How to answer an examination question <ul><li>Read </li></ul><ul><li>Plan </li></ul><ul><li>Write </li></ul><ul><li>Check </li></ul>
<ul><li>Read the questions, decide which one you are going to answer, then annotate the question on the paper, choosing which other poem to use. </li></ul>
For example: <ul><li>Compare the ways in which the poets present people in ‘Two Scavengers in a Truck’ and one other poem of your choice from the selection. </li></ul><ul><li>Compare - use comparative words and phrases, e.g. whereas, however, both, on the other hand. </li></ul><ul><li>People - two pairs in ‘Scavengers’, so use a poem with one person for comparison. </li></ul>
Plan <ul><li>Introduction - what are the two poems about? </li></ul><ul><li>The shapes of the poems </li></ul><ul><li>Effective use of poetic devices </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion - summing up </li></ul>
Write <ul><li>A* - close textual analysis </li></ul><ul><li>insight and imaginative interpretation </li></ul><ul><li>A - embedded quotations </li></ul><ul><li>analysis of writer’s techniques </li></ul><ul><li>exploration of writer’s ideas and attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>B - effective use of textual detail </li></ul><ul><li>understanding of writer’s techniques </li></ul><ul><li>appreciation of ideas and attitudes </li></ul><ul><li>C - use of textual detail </li></ul><ul><li>awareness of writer’s techniques </li></ul>
Introduction <ul><li>In addition to ‘Two Scavengers…’ I have chosen ‘Island Man’ by Grace Nichols. The two poets present their characters in very different ways, because they have very different purposes. Ferlinghetti is trying to show the inequality in American society by contrasting these two pairs of people. Grace Nichols, on the other hand, attempts to show how difficult it can be for an immigrant from the Caribbean to settle into an urban environment. </li></ul>
The poets present their characters in very different ways. Ferlinghetti contrasts the two bin men ‘grungy from their route’, looking down into the open-topped Mercedes with the woman ‘casually coiffed’, so different from the two men. The poet presents the two sets of character within a sort of freeze frame picture with a lot of visual detail to fix the picture in our minds. He uses a lot
<ul><li>of colours in the first stanza with the ‘stoplight’ and the ‘red plastic blazers’ of the two bin men. The poet presents these characters in front of the reader and invites us to comment, thus commenting on American society, whereas Nicholas presents the reader with the sensual picture of ‘Island Man’ waking up in the morning ‘to the sound of blue surf’ as he comes round ‘groggily groggily’ to the reality of ‘the North Circular roar’. Nichols presents us with this picture to make us think about what it must be like for immigrants to sleep in a dream world , then awaken to the reality of urban Britain. </li></ul>
<ul><li>The poets use the shapes of their poems to help present their ideas. The first poem has a haphazard shape and structure, reflecting perhaps the haphazard nature of life. However, Nichols uses the shape of her poem to suggest the slow movement of the awakening island man with the short lines and wave-like shape to the line lengths. </li></ul><ul><li>Stanzas are used in both poems, but for different purposes. Ferlinghetti uses stanzas to help to structure the narrative of the poem so that he is able to present different aspects of the picture. Nichols, on the other hand, uses stanzas to present the gradual awakening of the island man, with each stanza </li></ul>
<ul><li>peeling off a layer of sleep and dream. The stanzas sometimes spill over as he tries to grasp hold of where he is and what he is doing. </li></ul><ul><li>Both Ferlinghetti and Nichols use colour and the senses, but Ferlinghetti’s colours are very brash and help to contrast the ‘hip three-piece linen suit’ with the ‘red plastic’ of the bin men on their ‘bright yellow garbage truck’. The poet uses other senses as the two sets of characters are contrasted with the ‘odorless TV ad’ of the Mercedes compared to the ‘grungy’ bin men gazing down, the older one ‘like some gargoyle Quasimodo’. </li></ul>
<ul><li>This is an effective simile because it shows the hunched shape of the bin man, but it also has other connotations because of the use of the last two words. These words are linked with evil, suffering and ugliness, so different from the ‘Beautiful people’. </li></ul><ul><li>Ferlinghetti contrasts the two pairs of characters in the poem, similar to the way that Nichols contrasts the island man at the beginning and end of the poem. One method she uses is repetition to get her meaning across. These repetitions help to present the difference in Island Man at the beginning and end of the poem. Firstly, she repeats ‘comes back’ in the middle of the poem to present </li></ul>
<ul><li>the man returning from his dreams. ‘Groggily groggily’ and ‘muffling muffling’ are also used to slow down the rhythm of the poem and to make the reader think about what is happening to the person at that particular time. </li></ul><ul><li>In conclusion, both of these poems present people, but the characters are in very different circumstances and are presented for different reasons. Both poems were written to get the poet’s different messages across, however, the messages are very different: ome poem comments on inequality in American society, while the other comments </li></ul>
<ul><li>on the difficulties encountered by immigrants from very different cultures. Both poets use shape imaginatively, on the other hand, they are very different as a result of the different traditions that they are writing in and as a result of their different purposes. </li></ul>
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