English Literature Poetry - Revision Crib sheetsHalf CastePoet: John Agard – born in Guyana in 1949 and came to Britain in 1977. His mother waswhite Portuguese and his father was black.Main Ideas: Agard is angry about the term “Half-caste” and about people who label youbecause of your skin colour etc.Tone: The tone is angry but the poem is also presented in a humorous way.Methods:• Agard writes in Afro-Caribbean dialect to reflect his culture and because it is a performancepoem.• He also uses non-standard punctuation – to show we do not all have to conform to ‘thenorm’.• Use of assonance (e.g. “ah rass”, “de sun pass” reflects his anger.)• He uses humorous comparisons like “half-caste weather”, “half-caste symphony” and “half-caste canvas” to show how ridiculous the term half-caste is.• The poem is full of contrasts – e.g. “light” and “shadow” and “half” and “whole”Parade’s EndPoet: Daljit Nagra - was born in 1966 and brought up in West London and Sheffield. He is asecond generation Indian.Main Ideas: The poem shows an Indian family who own a local community supermarket inYorkshire and who experience racial abuse from members of the community. The poemsuggests some jealousy of the family and also suggest that they will never fully feel acceptedin the community.Tone: The tone is one of tension and anxiety.Methods:• The poet creates a menacing atmosphere with words and phrases that show how the familyfeel unsafe, e.g. “Bolted two metal bars”, “darkened aisles”, “shutters”, “getaway”• He creates contrasts in the poem between poverty and wealth and gold and brown.• It is a very visual poem with detailed description of things like the kidneys and the shoppingtrolleys.• He uses a metaphor of the car sprayed gold with brown beneath to suggest that theycannot fit in.• Use of Yorkshire dialect reinforces the difference between “them” and “us”Belfast ConfettiPoet: Ciaron Carson – Irish poet and translatorMain Ideas: The poem describes the explosion of an IRA bomb and the panic and chaos thatfollowed. The narrator appears to be right in the middle of it and cannot escape.Tone: The tone is one of panic and confusionMethods:• The poet uses a metaphor of punctuation to represent the shrapnel from the bomb and toemphasise the confusion and panic.• He uses ellipsis to show the panic goes on and on…• Use of caesura emphasises that his way is blocked and he cannot escape.• Use of questions highlight the confusion.
Our SharpevillePoet: Ingrid de Kok – born in South Africa in 1951.Main ideas: The poem describes a young girl in South Africa during the time of Apartheid, whowatches a lorry of black miners with fascination and interest. She is warned to come insideand told that the men are a threat to her. The poet wants to show the fear that was instilled inwhite children during the aftermath of the Sharpeville Massacre. The girl appears to begin toquestion this, aware that she is being lied to about the men.Tone: The tone is one of secrecy and fear.Methods:• The poet uses language to suggests children’s stories and excitement• There are references to the child’s age and innocence• She uses a metaphor of a “stiff broom” to describe the Grandmother’s lie• She uses a metaphor of “a pool of blood…” to describe the Sharpeville Massacre.• She uses language to show secrecy and concealment.ExposurePoet: Wilfred Owen – English poet born in 1893 – officer in World war One – killed in action.Main Ideas: In one of his many anti-war poems, Owen describes the harsh winter weatherconditions that the soldiers faced in WW1 and how the weather was as deadly an enemy asthe Germans. He feels as if everyone – even God, are leaving the men to die.Tone: The tone is of hopelessness and despair.Methods:• The poet personifies the weather (wind and snow) throughout the poem• He uses words to highlight the exhaustion of the men• He uses similes to describe the wind and the gunfire• Alliteration emphasises the harshness of the guns and the quantity of the snow• Several other metaphors usedCatrinPoet: Gillian Clarke – born in Cardiff in 1937Main Ideas: The poet describes the conflict of birth when her daughter was born (i.e. thephysical pain she felt, caused by her daughter being born). She then describes the conflictthat exists between them when the daughter is a teenager; they are connected by themother/child bond but the child wants her independence.Tone: Pain in the first half and admiration and frustration in the second half.Methods:• The poet uses the metaphor of a red rope to represent the umbilical cord• Past tense and repetition of “remember” show this is a memory• She uses an oxymoron to show the contrasting emotions motherhood can bring.• She uses a metaphor of a fish bowl to show the emotions they have experienced in theirrelationship• She uses alliteration and rhyme to show the girl’s defiance.
Your Dad did What?Poet: Sophie HannahMain ideas: The poem shows a teacher who misunderstands her pupil’s writing about hisholidays. She assumes he is being lazy and refusing to write and grades his work with an ‘E’.the reader understand by the end of the poem that the boy’s father has just died and that one‘e’ would make his sentence make sense.Tone: The tone is of frustration as the teacher does not understand and jumps to the wrongconclusions.Methods:• Regular use of “they” suggests that the teacher is detached form her pupils• Use of questions reflect the teacher’s anger• Use of enjambement suggests she will not stop to work out the real problem.• Repetition of the teacher’s words reinforces her frustrationThe Class GameThe Poet: Mary CaseyMain Ideas: The narrator is angry at people who judge her because of her class and the wayshe speaks. The poem is a humorous look at class stereotyping. The narrator is proud of herclass.Tone: The tone is angry but positive at the endMethods:• The poem is written in Liverpudlian dialect to reflect the narrator’s working class roots• Use of questions creates an accusatory tone• There are lots of contrasting words to show the difference between the classes.Cousin KateThe Poet: Christina Rossetti – born 1830 - died 1894.Main Ideas: The narrator of the poem explains how betrayed she has been by her cousin whohas married a man who she was in a relationship with. The narrator would have beenconsidered a “fallen woman” in the time the poem was set, as she has slept with a man outsideof marriage and had a child as a result. The narrator compares herself as a “fallen woman” toher cousin who now has status in her marriage.Tone: The tone is one of anger and betrayalMethods:• She uses repetition to stress her regret• She uses a simile “like a glove” to show how to the man, she was disposable.• Words used to show innocence and purity versus “fallen” and other contrastsThe DrumThe Poet: John Scott - Born 1731 – Died 1783Main ideas: The narrator speaks out against the sound of the drum that accompanies soldiersto war. To him, the drum represents the lies that young men believe when they go to fight, thatwar will be glorious and fun. He then shows the reality and horror of war and says that this iswhat the drum makes him think of.Tone: The tone is one of angerMethods:• Use of alliteration shows how quickly the men will die
• Repetition of first two lines reinforces his anger and adds to the regular rhythm and rhymewhich reflects the steady beat of the drum• Words are used to show the horror of war• Repetition of “And” highlights how the list of horrors goes on and on.InvasionThe poet: Choman HardiMain Ideas: The speaker is a Kurd awaiting an Iraqi invasion of his homeland. He shows theanticipation and fear as they wait and the difference between the invading army and their poordefense.Tone: The tone is one of fear and hopelessnessMethods:• Personal pronouns highlight the “them” and “us”• Language is used to show the contrast between the two armies• Alliteration emphasise the anger of the Kurds• Language is used to show waste of lifeHitcherThe Poet: Simon Armitage - born in 1963 in Yorkshire - a British poet and novelist.Main ideas: The narrator is not happy with his life and picks up a hitchhiker who appears tohave all the freedom that he desires. The narrator commits an unprovoked violent attack onthe hitchhiker and shows no remorse for his actions.Tone: The tone is very casual and laid back.Methods:• Use of enjambement suggests that he is telling a personal anecdote which he is proud of.• Three rhyming words in the first stanza emphasise his dissatisfaction• Use of “I” suggests an egotistical narrator• Narrator’s language is colloquial, reflecting his laid back attitude to what he has done• Language associated with the hitchhiker is quite romantic to suggest his free life-style.O What is that Sound?The poet: W. H. AudenMain Ideas: The poem is a ballad, telling the story of a married couple who observe themovements of an army as they approach their home. The wife asks questions as she feelsuneasy and wants to know what the army is doing. The husband tries to reassure her that theyare no threat but then at the last minute, runs off, leaving his wife to face an angry army. Thereader assumes that the husband was a traitor to the army and now he is a traitor to his wife.The Tone: The tone is one of uneaseMethods:• Use of regular rhyme, rhythm and repetition all reflect the idea of the army marching.• Use of questions show the confusion and unease of the wife.• Language of violence is shown to show the threat of the armyConscientious ObjectorThe Poet: Edna St Vincent Millay – Born 1892 – Died 1950 – American PoetMain ideas: The narrator describes Death as a person who she will not help in any way. Sheis anti-war and a pacifist who sees the only winner of war to be Death. She makes manypromises of things that she will not do to help lead people to their deaths.The Tone: The tone is defiantMethods:• Throughout the poem, the poet personifies Death.
• She uses language to show the violence of Death• Onomatopoeia helps to bring Death to life• Use of repetition show that war is everywhereAugust 6, 1945The Poet: Alison Fell = Born in Scotland in 1944 – poet and novelistMain ideas: The narrator describes the pilot, Paul Tibetts as he flew the Enola Gay overHiroshima and dropped an atomic bomb. The poem is very visual using much imagery toconvey the horror of what he saw beneath him and to describe the nuclear mushroom cloud.We are told that the pilot will be left with nightmares.The Tone: The tone is one of horror and lossMethods:• There are many similes and metaphors used to describe the mushroom cloud and the burntskin of the civilians.• Language is used to emphasise death (“dust” and “ash”)• The poet may be referring to a children’s rhyme (Ladybird, ladybird…) which adds to theidea of innocent lives being lost.Practice Exam QuestionsFor each question, make sure that you cover:• The main ideas / what the poem is about (linked to the question)• How the poet uses language and imagery to present his/her ideas• How the poet uses structural methods and how he/she organises ideasIndividual Poem from the Anthology…1. Explain how Agard uses language and form to put forward his point of view in “Half-Caste”2. Explain how Nagra presents conflict in “Parade’s End”.3. Explain how Carson presents conflict in “Belfast confetti”.4. Explore how de Kok depicts conflict through the eyes of a child in the poem “OurSharpeville”.5. Explain how Wilfred Owen presents the horror of war in “Exposure”.6. Explore how the conflict between a mother and daughter is shown in “Catrin”.7. Explain how Hannah creates a sense of sadness in “Your dad did What?”.8. Explore how effectively Casey has used vocabulary and poetic devices to portraydifferences in social class and her attitudes towards them.9. Explain how Rossetti creates sympathy for the narrator in “Cousin Kate”.10.Explain how Armitage presents conflict and violence in the poem “Hitcher”.11.Explore how Scott uses negative language to convey his attitude towards war.12.Explore how Auden builds tension, explores repercussions and expresses emotionsconnected with war.13.Explore how St.Vincent Millay uses personification of Death within the poem to help conveythe persona’s stance as a conscientious objector.14.Explain how fell uses imagery, vocabulary and form to convey the horror of a nuclearattack.15.Explain how Hardi uses vocabulary and verb tense to create an ominous sense ofimpending conflict in “Invasion”.Comparison Question…Take each of the above questions and add: and compare this to how another poet presentsideas about…. (whatever the question focussed on.)
E.g. Explain how Wilfred Owen presents the horror of war in “Exposure” and compare this tohow another poet presents ideas about the horror of war.E.g. Explain how Carson presents conflict in “Belfast confetti” and compare this to howanother poet presents ideas about conflict.Poetic devices - GlossaryAlliteration – Words close to each other that begin with the same letter or soundAssonance – repetition of vowel soundsBallad – A poem that tells a storyCaesura – a break or pause in a line of poetry, marked with a piece of punctuation like fullstop, colon, semi-colon, exclamation mark, question mark.Dialect – A form of language particular to regional area or group of peopleEnjambment – The running on of one line of poetry into the next without punctuationImagery – Any description that appeals to the reader’s senses – especially created usingsimiles, metaphors and personificationLexical field – A group of words that link in theme. E.g. words suggesting violenceMetaphor – A figure of speech that tells you that one thing is something else. E.g. He was amonster.Onomatopoeia – Words that sound like what they describe. E.g. “the hiss of a snake”Personification – Giving human characteristics to non-living things. E.g. the trees wavedtheir branches furiously.Repetition – Repeating ideas or actual words or phrasesRhyme – use of words which have the same sound or which end with the same sound.Rhythm – Pattern or flow of sound created by the arrangement of stressed and unstressedsyllables.Simile – Uses the words “as” or “like” to compare two things. E.g. “As cold as ice”Stanza – The separate units of verse within a poemStructure – The way the poet has organised her ideas (line length, stanza length,enjambment, caesura, punctuation, rhyme, rhythm, development of ideas)Tone – the feeling or mood that the writer creates
Remember…When you identify a method, always quote the example and always explain theeffect of the quote on the reader.