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Points to consider when comparing
poems + Exam Skills

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Sample question

In your exam you will be asked to compare a certain aspect of one poem with another. In order
to do this, we need to get to know this poem a bit better by considering one of its main

What follows is a sample question which concentrates…

Page 3

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Q) Compare the attitudes to love presented in Hour and Sonnet 116.

Points you could make:

Hour presents love as a powerful force, able to transform the ordinary into
something rich and magical.

Sonnet 116 presents love as similarly powerful but presents love as resistant to
change instead of having…

Page 4

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Q) Compare the attitudes to relationships shown in In Paris with You and Sonnet 43.

Points you could make:

In Paris with You is about a moment in a relationship, rather than the past or future.

Sonnet 43 is about the strength and endurance of love.

In Paris with You…

Page 5

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Q) Write about the relationships presented in To His Coy Mistress and Ghazal.

Points you could make:

Both poems are about wooing a lover, seeking to convince the other of the merits of
a relationship.

To His Coy Mistress is directly sexual whereas Ghazal is focused on the relationship as…

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Harmonium is about a specific incident and is based in a time when the child has become
an adult.

Both poems are in some ways concerned with the timeless, cyclical nature of
parent/child relationships. In Praise Song... this is positive; indicating that to grow into
adulthood is to naturally move…

Page 7

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In Sonnet 116 love endures until time's end.

Both poems are very optimistic about love. Imagery associated with riches illustrates
this in Hour.

Language associated with endurance and constancy shows a positive attitude to love
in Sonnet 116.

Q) Compare the feelings presented in Sonnet 43 and Praise Song for…

Page 8

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Both poems use vocabulary and punctuation to reflect the feelings of the speakers,
feelings which are often intended to be kept hidden.

Q) Compare the way in which Charlotte Mew in The Farmer's Bride and Carol Ann Duffy
in Hour show feelings.

Points you could make:

In The Farmer's Bride…

Page 9

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Sister Maude explores the destructive drive that arises from a similarly powerful but
negative relationship.

Q) Compare the presentation of the relationship between fathers and sons in Simon Armitage's
Harmonium and Nettles.

Points you could make:

Nettles is about the protection offered to a young child by a father.


Page 10

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Born Yesterday is also a positive poem and, although its honesty at first appears to be
negative, the speaker eventually convinces the reader of the sincerity and practicality of
his good wishes.


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