Tag Archives: English Literature

‘Exposure’- Wilfred Owen

This is a personal favourite of mine- it is also a great one for comparison as it covers three big themes of our poetry collection: war, nature and identity.

  • In this lesson you will:
  • Learn more about the context of this poem and the poet.
  • Read the poem and understand its place in the ‘power and conflict’ anthology.
  • Complete your annotations and/or notes.
  • Write a short response key quotes and points in the poem

You will need:

  • A copy of the poem which you can download below
  • Audio so you can watch and listen to the youtube videos
  • Some things to make notes with (either pen / paper or on a document)

Task One: Read the following information about the poet. Summarise in your own words key information about the poet and context. Remember you must link this information to your analysis in the exam so it is important to make notes!

• Wilfred Owen (1893–1918) is widely regarded as one of Britain’s greatest war poets.

•Owen originally joined the British army as a patriot (someone who strongly supports their country). Whilst serving on the frontline, he was blown into the air by a shell (an explosive). Owen was diagnosed with ‘shell-shock’ and sent to a hospital near Edinburgh where he spent four months recovering.

•Here he met another famous war poet- Siegfried Sassoon- who encouraged Owen to publish his poems (sadly he never saw his success, and his poems were found and published after his death).

•Once he had recovered, he was sent back to the frontline. He was killed, aged 25, on the 4th of November- one week before Armistice (the end of war) was declared.

•Many of his poems were written to show the truth about war and the suffering of the men. He wanted people to understand exactly what soldiers had experienced; both the physical and mental trauma of war.

Overview of the poem: Wilfred Owen’s poem focuses on the misery felt by World War One soldiers waiting overnight in the trenches. Although nothing is happening and there is no fighting, there is still danger because they are exposed to the extreme cold and their wait through the night is terrifying. The eight stanzas are gripping because the speaker describes the trauma of living and struggling in such poor conditions. There is a sense of despair and of lost hope.

Task 2: Read the poem on your own. Try to write down your initial thoughts / reactions to the poem. Some questions you could use to guide your notes:

What is the poem about?

How is the scene described?

How is the weather presented?

If you’d like to hear a reading of it, click the link below:

Once you have read / listened to the poem, consider this question: How does Owen present the experience of war?

Task Three: Watch this video to explore the poem fully. If you can’t print a copy out, don’t worry. You should just make some notes or a mind map on the key information. Or, you could download the copy of the poem and annotate it using Microsoft word. You can pause the video at any point to make your notes. Remember you will need these notes for revision before your final exams!

These are the main ideas about power and conflict I want you to consider:

  1. The poet is ‘exposing’ the truth of war. It is not easy or glorious, but traumatic and brutal.
  2. The poem explores the power of nature. Nature is arguably the true enemy in this poem.
  3. The power of fear. These soldiers are most fearful whilst they wait apprehensively for something to ‘happen’.
  4. The poem explores how conflict affects a person both physically and psychologically.
  5. The cyclical structure of the poem emphasises the repetitive nature and monotony of these soldiers’ lives on the front-line.

A challenging interpretation: In Stanza 7, the poet begins to doubt there is a God. What might Owen be suggesting about the experience of war?

Task Four: Analyse each key quote below. You could write each out and ‘explode’ it, or use the ‘What/ How/ Why’ method. Use the sentence starters on the ppt to help you.

  1. ‘Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us’. Consider specifically why Owen opens with this line. Think about the imagery describing the weather in particular.
  2. ‘We only know war lasts, rain soaks, and clouds sag stormy’.
  3. ‘Pale flakes with fingering stealth come feeling for our faces’
  4. ‘All their eyes are ice’
  5. ‘But nothing happens’. Consider specifically why this is line is repeated throughout the poem. What atmosphere does he leave us with and why? What is Owen suggesting about the experience of war?

Feel free to explode any other lines/ images that particularly interest you.

Sentence starters and key words are on the Powerpoint below to help you!

Stretch yourself: Answer the following, more challenging, questions below in full sentences.

  1. Consider the different interpretations of the title: ‘Exposure’. What is exposure? What else does it mean?
  2. What is the effect of the ellipsis (…) in stanzas one and two?
  3. What do you notice about the soldiers’ feelings for home?
  4. What do you notice about the religious references in the penultimate stanza?
  5. How could this poem, written in a first person perspective, be regarded as a microcosm?

Well done! Now remember to upload and submit your work on Show My Homework.

Wrting an exam response

  • In this lesson you will
  • Understand the features of an effective exam answer
  • Answer an exam question

You will need:

  • A copy of the exam question which is below
  • Somethings to make notes with (either pen / paper or on a document)

In your real exam you will be given one poem from the anthology and will need to choose another poem to compare it with. So for example the exam question could be ‘ Compare the presentation of Human power in ‘Checking out me history’ and one other poem from the anthology’. However today we are only focusing on analysing one poem.

Task One: Read the exam question and the poem attached. Then you need to start planning an answer. Follow the steps below:

  • Jot down any initial ideas about how human power is presented. Who has power? How do people use their power?
  • Note down any key quotes or points that you found while reading through the poem. This can be in bullet point form. An example of what your notes could look like is below:
  • Repetition of ‘dem’= speakers seems the people in power as different to him

Reminder of the poem and key context is below:

  • John Agard was born in Guyana, South America, in 1949.
  • He moved to Great Britian in 1997.
  • Whilst Agard was growing up, Guyana was a British colony, ruled by Great Britain.
  • Guyana gained independence from Britain in 1966. Thefore, whilst Agard was at school, he received a very ‘European’ style of education.
  • The poem expores the link between education, power and identity.
  • Those with power, control the retelling of history. Therfore those in power can oppress those withour power – through choices in education.
  • In this poem, Agard explores how his education was dominated by white European history and black history was ignored.
  • Watch the video below if you would like a recap of the poem!

Task 2: Well done! You have some initial ideas. You need to decide your 3 big ideas to answer this question. In other words write down 3 different ideas or messages about human power in this poem.

If you are unsure how human power is shown in the poem, answer the three different sections below. Each one will give you a different idea about human power in the poem.

1.Who has the power in this poem? What do they do with the power?

2.How does the poem end? What does this suggest about the power of humans?

3.Agard references many iconic figures from Caribbean history. What does could he be suggesting about human power?

Some extra ideas about power and conflict are below to help and extend your ideas:

  1. The poem explores how indviduals can be oppressed and have less power because of the way those in power behave. (In this case, the British authorities are the powerful, oppressive force)
  2. The poet explores how he was detached from his cultural history and this affected his identity.
  3. The poet celebrates his own identity and culture as he discoverssignificant figures from black and Carribean history.

Task Three: Now it is time to write your exam answer. You should aim for 3 different points. Use the attached powerpoint to help you get started and develop your analysis further.

Sentence starters and key words are on the Powerpoint to help you! An example response is also on the Powerpoint to use a model.

Well done! Now remember to upload and submit your work on Show My Homework.

‘storm on the island’- seamus heaney

  • In this lesson you will
  • Lean more about the context of this poem and the poet.
  • Read the poem and understand its place in the ‘power and conflict’ anthology.
  • Complete your annotations and/or notes.
  • Write a short response key quotes and points in the poem

You will need:

  • A copy of the poem which you can download below
  • Audio so you can watch and listen to the youtube videos
  • Somethings to make notes with (either pen / paper or on a document)

Task One: Read the following information about the poet. Summarise in your own words key information about the poet and context. Remember you must link this information to your analysis in the exam so it is important to make notes!

  • Seamus Heaney was a Northern Irish poet. He died in 2013
  • Heaney lived in rural Ireland and grew up on a Farm.
  • He wrote many poems about the farming, living the countryside and life in Ireland.
  • Follow this link if you would more information: Seamus Heaney’s homepage

Overview of the poem: The poem begins with the Narrator describing how a community thinks that it is well prepared for a coming storm. However as the storm begins the confidence fades. The storm is powerful, violent and frightening. At the end of the poem people are afraid. The confidence has moved to fear.

Task 2: Read the poem on your own. Try to write down your initial thoughts / reactions to the poem. .

Once you have read the poem yourself, consider this question: Write message do you think Heaney is giving in this poem? What is powerful?

Task Three: Watch this video to explore the poem fully. If you can’t print a copy out, don’t worry. You should just make some notes or a mind map on the key information. Or, you could download the copy of the poem and annotate it using Microsoft word. You can pause the video at any point to make your notes. Remember you will need these notes for revision before your final exams!

These are the main ideas about power and conflict I want you to consider:

  1. The poem explores the power of nature. Nature is more powerful than humans.
  2. The power of fear.
  3. The poem explores individual experiences of place. The poet appears to have a conflicted view of ‘home’

An alternative (additional?) interpretation: The first 8 letters of the poem’s title spell ‘Stormont’.

Stormont. These were the Parliament buildings in Northern Ireland.

These were the Northern Ireland’ Parliament buildings. This, therefore, could suggest that the ‘storm’ may be the political conflict that Ireland has experienced. Watch this video below if you would like to find out more about the conflict in Ireland, which Heaney very much experienced.

Task Four: Write a paragraph examining each key quote below. Use the sentence starters on the ppt to help you.

  1. “We are prepared: we build our houses squat’ Consider specifically why Heaney opens with this line.
  2. ‘The flung spray hits the very windows, splits like a tame cat turned savage’
  3. ‘blows full Blast’
  4. ‘it is the huge nothing we fear’. Consider specifically why this is the final line of the poem. What atmosphere does he leave us with and why? How is this different from the opening line

Sentence starters and key words are on the Powerpoint to help you!

Task Five: Answer the following, more challenging, questions below in full sentences.

  1. Shelley has chosen to write in blank verse (no use of rhyme). Why do you think he chose to do this? What is the effect?
  2. Why has Heaney included a full stop at the end of line 2? What is he suggesting will happen next?
  3. The poem includes a Volta (moment of change). Can you identify this moment of change? Why has Heaney included this?
  4. There are several examples of oxymorons (2 contrasting ideas) in this poem. Find one and explain why Heaney has included this.

Well done! Now remember to upload and submit your work on Show My Homework.

‘My Last Duchess’ by Robert Browning

  • In this lesson you will:
  • Lean more about the context of this poem and the poet.
  • Read the poem and understand its place in the ‘power and conflict’ anthology.
  • Complete your annotations and/or notes.
  • Write a short response to key quotes and points in the poem.

You will need:

  • A copy of the poem which you can download below
  • Audio so you can watch and listen to the youtube videos
  • Something to make notes with (either pen / paper or on a document)

Task One: Read the following information about the poet.

  • Browning was one of the most prominent Victorian poets.
  • Browning was classically educated, and could read well in Latin, Greek and French by the age of 14.
  • The poem reflects his interest in art and history.
  • The speaker in the poem is likely to be Alfonso II d’Este, the fifth Duke of Ferrara (1533–1598), who, at the age of 25, married Lucrezia di Cosimo de’ Medici, the 14-year-old daughter of Cosimo I de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany.

Overview of the poem: The poem is set in Italy in the late renaissance. In it, the Duke is entertaining the representative of the family of his possible future wife. The speaker (the duke) draws by a curtain and shows his guest a painting of his previous wife, inviting the guest to admire the painting. He then describes his last duchess, suggesting that her flirtatious behaviour was inappropriate for someone who was married to somebody as important as him. After describing how ‘all smiles stopped’, the conversation turns back to a conversation of their wedding arrangements.

There is more information in the video, so don’t worry if it feels confusing.

Task 2: Read the poem on your own. Try to write down your initial thoughts / reactions to the poem. Below is a glossary to support your reading.

Begin to consider: what do we learn about power and conflict from this poem?

Task Three: We will explore the poem together. If you can’t print a copy out, don’t worry. You should just make some notes or a mind map on the key information. Or, you could download the copy of the poem and annotate it using Microsoft word. You can pause the video at any point to make your notes. Remember you will need these notes for revision before your final exams!

These are the main ideas about power and conflict I want you to consider:

  1. The poem explores the Duke’s need to be the more powerful in his relationship, led by his jealousy, possessiveness and pride.
  2. This ultimately means that the Duke appears ruthless and violent.
  3. He misuses his power and his controlling nature has drastic effects.

Task Four: Short Analysis of key quotes and points from the poem.

Write a paragraph examining each key quote or point below. Use the sentence starters on the ppt to help:

  1. “I gave commands; Then all smiles stopped together”
  2. “as if she ranked my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old name with anybody’s gift”
  3. “I choose never to stoop”
  4. Browning has chosen to use a dramatic monologue (a speech by one person that will reveal a secret or an aspect of that person’s character). Explore why.

Sentence starters and key words are on the Powerpoint to help you!

Well done! Now remember to upload and submit your work on Show My Homework.

‘Ozymandias’ by pERCY bYSSHE sHELLEY

  • In this lesson you will
  • Lean more about the context of this poem and the poet.
  • Read the poem and understand its place in the ‘power and conflict’ anthology.
  • Complete your annotations and/or notes.
  • Write a short response key quotes and points in the poem

You will need:

  • A copy of the poem which you can download below
  • Audio so you can watch and listen to the youtube videos
  • Somethings to make notes with (either pen / paper or on a document)

Task One: Read the following information about the poet and the Romantics. Summarise in your own words what Romanticism was and the beliefs that the Romantics held.

  • Percy Shelley is one of the most famous English poets of the 19th Century.
  • Shelley believed in equality and disliked the monarchy. He did not believe that certain people/ Institutions, should have complete power.
  • Percy Shelley was a ‘Romantic’ poet, which means that he was part of a group that had a huge impact on Art and Literature. The Romantics held certain beliefs.
  • The Romantics believed in emotion and feelings, which were often a key feature in their work. Romantic poets tried to capture powerful feelings in their work.
  • Romantics believed in the power of imagination and that imagination could help people forget their troubles.
  • Romantics especially believed in the power and beauty of Nature. They rejected industrialisation and, through their work, often made the outside appear a place of wonder.
  • Romantics were also concerned with the outcasts of society and gave a voice to those who were oppressed.
  • Follow this link if you would more information: https://www.britannica.com/art/English-literature/The-Romantic-period

Overview of the poem: The poem is about a Narrator who meets traveller. This traveller tells the story of a statue standing in the desert, It is a statue of a arrogant and cruel king. However over time the statue has crumbled away. Shelley was inspired to write this poem following the discovery of a statue of the leader Ramesses II.

Task 2: Read the poem on your own. Try to write down your initial thoughts / reactions to the poem. .

Once you have read the poem yourself, watch this animation of the poem. Write message do you think Shelley is giving in this poem?

Task Three: We will explore the poem together. If you can’t print a copy out, don’t worry. You should just make some notes or a mind map on the key information. Or, you could download the copy of the poem and annotate it using Microsoft word. You can pause the video at any point to make your notes. Remember you will need these notes for revision before your final exams!

These are the main ideas about power and conflict I want you to consider:

  1. The poem explores how fragile human power is. This powerful arrogant ruler created a statue of himself however , ironically, this statue has crumbled away over time. His power has gone. Ozymandias is now just a story that people tell.
  2. The power of time and nature is highlighted in this poem. Nature has ruined this statue therefore highlighting time and nature has more power.
  3. Mis use of power. Tyrannical ruler

Task Four: Short Analysis of key quotes and points from the poem.

Write a paragraph examining each key quote or point below. Use the sentence starters on the ppt to help:

  1. “Wrinkled lip, and seer of cold command’
  2. ‘my name is Ozymandias, king of kings’
  3. ‘a shattered visage (Face)’
  4. ‘The lone and level sands stretch far away’
  5. Shelley has chosen to use a sonnet (14 line poem usually associated with love). Examine why.

Sentence starters and key words are on the Powerpoint to help you!

Well done! Now remember to upload and submit your work on Show My Homework.

Extension work:

If you would like to push yourself further, follow the links below to find out about three of the most central figures from black history mentioned in the poem.

‘Checking out Me History’ by John Agard

In this lesson you will:

  • Lean more about the context of this poem and the poet.
  • Read the poem and understand its place in the ‘power and conflict’ anthology.
  • Complete your annotations and/or notes.
  • Write a short response to the poem.

You will need:

  • A copy of the poem which you can download below
  • Audio so you can watch and listen to the youtube videos
  • Somethings to make notes with (either pen / paper or on a document)

Task One: Read the following information about the poet, John Agard and his poem.

  • John Agard was born in Guyana, South America, in 1949.
  • He moved to Great Britian in 1997.
  • Whilst Agard was growing up, Guyana was a British colony, ruled by Great Britain.
  • Guyana gained independence from Britain in 1966. Thefore, whilst Agard was at school, he received a very ‘European’ style of education.
  • The poem expores the link between education, power and identity.
  • Those with power, control the retelling of history. Therfore those in power can oppress those withour power – through choices in education.
  • In this poem, Agard explores how his education was dominated by white European history and black history was ignored.

Task Two: Read the poem on your own. Try to write down your intial thoughts / reactions to the poem. Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of some of the different names / events mentioned.

Once you have read the poem yourself, listen to the poet’s reading below. Pause the video at regular intervals to add to your notes.

John Agard reads and discusses his poem ‘Checking Out Me History’

Task Three: We will now annotate the poem together. If you can’t print a copy out, don’t worry. You should just make some notes or a mind map on the key information. Or, you could download the copy od the poem and annotate it using microsoft word. You can pause the video at any point to make your notes.

These are the main ideas about power and conflict I want you to consider:

  1. The poem explores how indviduals can be oppressed and have less power because of the way those in power behave. (In this case, the British authorities are the powerful, oppressive force)
  2. The poet explores how he was detached from his cultural history and this affected his identity.
  3. The poet celebrates his own identity and culture as he discovers significant figures from black and Carribean history.

Task Four: Short Analysis of the poem (20-30 minutes) 1-2 paragraphs

You are going to answer this question: “How does the poet present ideas about identity in Checking Out Me History”

You should use your own ideas from the poem in your work. If you feel a bit stuck, here are a few ideas you could explore:

  1. The speaker expresses anger at the way parts of his histroy ere hidden from him.
  2. The poet celebrates his own identity through his language and the way he describes historical figures like Toussain and Mary Seacole.
  3. The poet manages to take control of his own identity and move beyond the narrow education he received.
  4. The poet’s use of colour, light and hopeful imagery.
  5. The poet’s use of structure and form.

You may use this writing frame to help you:

Well done! Now remember to upload and submit your work on Show My Homework.

Extension work:

If you would like to push yourself further, follow the links below to find out about three of the most central figures from black history mentioned in the poem.

‘Kamikaze’ by Beatrice Garland

In this lesson you will:

  • Learn more about the context of the poem
  • Read and understand the ‘story’ of the poem
  • Complete guided annotations with me
  • Write a short response to a ‘big question’

You will need:

  • a copy of the poem: find one attached below
  • a word document/ notebook to make notes and complete the tasks
  • a pen and a highlighter

Task One: Read the following information about today’s poet, Beatrice Garland

“I spend a lot of the day listening to other people’s worlds”.

The poem, Kamikaze gives an example of the imaginative writing of the poet who chooses to write a subject that she had never experienced with and been into.

  • She was born in Oxford, UK
  • She published ‘Kamikaze’ in 2013 as part of a collection called ‘The Invention of Fireworks’
  • Garland has worked in the NHS for most of her life, specifically with people with trauma
  • ‘Kamikaze’ was written as part of her response towards the Twin Towers terror attack (9/11), where young men and women were willing to destroy themselves and others in the service of a cause

Q: What connection can you make between the information here and Kamikaze pilots?

Task Two: Listen to Beatrice Garland read the poem

Task Three: We will now annotate the poem together. Make sure you have your copy and a pen and highlighter ready. If you can’t print a copy out, don’t worry. You should just make some bullet points/ notes on the key information. Or, you could download the work document below and type on it, and print it at a later date. You can pause the video at any point to make your notes.

Task Four: Thinking of our ‘big ideas’. How does this poem link to the themes of honour and duty?

My example:

‘In her poem, Garland explores the inner conflict a kamikaze pilot faces, and the dishonour he brings to his family when he returns’.

Now complete two of your own. You could use the sentence starters below to help you.

The poet vividly depicts…

The poet clearly explores…

The poet reveals/ emphasises/ demonstrates…

Task Five: Short analysis

Pick one of your ‘big ideas’- that will form the topic sentence for your analytic paragraph. Use the structure below to guide you in writing ONE beautiful paragraph.

You can download an editable copy here:

Well done! Now make sure you send your work to your teacher via ShowMyHomework.

The Sign of Four – Revising Characters

You should be well aware by now that understanding characters is crucial for your exam success.

You might be asked a question about a character, a theme, or a combination of the two. Remember though, a question about a character will include lots of ideas about themes. For example, if you are asked about Watson, you will be discussing his friendship with Holmes, his significance to the theme of love, and his significance to ideas of ’emotion vs. rationality’.

Use these sheets to help collect all your ideas about characters onto one helpful sheet of A4. For key quotations, see the resources attached to this postIf you want a practice with specific past paper questions, click here.

 

Blood Brothers – Revising Characters

You should be well aware by now that understanding characters is crucial for your exam success.

As this post explains, you can be asked about characters or themes in Blood Brothers, or perhaps a combination of the two.  A question about a character, however, is really also a question about how characters might help portray significant themes.

For instance, a question about the importance of Mickey Johnstone will probably involve discussing social class, education and ideas about childhood and growing up.

Use these sheets to help collect all your ideas about characters onto one helpful sheet of A4. For key quotations, see the resources attached to this post. If you want a practice with specific past paper questions, click here.

 

Sign of Four Key Quotes

This is a short post sharing a really useful, important resource.

Remember, for a closed book exam, you will need to make sure you have a number of quotes at your disposal to discuss all the themes and characters in The Sign of the Four.

The document below can help you do this. It might be useful to decide a specific character or theme you would like to revise, then select quotations from the document to help make a revision resource, such as a mind-map, an essay plan or flashcards. Remember, knowing quotations is not enough on it’s own. You also need to know:

  • What the quotation is linked to. Who says it? To Who? At what part of the novel?
  • How the quotations works. What are the interesting words? What techniques (if any) is Doyle using?
  • Why Doyle has chosen the specific line. What is the wider point? What is being revealed about the significance of certain characters, themes, or ideas?

The Sign of the Four- Key Quotes A3 version

The Sign of the Four- Key Quotes A4 version