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This poem is about the abuse of human rights and
the suffering of all refugees. Write down three
reasons this picture link...
DEFINITIONSDEFINITIONS
‘Refugee Blues’
Do you know what a refugee is?
'Refugee': a person who goes to another
country to ...
SELECTING EVIDENCESELECTING EVIDENCE
 At the top of your poem write the following
statement:
This poem is about the abuse...
TASK: READ THE FACTS BELOW &
CHOOSE THREE YOU DID NOT KNOW.
RECORD THEM BESIDE YOUR POEM.
Jews have lived in Europe for n...
1. W.H. Auden was born in 1907 (one of
the top poets in England- when he was
20).
2. In the late 1920s he lived in Germany...
Refugee
Blues
Use these notes to
annotate the
poem…
STRUCTURESTRUCTURE
 The poem is structured by having 3 lines in each
stanza
 The first two lines of every stanza talks a...
STANZA 1STANZA 1
 “Say this city has ten million souls” the phrase “ten
million” shows how huge this city is (hyperbole)....
STANZA 2STANZA 2
 “Once we had a country and we thought it fair”
shows how they had their rights and ideals like
belongin...
STANZA 3STANZA 3
 “In the village churchyard there grows
an old yew/Every spring it blossoms
anew” Shows contrast between...
STANZA 4STANZA 4
 ““The consul banged the table and said”The consul banged the table and said”
The word “banged” shows an...
STANZA 5STANZA 5
 ““Went to a committee; they offered me aWent to a committee; they offered me a
chair;/Asked me politely...
STANZA 6STANZA 6
 ““Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up andCame to a public meeting; the speaker got up and
said...
STANZA 7STANZA 7
 ““Thought I heard the thunderThought I heard the thunder
rumbling in the sky”rumbling in the sky” The u...
STANZA 8STANZA 8
 ““Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened withSaw a poodle in a jacket fastened with
a pin”a pin” shows the c...
STANZA 9STANZA 9
 ““Went down to the harbor and stood upon theWent down to the harbor and stood upon the
quay,/ Saw the f...
STANZA 10STANZA 10
 ““They had no politicians and sang at theirThey had no politicians and sang at their
ease”ease” this ...
STANZA 11STANZA 11
 ““I dreamed of a building with a thousandI dreamed of a building with a thousand
floors”floors” Shows...
STANZA 12STANZA 12
 ““Stood on a great plain in the falling snow”Stood on a great plain in the falling snow”
gives an ima...
Find and label the line in the poem that
relates to each statement:
 Our country is not what it used to be.
 I am enviou...
COMPLETE THE FOLLOWINGCOMPLETE THE FOLLOWING
UNFINISHED SENTENCES…UNFINISHED SENTENCES…
1. The most powerful line in this ...
•
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=Mq0ZZkeuXjI (Online Lesson)
 http://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=krubUqbYslc (Refugee Blu...
SAMPLE ESSAY QUESTIONSAMPLE ESSAY QUESTION
How does the writer try to make the readerHow does the writer try to make the r...
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"REFUGEE BLUES" - IGCSE GUIDE

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"REFUGEE BLUES" - IGCSE GUIDE

  1. 1. This poem is about the abuse of human rights and the suffering of all refugees. Write down three reasons this picture links to these ideas.
  2. 2. DEFINITIONSDEFINITIONS ‘Refugee Blues’ Do you know what a refugee is? 'Refugee': a person who goes to another country to escape being mistreated for their religion or politics, or to escape war. 'Blues': a slow, sad song. First sung by African Americans working as slaves in USA. These melancholy ballads expressed the unhappiness of the slaves' lives. Task: Label the title of this poem with these meanings and explain why you think the poet might have chosen these words.
  3. 3. SELECTING EVIDENCESELECTING EVIDENCE  At the top of your poem write the following statement: This poem is about the abuse of humanThis poem is about the abuse of human rights and the suffering of all refugees.rights and the suffering of all refugees.  Skim and scan the poem and HIGHLIGHT 6 PIECES OF EVIDENCE that support this statement. Explain why these lines capture suffering by zooming in on words and techniques used by the poet to present these ideas.
  4. 4. TASK: READ THE FACTS BELOW & CHOOSE THREE YOU DID NOT KNOW. RECORD THEM BESIDE YOUR POEM. Jews have lived in Europe for nearly 2,000 years.  They experienced racist hostility and persecution.  In the 1920s, German Jews began to face poor treatment from a group, led by Adolf Hitler.  1933 Hitler introduced laws which deprived German Jews of their human rights and their lives. Death squads hunted down Jews in order to kill them. In the 1930s many German Jews looked for refuge - became refugees - abroad. At first they were received kindly, but as war approached many countries became reluctant to take them, at least in large numbers.
  5. 5. 1. W.H. Auden was born in 1907 (one of the top poets in England- when he was 20). 2. In the late 1920s he lived in Germany observing Hitler’s rise to power. 3. In 1939- lived in the USA -met his lifelong companion (a Jewish person) with whom he had an on-going relationship with until his death in 1973. KEY FACTS ABOUT THE POETKEY FACTS ABOUT THE POET
  6. 6. Refugee Blues Use these notes to annotate the poem…
  7. 7. STRUCTURESTRUCTURE  The poem is structured by having 3 lines in each stanza  The first two lines of every stanza talks about a situation and the third/last line is about him breaking the news gently to his “dear”  The rhyme scheme is A-A-B  Blues was considered sad/slave music and therefore the general structure shows the grim reality of the situation, where a beautiful world fails to provide and protect refugees.
  8. 8. STANZA 1STANZA 1  “Say this city has ten million souls” the phrase “ten million” shows how huge this city is (hyperbole). Also the word “souls” adds a spiritual/religious aspect to it.  “Some are living in mansions, some are living in holes” This line shows the contrast between the different people and their living conditions. The word holes has connotation of death and being buried.  “Yet there’s no place for us, my dear, yet there’s no place for us” The repetition used projects the difficulty faced by the couple. As well as this, it suggests that no amount of searching for a home will help.
  9. 9. STANZA 2STANZA 2  “Once we had a country and we thought it fair” shows how they had their rights and ideals like belonging to a country abandoned. This is due to Nazi occupation. The use of the collective ‘we’ shows that once they had an identity and a place.  “We cannot go there now, my dear, we cannot go there now” This shows how helpless they as even though they belong to a country they once called home and the country still exists, they still have no place to go to. The repetition of the word dear reminds the reader that the refugees have loved ones and families to protect which makes the poem even more emotive.
  10. 10. STANZA 3STANZA 3  “In the village churchyard there grows an old yew/Every spring it blossoms anew” Shows contrast between nature and the refugees as there is always a new hope for natural life – it renews – unlike the refugees. This is a metaphor that captures new life, opportunity and progression.  “Old passports can’t do that, my dear, old passports can’t do that” Once again the repetition is used to show how helpless the couple are. The repetition also creates a lyrical flow to the poem that sounds like someone trying to comfort a loved one who is suffering.
  11. 11. STANZA 4STANZA 4  ““The consul banged the table and said”The consul banged the table and said” The word “banged” shows anger.  “‘“‘If you’ve got no passport, you’re officiallyIf you’ve got no passport, you’re officially dead’“dead’“ Shows that even people with authority refuse to help and that the state doesn’t really care. It also shows how without their passport they are simply nobodies.  ““But we are still alive, my dear, but we areBut we are still alive, my dear, but we are still alive”still alive” Shows the confusion by the couple as they’re not actually dead.
  12. 12. STANZA 5STANZA 5  ““Went to a committee; they offered me aWent to a committee; they offered me a chair;/Asked me politely to return next year”chair;/Asked me politely to return next year” Shows that that despite or their current situation, the committee still doesn’t care and asks them to come in a year’s time.  ““But where shall we go to-day, my dear, whereBut where shall we go to-day, my dear, where shall we go to-day?”shall we go to-day?” Their problem needs immediate attention and also portrays their desperation. This question is aimed at many people, like a cry for help which again captures the helplessness of the refugees.
  13. 13. STANZA 6STANZA 6  ““Came to a public meeting; the speaker got up andCame to a public meeting; the speaker got up and said:/’If we let them in, they will steal our dailysaid:/’If we let them in, they will steal our daily bread’”bread’” Shows how people are afraid of the couple. The term “daily bread” gives a Christian reference which shows a Jew vs Christian idea. The impersonal language ‘them’ also captures the hostility towards the refugees.  This stanza emphasizes on how most of the people are unwilling to help the couple and feel threatened by them.
  14. 14. STANZA 7STANZA 7  ““Thought I heard the thunderThought I heard the thunder rumbling in the sky”rumbling in the sky” The use of the word “thunder” to create a threatening atmosphere. The word rumbling emphasizes the power of this threat.  ““It was Hitler over Europe,It was Hitler over Europe, saying: ‘They must die’”saying: ‘They must die’” shows how the couple are in danger and under the threat of death and that this threat hangs over them.
  15. 15. STANZA 8STANZA 8  ““Saw a poodle in a jacket fastened withSaw a poodle in a jacket fastened with a pin”a pin” shows the contrast between the couple and the animals as the poodle is cared for, unlike the couple.  ““Saw a door opened and a cat let in”Saw a door opened and a cat let in” this also shows contrast between the couple and the animals as, unlike the couple, cats are let in anywhere they want.  ““But they weren’t German Jews, my dear, butBut they weren’t German Jews, my dear, but they weren’t German Jews”they weren’t German Jews” shows that they are the only people (German Jews) that are under the threat of death
  16. 16. STANZA 9STANZA 9  ““Went down to the harbor and stood upon theWent down to the harbor and stood upon the quay,/ Saw the fish swimming as if they werequay,/ Saw the fish swimming as if they were free”free” this shows once again the contrast between the couple and nature as the fish are swimming so freely and are able to go any place they wish. Alternatively, the ‘as if’ makes us believe at the same time that even though the fish may look free, they actually are not.  ““Only ten feet away, my dear, only ten feetOnly ten feet away, my dear, only ten feet away”away” shows how frustrating it is as the sense of freedom is so close yet so far.
  17. 17. STANZA 10STANZA 10  ““They had no politicians and sang at theirThey had no politicians and sang at their ease”ease” this shows that the couple blames politicians for their situation  ““They weren’t the human race, my dear,They weren’t the human race, my dear, they weren’t the human race”they weren’t the human race” shows a wildlife vs humanity idea.
  18. 18. STANZA 11STANZA 11  ““I dreamed of a building with a thousandI dreamed of a building with a thousand floors”floors” Shows contrast between other people and the couple as it seems like everyone has a place to live except them.  ““Not one of them was ours, my dear, notNot one of them was ours, my dear, not one of them was ours”one of them was ours” Shows the reader the hopelessness faced by the couple.
  19. 19. STANZA 12STANZA 12  ““Stood on a great plain in the falling snow”Stood on a great plain in the falling snow” gives an image of coldness and death, but also of survival in challenging situations.  ““Ten thousand soldiers marching to and fro”Ten thousand soldiers marching to and fro” Here the writer uses hyperbole to show the immense number of soldiers after them and how they are outnumbered.  ““Looking for you and me, my dear, looking forLooking for you and me, my dear, looking for you and me”you and me” Makes a beautiful yet dangerous ending. The soldiers are not looking for them particularly but they are looking for German Jews. Here the speaker wants to highlight the tragedy and fear of the personal experience as well as the collective experience.
  20. 20. Find and label the line in the poem that relates to each statement:  Our country is not what it used to be.  I am envious of the fish in the sea who are free to move.  We are being wiped out of existence- we have no identity.  They expect me to sit and wait- no action is taken.  We are victims under attack.  Our city is divided- it is not a welcoming place of equality.  We are unable to have a fresh start and move on.  Animals are treated with more respect.  The human race is corrupt!  Even in my dreams, I see no place for us in the world.  We are hunted down and tormented; we will always live in fear of being found. MAKING SENSE OF IT ALLMAKING SENSE OF IT ALL
  21. 21. COMPLETE THE FOLLOWINGCOMPLETE THE FOLLOWING UNFINISHED SENTENCES…UNFINISHED SENTENCES… 1. The most powerful line in this poem is… because… 2. The way the speaker addresses the reader as ‘my dear’ makes us feel… 3. The speaker says that ‘Once we had a country and we thought it fair’. This means that… 4. The speaker uses ‘we’ and ‘us’ in stead of ‘I’ because… 5. ‘They will steal our daily bread’ refers to/means… 6. The birds are able to sing at ‘ease’ because … 7. The speaker starts lines with: ‘saw’, ‘went’ and ‘walked’. He does not say ‘I saw’ or ‘I walked’ because…
  22. 22. •  http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Mq0ZZkeuXjI (Online Lesson)  http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=krubUqbYslc (Refugee Blues song)  http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=eZhaRQjbYWI (Annotation & Analysis) REFUGEE BLUES VIDEO LINKSREFUGEE BLUES VIDEO LINKS
  23. 23. SAMPLE ESSAY QUESTIONSAMPLE ESSAY QUESTION How does the writer try to make the readerHow does the writer try to make the reader sympathize with the refugees in the poem?sympathize with the refugees in the poem? In your answer you should write about:In your answer you should write about: the challenges the refugees face the reactions of the narrator to their situation the contrasts in the poem the use of language.

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