GCSE English Literature - Points to consider when comparing poems and Exam Skills

This is a very thorough and detailed revision tool for ALL sitting the GCSE English Literature exam. It has KEY questions comparing poems and compares key features and ideas developed in the different poems for example "To His Coy Mistress" and "The Manhunt". Please COMMENT and RATE! ThankYou. Ibrahim – TeamGR

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Ibrahim ­ Team GR
Points to consider when comparing
poems + Exam Skills
Ibrahim ­ Team GR

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Ibrahim ­ Team GR
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 on one feature of the poem and an
answer (not necessarily complete!) to the question.
Q) Write about the presentation of relationships in The Manhunt and To His Coy Mistress.…read more

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Ibrahim ­ Team GR
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 asresistant to
change instead of having the power to transform.
Sonnet 116 describes love as enduring, unchanged until the "edge of doom".…read more

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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 uses purposefully casual and sometimes coarse language to reject
traditional romantic poetry.
Sonnet 43 uses formal language and comparisons to convince the reader of the
strength of love.…read more

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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 a
Both poems link the idea of love to larger ideas like the passage of time.
In both poems the speakers propose the idea that without love they are nothing.…read more

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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 away from your childhood home, exploring the world
with the skills provided.
In Harmonium there is a sense of the child remaining reliant on the help of a parent.…read more

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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 My Mother.
Points you could make:
Sonnet 43 uses positive language to convince us - and the poet's lover - of the
strength of her love.…read more

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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 the poet uses imagery to connect the farmer's wife with nature,
particularly wild animals.…read more

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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.
Harmonium is about the assistance offered by a father to his son, although the older
age of the child changes the father's role in the poem.…read more

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Ibrahim ­ Team GR
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.…read more


Paul Dutton

An excellent resource for responding to poetry.  Lots of details and examples included.


Perfect for when needing help writing comparative poetry essays using PEEDL, great resource!

Caitlin Ward

It is a shame that this is not on the conflict section... The work about the burgers is a great way to look at it though!!

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