Spellbound verbs and adjectives

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Spellbound verbs and adjectives

  1. 1. SPELLBOUND LO: To explore verb and adjective types and apply these to a poem.
  2. 2. VERBS  5 things to know about verbs  in Standard English, verbs agree in number and person with the noun or pronoun which precedes them  the boy walks to town every Saturday. [third person singular]  we walk to town every Saturday. [first person plural]
  3. 3. AUXILIARY VERBS  primary auxiliary verbs are used to construct questions and negatives, to create emphasis, to communicate different time scales (aspect), or to construct passive sentences (voice)  Do you have any spare tickets for the match? [question]  The dog was stolen by a professional. [passive]  Even when I’m on facebook, I do get my work done. [emphasis]  He was going to visit tomorrow morning. [aspect: past progressive]  The neighbours do not like noisy parties during the week. [negative]  We had planned the journey carefully. [aspect: past perfective]  modal auxiliaries are used to communicate different shades of meaning (modality)  I can run 5km in under 30 minutes. [ability]  I may run 5km in under 30 minutes. [possibility]  I will run 5km in under 30 minutes. [prediction]  I must run 5km in under 30 minutes. [obligation]
  4. 4. FINITE AND NON-FINITE VERBS  finite verbs are marked for tense (present and past)  The donkey makes a lot of noise. [present]  The snow fell very quickly and covered the road. [past]  non-finite verbs (-ing participles, -ed participles, infinitives and base form verbs) are not marked for tense; they can stand alone as part of a non-finite clause, or they can be used attributively in front of a noun as a verb modifier  The man fell to his knees, begging for mercy. [non-finite clause]  To visit you in Paris would be a dream come true. [non-finite clause]  The ground was covered with rotting apples. [verb modifier – describing an on-going process]  The boy linked to the attack was questioned by the police. [non- finite clause]  As the moon came out from behind the cloud, the broken glass reflected its light. [verb modifier – describing a completed process]  We can help you clear your debts. [base form verb after a modal auxiliary]
  5. 5. 5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT ADJECTIVES  they can be placed before a noun (attributive) or after a copular verb (predicative)  the sunny day; the pale boy; a cloudy sky [attributive]  the day is sunny; the boy grew pale; the sky became cloudy [predicative]  they can be formed by adding suffixes to other words  afford (verb) + -able = affordable; disappoint (verb) +-ed = disappointed; amuse (verb) + -ing= amusing (also known as verb modifiers)  mischief (noun) + -ous = mischievous; dirt (noun) + -y = dirty; skill (noun) + - ful = skilful; blame (noun) + -less = blameless  they can usually be graded by a degree adverbs (some adjectives like dead or still cannot be graded because they describe absolute qualities)  so rapid, quite warm, exceptionally dangerous, very blue, rather unexpected  they can be compared using -er/more or -est/most  quieter, more precise [comparative]  highest, most skilful [superlative]  when they occur in strings, they are ordered according to their meaning: description/feelings, size, age, -ed/-ing participles, colour, defining (adjectives closely linked to nouns)  the loyal old Dalmatian dog  some delicate tiny blue Forget-me-Not flowers
  6. 6. SPELLBOUND The night is darkening round me, The wild winds coldly blow; But a tyrant spell has bound me, And I cannot, cannot go. The giant trees are bending Their bare boughs weighed with snow; The storm is fast descending, And yet I cannot go. Clouds beyond clouds above me, Wastes beyond wastes below; But nothing drear can move me: I will not, cannot go.
  7. 7.  2. Key ideas: nouns and modifiers  What do the nouns and modifiers tell us about the content?  Brontë gives the landscape a physical presence with the concrete nouns linked to the natural world (“trees”, “boughs”) and the weather (“winds”, “snow”, “storm”, “clouds”). The atmosphere, however, is created through adjectives like “wild”, “bare” and “drear”, and the adverb “coldly”. These words tell us something about the literal scene, but also reflect the narrator’s mood. The use of pathetic fallacy helps us to understand that the poem is about more than just a description of a place at a certain moment in time.
  8. 8.  3. Key ideas: themes  How does the poet use the words, the rhyme scheme and the form to develop her central themes?  The theme of vulnerability is developed in the perspective of the poem. The attributive adjective “giant” and the contrasting adverbs “above/below” make the narrator seem insignificant in the landscape. This is reinforced by the parallel noun phrases “Clouds beyond clouds” and “Wastes beyond wastes”, which define the vast scale of the natural world. The abstract noun “wastes” contributes to the bleak tone because its negative connotations enhance the apparent isolation and loneliness of the narrator. She has no control over her surroundings and is motionless while the present tense verb “blow” and the present progressive verb phrases “are darkening” and “is … descending” create a sense of on-going movement around her. The narrator seems trapped – not just by the approach of night and the storm, but by something more intangible. This is clear in the abstract noun “spell”, with its connotations of bewitchment, and in the attributive modifier “tyrant” with its connotations of control and manipulation. It is also evident, however, in the very form of the poem itself. The tight rhyme structure mirrors the narrator’s feelings of being imprisoned: long vowel sounds (“blow/snow”) and even the words themselves (“me/go”) recur in an inescapable cycle. The grammatical structure of the sentences is cumulative: the comma splicing (ll.1-2) and the patterned sequence of initial position co-ordinating conjunctions (“But … And … And yet … But …”) drive the reader inescapably onwards. The mood of oppression is underpinned by dynamic verbs like “bound” and “weighed” as the poem builds to a climax in the repetition of the negative modal verb “cannot” (ll.4, 8). The initial position conjunction (“And”) and the caesura (l.4) make this an emphatic statement: the narrator feels physically and emotionally helpless.
  9. 9.  4. Change of direction  Where does the poem change? What has changed? What effect does it have?  The poet has built up a negative tone through her choice of words and the structure. The last line, however, moves us in a new direction. Instead of repeating the modal verb “cannot”, Brontë replaces it with “will not”. The change in meaning is significant – suddenly there is a sense of personal choice. The tone is emphatic: the positioning of the personal pronoun at the beginning of the line and the sequence of three consecutive stresses on the monosyllabic words reinforce this unexpected certainty. The change in tone is not sustained since “will” is quickly replaced by “cannot”, but for a moment there is an ambiguity that adds another dimension to the poem. The narrator both desires and fears the literal and figurative storm that envelops her. It is at this point that we have to consider the title of the poem. The adjective phrase “Spellbound” repeats the meaning of the simple sentence “(But) a tyrant spell has bound me” in an intensified form. As a grammatical fragment, it is a dramatic introduction, drawing our attention to an idea that is clearly going to be central to the poem’s meaning. The poet’s implicit repetition is a signpost that we need to pay particular attention to this. On first reading, we inevitably interpret the simple sentence as evidence that the narrator has been bewitched against her will because of the connotations of the words and the repetition of the negative modal verb in the next line. In the light of the final line and the title’s repetition of the idea, however, we need to reassess. There is an important ambiguity: as well as bewitched (negative), we feel that the narrator is also mesmerised, enthralled (positive). “Spellbound”: one word – two fields of reference. Some part of her finds a sensual pleasure in the physical and emotional storm. It is as though the passion of feeling, however painful, is better than the cold detachment of being numb.
  10. 10. PHONOLOGY  Use the sheet to pick out phonological features from the poem.
  11. 11. REVIEW  Write a S.E.A paragraph analysing the writers use of alliteration or assonance.

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