AQA Pre-released poems from different cultures 2011

Each of the poems from the AQA Specification B Pre-released booklet annotated.

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  • Created by: Jessica
  • Created on: 17-05-11 07:46

Aunt Julia (By Norman MacCaig)

The poem regards MacCaig's memory of his aunt and gaelic heritage.

  • "Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic/ very loud and very fast." This suggests that she kept her tradition and thus she treasured her cultural identity.
  • "She wore men's boot/ when she wore any." Shows that she was quirky, eccentric and different.
  • "her right hand drew yarn marvellously out of the air." This makes her appear somewhat magical/mythical and makes the poet's memories of her vivid, which brings the poem alive.
  • "listening to crickets being friendly." This appeals to the senses and insinuates the noise was comforting to him and is significant to his memories.
  • "She was buckets/ and water flouncing into them." Shows she was a head strong, free spirit and was hard to contain.
  • "getting angry, getting angry/ with so many questions/ unanswered." Suggests he regrets never learning to speak Gaelic to speak to her and subsequently shows a regret for not properly connecting with his cultural identity. But now she is dead, he can no longer speak to her.
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Memories (By Trilokesh Mukherjee)

The poem regards Mukherjee's memories of her grandmother's story-telling in India when she was a child.

  • The first stanza is vivid and vibrant and appeals to the senses, with the "hooting of the night owls" and the "smell of the rice boiled over the hot earthen stove". There is the use of onomateopia, with words such as "hooting" and "howling".
  • "her reassuring voice transported us / To another unknown yet familiar world." This makes the grandmother's stories appear magical. The world is "farmiliar" to them as they have heard the stories many times and, also, it is part of their cultural identity.
  • "We never knew when we fell asleep with wet eyelids." This create a sense of innocence and niavity; it suggests their grandmother's stories were just as wild as their imaginations as "the dreamworld was not much different".
  • "But the dreams are still with us." Shows the dreams keep her memory alive.
  • "our lost lives." This implies that there is a presence of fear the she will lose her cultural identity with her grandmother. However, the dreams prevent this.


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Hey! What do you mean by this being the Pre-released poem? If it's in the exam coming up, how did you know what it was?

Alice Rosen

These are notes on the poems that were in the booklet that we were given in January - In the exam we'll have to compare 1 or 2 of these poems with an UNSEEN poem :)

vandan patel

good notes but any on other poems?


Note: this is the AQA B spec. ---other exam boards don't receive pre-release ...

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