Aspects of Narrative within Alfred Tennyson poems - ENDINGS

If you study English Literature at AS level with AQA, then these revision cards will help most with Section B of the paper, where it will ask you to write about three texts in terms of a selected aspect of narrative. These revision cards show key points about each aspect of narrative from the Tennyson poems: Mariana, Godiva, Tithonus and The Lady of Shalott.

This set focuses on Endings.

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Endings - Mariana

"the slow clock ticking" - too late to save Mariana

"the day was sloping toward his western bower" - her life is ending

The refrain also changes: "very dreary, will not come, oh God" - this shows a change in state that hints at suicide. 

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Endings - Godiva

The repetition of "clothed on with chastity" gives Godiva pride.

When the peeping tom's eyes were "shrivell'd into darkness" it teaches the reader a lesson, that disrespect has consequences.

"Powers" - could hint at the influence of God, in that Godiva did a selfless thing, again, shown through "noble deeds" - Godiva is considered noble because of her selfless actions.

"With twelve great shocks..." - the shocks hint at electrifying liberation.

"robed and crown'd" - she is considered like royalty and has now surpassed the Earl's status.

"She took the taz away and built herself an everlasting name" - the verbs show that a woman can do things for herself which could be the sign of the end of the patriarchal. The poem ends on a high with a fairytale-like conclusion and credit to Godiva.

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Endings - Tithonus

"How can my nature longer mix with thine?" - his 'nature' of not dying shouldn't be possible because it's not natural, hence why he is questioning how he can possibly live next to Aurora's everlasting beauty.

The repetition of the word 'cold' shows how lonely Tithonus is now that he is ugly, old, and can never die.

"Happy mean that have the power to die" or "the happier dead" shows the he isn't living as he should be, but creates unusual collocation - we wouldn't associate dying with happiness, because it is a normal occurence that we take for granted.

"release me and restore me to the ground" - he wants to be normal, and is practically begging: to no success, because the Gods can't change spells.

"grave", "earth in earth" - ironic lexis because it's not possible for him to die.

"returning on thy silver wheels" - there's no end to the poem, because his life is continuous, because he can't die.

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Endings - The Lady of Shalott

"Who is this? And what is here?" - they didn't know she existed, which is a sad existence for men.

"All the knights at Camelot" - there are more men than she's ever needed/seen, which is ironic because she is dead, so she can't take advantage of the company

"But Lancelot mused a little space" - ironic that he takes control because she is dead and it would have been a dream come true.

"He said 'She has a lovely face'" - a shallow response combined with a typical funeral-type speech of "God in his mercy, lend her grace". This shows that The Lady of Shalott's love for Lancelot was definitely unrequited.

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Beginnings and endings are always crucial to understand and be able to analyse and questions can be asked just on these parts of the text; these revision cards focus on the endings of the poems and you could try and find links with the beginnings of the poems.

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