AQA english literature poetry conflict

  • Created by: charlie
  • Created on: 22-05-13 14:03

futility- Wilfred Owen


  • each stanza begins with command
  • 1st- practical- how to help soldier  2nd- philosophical- creation worthwhile when life ended so quickly?


  • 'move him' can't move himself? him could represent all soldiers affected 
  • about injured probably dead soldier- whats the point in life if its destroyed so easily?France- WW1 battlefields 

imagery - 'sun' personified as friend- powerful in beginning as created earth but futile now 


  • past and present tense- contrast between home and now
  • personification of nature- powerful but helpless at war 
  • philosophical (biblical) and direct language- emotive and challenges reader 

effect - sympathy to soldier and frustration of war wasting lives 

1 of 15

the charge of the light brigade- Alfred Tennyson

structure - story of battle in chronological order, rhyme creating fast pace and energy of battle 


  • battle between british cavalry and russian forces during crimean war (1853-56)
  • misunderstanding- light brigade charged into valley of surrounding enemies 
  • russians had guns and cavalry only swords 

imagery - rhythm connotes galloping of the horses, powerful noise from cannons, courage- keep going 


  • repetition- inevitable doom and large chaotic battle 
  • violent and heroic- give strong sense whilst emphasing soldiers bravery 

effect - admiration, disbelief, horror- stupidity but still with honor and respect as they obeyed orders

2 of 15

'come on, come back' stevie smith


  • chronological order- last three lines of poem link back to the start- CYCLICAL 


  • young female soldier vaudevue, returned from battle of austerlitz, injured and lost her memory, distressed and strips and jumps in lake, enemy solider waits to kill but she drowns 


  • surreal- eerie atmosphere and personfication of river 'seizing her'
  • oxymoron but i would say paradox- 'icy-amorous'- cold waters loving way contrast to battle 


  • repetition- show many people affected by war 
  • past and future- 'memel conference' conference on killing shows how war is timeless and still serious in future 


  • impersonal- narraor detached, irony- enemy liking same song, mystery- moonlight(dream?)
3 of 15

bayonet charge- ted hughes

structure - starts in middle of action 'suddenly he awoke', pauses in middle due to confusion, final stanza paniks and trys to run for safety 


  • experience of violent battle- thought and feeling trying to avoid being shot 
  • driven by fear and then patriotic ideals he believed before violence, becomes device of war 

imagery- nature vs war- 'yellow hare', very descriptive and emotive language, powerful metaphors 

language - universal so everyone can relate (he over name), figurative and violent emphasise horror and confusion and fear to reader 

effect - terror challenging patriotism (driven by fear instead?), confusion and questioning (futile?) 

4 of 15

the falling leaves- margaret postgate cole

structure - long sentence broken by one semi-colon which seperates description of leaves falling and soldiers dying creates comparison leaves and soldiers falling for no apparent reason 


  • autumn leaves falling reminding poet of young soldiers killed in war 
  • one sentence means one intense thought- random line lengths represent random leaves falling 


  • 'dropping'spontaneous, continuous metaphor, 
  • natural imagery men and leaves compare to snowflakes-continuous process and silence death

language -formal- old fashion adds dignity and gravity  to deaths- praising 'gallant multitude' 

effect -sadness, calm and reflective tone, regret and respect - no clear reason for death but heroic 

5 of 15

next to of course god america i- E E Cummings

structure - 13 lines all within speech marks- fragments of full sentences little punctuation, demotes meaning and adds confusion, last line is in english and describes (contrast to speech above)


  • parody of american patriotic pro-war speech, last line- clear its spoken by character not poet 
  • 14 lines may be to mimic sonnet layout- serious form contrast with words 


  • panicked speaker- trying to promote war- flawed by an experience? - 'gorry' instead of golly 
  • words of patriotic songs- speaker knows what to include 
  • 'lions to roaring slaughter'- powerful- war is inevitable 


  • patriotic- anti-war poem making fun of pro-war patriots- cliches and over the top slang 
  • rhetorical- builds up to emotive end 

effect - saracsm- mocking speaker, so points unexplained, challenging patriotism, anti-war sentiments - serious issues about death - sincerity of gov. and we are gullible 

6 of 15

hawk roosting- Ted Hughes

structure - monolgue ending with confident statement from future- hawks power and control 


  • hawk boasting about power, most important creature and in control, describes it killing prey violently and could be continuous metaphor for gov. behaviour 
  • dramatic monolgue- narrators argument direct 


  • 'hold creation in my foot' hawk carrying earth, makes earth turn, confident and deluded?
  • high status, egocentric,- all powerful sun is 'behind' the hawk 

language - formal (pride and superiority), personification of humble earth, self-cetred, violent=power 


  • power and destructiveness, educated look through but the gullible to up to perfection
  • arrogance- egocentric and egotistical 
7 of 15

flag- john agard


  • each stanza the subject is a flag- symbol of patriotism- voice states powers of the flag 
  • question changes and answer is most cynical (negative view)


  • convo. about national flag, naive questioner and sceptical responder, powers of flag explained
  • second line in stanza short- blunt and cynical, every stanza rhymes except last- powerful 

imagery - of what the falg does- contolling, plays on emotions,inspiring, all powerful and manipulative


  • personification- 'outlive the blood you bleed', repetition of question structure- contrasting verbs 
  • rhetorical question- commands and sarcastic challenge reader- informal questions undermines noble ideas of inspiring flag 


  • cynicism- mocking how flag overpowers them and leads to war
  • contempt- poet criticises how people ignore right and wrong for patriotism and warns manipulation of flag 
8 of 15

out of the blue- simon armitage

structure - final four stanzas- urgent- close danger and hope of rescue vanishes (tone and actions change)


  • victim of world trade centre 9/11 attack, describes being in burning building addresses someone watching it on tv- pleading for impossible help the only outcome is death 
  • form is similar to elegy- mournful poem/song - internal rhythm connotes helpless tone 
  • trying to get people to get a feeling of single person affected by large tragedy 

imagery - helpless death, 'bird goes by' usually peaceful but implies he is high up, underwater imagery


  • verbs in present continuous tense (-ing)- tragedy happening as we are watching 
  • questions- asking for help and confused 


  • despair- narrator tired for signalling help that doesnt come- we are feeling as helpless
  • horror and insignificance- too small to be noticed by the huge tragedy
9 of 15

mametz wood- owen sheers

structure - chronological to the present in stanza 5 - thoughtful tone and images of past dont change 

  • long sentences and enjambment to show sorrow of poem 

meaning - french farmers ploughing- find ww1 skeletons- describes death in battle and findings of bones

  • written in tercets (3 line stanzas)- thrid person gives detachment and thoughtfulness 


  • similes and metaphors creat vivid images of farmland and ghostly clips of past 
  • nature - NATURE VS WAR - 'nesting machine guns' 

language - figurative and personification- earth needs healing and guards soldiers memory 

  • past and present- archaeology mixed with natural images of present- how land has reclaimed lives 


  • sadness and understated horror- calm and distant but implied- grotesque but gentle tone 
  • memory- nature so soldiers arent forgotten 
10 of 15

the yellow palm- Robert Minhinnick

structure - each stanza linked to next through small associations- emphasises long street connected 


  • description of seeing violent and peacful scenes as walking through main street in baghdad
  • first person ballad - 2nd and 4th lines in stanzas rhyme 
  • repetition of palestine street gives almost a fairytale image- but ghastly descriptions contrast


  • peacful- 'prayers', 'slow and silver', children described and innocent 
  • horror- 'poison gas', 'blood', personifies sun a ruthless- nature forced into conflict 

language - vivid descriptions colours and natural beauty as background for violence, senses- real and vibrant 


  • implied criticism- reader forced to make connections between imagery and political ideas
  • confusion and detachment- contradictions- beauty and violence- makes us draw own conclusions 
11 of 15

the right word- Imtiaz Dharker

structure - each of first 7 stanzas- describe yound man in seperate ways, 1-3 ironic searching for correct descritption, 4-6 too complicated to find description, 7-9 real truth and tone relaxes 


  • suspicious and divided community - different view points lead to violence 
  • narrator tries to find accurate description of young activist- first seem threatening -end is harmless child 
  • first person- personal- no pattern reflect difficulty of finding description 


  • changes between stanzas- dark and dangerous to innocent and friendly 
  • 'outside'- extremers feel like outsiders and sterotyped when then are just humans 


  • repetition- keep up atmosphere of suspicion + connotative- nouns and verbs describe each activist with emotional hints 
  • conversational style- first and second pronouns links to speakers and reader 

effect - words can influence attitudes create fear and suspicion, anxiety and desire for reconcilation - sense of acceptance overcoming prejudice 

12 of 15

at the border 1979- Choman Hardi ,

structure - beginning uses direct speech- tone becomes more reflective in stanzas 6-7 as poet describes lack of difference between two sides 


  • someone crossing border back into homeland as child- family sounds helpless and anxious
  • adults become emotional about crossing - narrator cant understand why its important when both sides look similar 

imagery - peoples views on crossing the border and the imaginary chain to cross- believe everything is so diff. in homeland country 


  • child-like- short sentences and simplistic language connote- borders unecessary- doesnt understand 
  • direct speech and passive sentences- real and officials incontrol of people crossing 

effect - nationalism and chil-like view- people have feelings manipulated and contrasting logic of child and adults complex emotions 

13 of 15

belfast confetti- Ciaran Carson

structure - starts in the middle of an incident with no clear conclusion, stanza 1-2 past to present showing narrator unable to escape from scene 


  • caught it bomb incident in belfast, attempts to get away to safety, attempts are thwarted by security and confusion 
  • irregular line lengths, incomplete sentences, ellipsis, enjambent, cant think and interrupted- dead ends 

imagery and metaphors describe violence and language in terms of each other- similar damaging effects? and failure to communicate 

language - chaotic- questions emphasise confusion and restrictions- lists make reader seem surrounded creating tension 


  • trapped and harassed by language used by security- thats all he can think 
  • violen, fear and confusion- emotional reaction, and reported in impersonal ways in news 
14 of 15

poppies- Jane Weir


  • starts with son leaving then describes what she did after- ambiguous time frame 
  • images could describe young child going to school 


  • mother describes son leaving for army and helping him with uniform, emotional reaction, then goes to places that remind her of him 
  • no regular rhyme/ rhythm - make it sound like someones emotion 
  • long sentences and enjambment- absorbed own thoughts and memorys 

imagery -  a son going off to war the same way he would to school- youth and innocence 

language - emotional- first person and mothers emotions, metaphors- bereavement (loss) mixed with domestic imagery, birds symbols of freedom 

effect - loss, fear, focusses of restraint of left relatives, freedom- contrasting perspectives of mothers feelings and son's excitement 

15 of 15


No comments have yet been made

Similar English resources:

See all English resources »