AQA English Literature Poetry Notes

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  • Created on: 22-05-11 18:33
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Storm on the Island
We are prepared: we build our houses squat
o We - involves reader, can empathise with fear of storm
o monosyllabic - apprehension, strength, harsh sounding
o squat - half rhyme with slate (disjointed/confusion of storm)
as you can see
o colloquial, almost relaxed mood, ironic
o involves reader (2nd person)
o personifies wind
o aggressive plosive sound, violence of weather
o almost onomatopoeic
spits like a tame cat/ Turned savage
o simile: cat should be innocent, ironic
o enjambment enhance sudden change, unpredictable
o onomatopoeia of spits conveys aggression
o sibilance gives clear idea of the noise
o personifies storm
o spits/hits internal rhyme: bombarding sound, heightens tension
Exploding comfortably
o oxymoron: mixed feelings towards nature
o violence, military imagery
o nature's comfort brings them discomfort, ironic
dives/ And strafes ... salvo
o military imagery
o violence of storm
o humans are in battle with nature
Strange, it is huge nothing that we fear
o huge nothing is an oxymoron - confusion, disjointed perception
o poem ends with the word fear, resonates with reader
o fear/air: half-rhyme, sense of unease and discomfort
o half rhyme makes it unpredictable like the storm
o caesura prompts reader to contemplate
o short sentence, perhaps panic, lack of flow, no safety
Constant use of present tense throughout increases the drama and makes it more
frightening, it also involves the reader because it's happening NOW
iambic pentameter
o strong rhythm, echoes sounds of the storm
o suggestive of heart beat, maybe panic
o heart beat hints at how close the islanders are to nature
blank verse (no rhyme)
o unpredictability of nature
o disjointed sense of unease
o is their preparation futile if they don't know what's coming?
Good comparison with Patrolling Barnegat

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Death of a Naturalist
strong gauze of sound around the smell
o sibilance conveys buzzing of flies
o appeals to all senses, reader can imagine themselves at the scene
but best of all there was the warm thick slobber
o seems comforted by 'warmth'
o plosive alliteration perhaps suggests excitement
o childlike terminology suggests innocence
On shelves at school, and wait and watch until
o alliteration builds suspense
o enjambment splits line after until, further building suspense
o alliteration could suggest excitement
daddy frog ...…read more

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o dramatic - attracts the reader
o ironic - how can a child be a naturalist?
The squat pen rests; snug as a gun
o squat - shouldn't be there, doesn't belong
o monosyllabic - reflects rhythm of digging/writing
o rests - suggests comfort, happy writing poetry
o simile of gun: weapon, danger, damaging to relationship, anger
o rhyme: tries to show father ability as a poet
o reflects how father is at one with the land
o metaphorical? invisible divide…read more

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Heaney to tell father his thoughts
o flow of words, pent up emotion is finally being expressed
o suggests how he's thinking and then remembers another detail about when his
father would dig
o between 2nd and 3rd stanza perhaps shows gap in time looking back of memory of
gap between him and his father
irregular length of stanzas
o difference between father and son
o no regularity of his memory of father's digging
o thumb/gun, ground/down, edge/head
o tension between them
o they…read more

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o almost colloquial, directly appeals to those who suffered
you still smell the running sore
o second person, directly involves read, provokes empathy for suffering
white flotilla of gulls ...…read more

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Defiant glare
o mother seems proud of defiance
o Defiance at start of line, negativity dominates
wild, tender circles
o oxymoron: conflicting feelings
o circles, cycle of relationship, alwasy come back to each other
o represents pools of blood on hospital floor
We want, we shouted, / To be two, to be ourselves
o fragmentation of sentence, desire to be separate
o enjambment shows divide between mother and daughter
o repetition reinforces strong feelings, adamant, we - shows unity,
glass tank clouded with feelings
o…read more

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Irish no longer care for original ideas, just want to relieve pain
o rhyme unites the two scenarios: Peace Deal and lamb's birth
burning tongue
o metaphorical
o intense pain
lamb, Good Friday, the stone rolled away
o link to Biblical story of the resurrection
o forgiveness of past sins
o symbolises new life, hope
o perhaps ironic given war had basis in religion
salty ocean
o salt water is healing, resolution of war
o loss of separation (ocean)
well-meaning, knowing best, with their needles…read more

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MY land
no rhyme
o sense of unease between people in war
o no unity, division
o war is unpredictable, always waiting to see what happens, tension
o ongoing damage linked to war
o overlaps the story of mouse and hints of war, links the two
o creates discomfort
o last stanza: neighbour turned / stranger - sudden, unexpected
3 stanzas of equal length
o suggests the two scenarios are similar, uniform length, hints at military
o shows distinction between before, during and after…read more

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Cold Knap Lake
cold hints at fear and death
monosyllabic, hard sounds
drowned child, lay for dead
o initially suggests she's dead then hints at hope
dressed in water's long green silk
o metaphor, beauty of nature/death, brings comfort and luxury
o contrasts with 'wartime cotton frock' poor, reminder of suffering in war
kneeling, bowed
o religious imagery, hints at miraculous actions of Clarke's mother
o hints at value of the child, worship
gave a stranger's child her breath
o Biblical parallel, God gives Adam…read more

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On my first Sonne
Farewell, thou child of my right hand
o heir, will inherit father's wealth
o closeness of father and son
o link to Jesus, right hand of the Father
o directly addresses son, increases sympathy, shows closeness
lent to me, and I thee pay
o idea that son is lent from God
o taken on the just day, perhaps like Jesus
O could I loose all father, now
o exclamation shows despair
o lose belief in God
o lose ability to be…read more


Paul Dutton

A detailed set of notes in bullet point form for some quick revision.



is there any notes on poems in the anthology  on section c?????

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