spears’.

10 Finally, consider your conclusion...
Link back to the ideas in your introduction. Comment on the wider issues or messages that the poets seem to be trying to get across, e.g. is there a message about appreciating our parents or making sure you voice your feelings to them? Is there a message about war or the way love can affect our behaviour? You could explain which poem you found most inspiring, thought-provoking, disturbing...etc.

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