Key Stage 4 Poetry
Textual Analysis
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Textual Analysis
UNIT CONTENTS
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Introduction
Structure and Form
Storyline and Viewpoint
Theme and Message
Rhyme and Rhythm
Tone, Mood and Emotion
Using your Senses
Slides 4 - 18
Slides 19 - 37
Slides 38 - 52
Slides 53 - 57
Slides 58 - 72
Slides 73 - 79
Slides 80 - 83
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
CONTENTS
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Unit Introduction
What is Poetry?
Important British Poets
Poetry and Society
An Ever Changing Language
Slide 4
Slide 5
Slides 6 - 15
Slide 16
Slides 17 - 18
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Unit Introduction
In this unit we will be learning how to analyse poetry. We
will explore the different aspects of poetry, including
structure, themes, rhyme and rhythm. We will also look at
a series of different poems to show you how the skills you
are learning can be put into practice. In the companion
unit, ‘Analysing Imagery’, you can find lots of information
about how to identify and comment on images, such as
similes, metaphors and personification.
Before we start looking at the examples, first we need to
learn a little more about poetry itself: what it is, how it has
changed over time, and how it relates to the society in
which it is written.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
What is Poetry?
Poetry has certain characteristics that make it special. Here are
a few ideas - you may be able to think of more.
• Poetry uses vivid images and descriptive language to ‘paint’ a
picture in the reader’s mind.
• Poetry cuts out all the excess words that you might find in
prose, creating its magic with a limited amount of text.
• Poetry is normally designed to be read out loud - when you
read it, do try to hear it as well.
• Poetry often makes the reader emphasise certain important
words, and it usually has a strong rhythm.
• Poetry may rhyme, but it does not have to.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Important British Poets
In the next series of slides you will find poems, and
extracts from poems, written by some important British
poets, from the fourteenth to the nineteenth century.
These give just a brief sample of Britain’s long heritage of
great poets. Why not try to decide which modern poets of
the twentieth century also deserve a place on this list?
The poets are organised in chronological order, and for
each poet you are given the dates that they lived and an
extract from their work.
Later on in this unit we will be analysing some of these
poems in greater detail.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Important British Poets
As you read the poems, think about the following
questions:
• How does the language that the poets use change over
time?
• Are there any common themes between the poems, or
do these change too?
• Do these poets use imagery? If yes, what types of
images do they use?
• Which of these poems do you like most? Why?
• Which of these poems do you like least? Why?
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: Geoffrey Chaucer
Dates: ?1343 - 1400
Madam Eglantine (extract)
There was also a nun, a Prioress,
That of her smiling was full simple and coy;
Her greatest oath was but by Saint Loy;
And she was clepèd Madam Eglantine.
Full well she sang the service divine,
Entunèd in her nose full seemely,
And French she spake full fair and fetisly,
After the school of Stratford-atte-Bow,
For French of Paris was to her unknow.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: Sir Walter Ralegh
Dates: ?1552 - 1618
All the World’s a Stage
What is our life? A play of passion,
Our mirth the music of division
Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be,
Where we are dressed for this short comedy.
Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is,
That sits and marks still who doth act amiss.
Our graves that hide us from the searching sun
Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus march we, playing, to our latest rest.
Only we die in earnest, that’s no jest.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: John Donne
Dates: 1572 - 1631
Holy Sonnets (extract)
Thou hast made me, and shall thy work decay?
Repair me now, for now mine end doth haste;
I run to death, and death meets me as fast,
And all my pleasures are like yesterday.
I dare not move my dim eyes any way;
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: John Milton
Dates: 1608 - 1674
Paradise Lost (extract)
Now came still evening on, and twilight grey
Had in her sober livery all things clad;
Silence accompanied, for beast and bird,
They to their grassy couch, these to their nests
Were slunk, all but the wakeful nightingale;
She all night long her amorous descant sung;
Silence was pleased.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: Alexander Pope
Dates: 1688 - 1744
A Little Learning (extract)
A little learning is a dangerous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.
Fired at first sight with what the Muse imparts,
In fearless youth we tempt the height of Arts;
While from the bounded level of our mind
Short views we take, nor see the lengths behind,
But, more advanced, behold with strange surprise
New distant scenes of endless science rise!
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: William Blake
Dates: 1757 - 1827
The Tiger (extract)
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burned the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare seize the fire?
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: Robert Burns
Dates: 1759 - 1796
Auld Lang Syne (extract)
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to min’?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Name: Christina Georgina Rossetti
Dates: 1830 - 1894
Song (extract)
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Be the green grass above me
With showers and dewdrops wet;
And if thou wilt, remember,
And if thou wilt, forget.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
Poetry and Society
Throughout history, poets have commented on the society
in which they live. Just as novelists write in a particular
social context, so too do poets. Poetry can be a very
special form of commentary, because part of its magic is
that it can be read aloud. Some poets in our modern
society write ‘performance poetry’, specifically designed to
be heard.
One of the ways in which poets can comment on their
society is by choosing particular themes, such as religion or
politics. We will be looking at the themes that poets choose
in greater detail later on in the unit.
When you analyse any piece of poetry, you should take the
social context into account.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
An Ever Changing Language
The English language, like any language, is subject to
constant change. This change is, perhaps, particularly
apparent in the poetry that we write, because poetry is
such a condensed form of language.
If we read a piece of poetry written a long time ago, it may
be difficult for us to understand the language that is used.
We might not understand some of the words, because
they are no longer used, or we may see a word that we
know, but spelt in a very different way.
There are many different reasons that language changes,
and you will find some examples on the next slide.
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Textual Analysis - Introduction
An Ever Changing Language
Why, then, do languages change? Here are two reasons. See
how many more ideas you can think of.
Because we need to find
new words to describe new
ideas and inventions. For
instance, the words email
and internet would have
been unknown, even fifty
years ago.
Because our own language is
influenced by other cultures,
perhaps through the
integration of people from
around the world into our
country, or by seeing
examples of other cultures in
the media.
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Textual Analysis - Structure and Form
CONTENTS
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Structure
Form
The Limerick
The Shakespearean Sonnet
Slides 20 - 27
Slide 28
Slides 29 - 31
Slides 32 - 37
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Structure and Form
Structure
When you look at a poem, whether in class or for an
examination or coursework essay, the first thing to explore is
the way that it is structured.
Generally speaking, poems are structured in verses, and
within the verses you may also find a specific line structure.
An example of this is the Shakespearean Sonnet, which we
will be analysing further on in this section.
When commenting on the structure of a poem, you should
ensure that you discuss how the structure affects the impact
of the poem, and the way that it works. Let’s look briefly
now at a poetry extract to see how you might do this.
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Structure and Form
Structure
When you are analysing a poem’s structure, ask yourself the
following questions:
• The Verses (or stanzas). How many are there and how
long is each one? Are the verses all the same length or are
they different?
• The Punctuation. Does each verse end with a full stop or
not? How does the punctuation affect the flow of the poem?
• The Rhyme Pattern. Is there a constant rhyme pattern?
Does this affect the structure and flow of the poem?
• The ‘Storyline’. Does each verse contain a particular part
of the story, or does it run throughout?
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Structure and Form
Structure
The poem below has been annotated to show how it is
structured.
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
The verses each
have 4 lines.
Lines 1 & 3 rhyme
in every verse.
Verse one ends
with a comma.
Lines 2 & 4 rhyme
in every verse.
Verse two ends
with a full stop.
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Structure and Form
Structure
Crossing the Bar (continued)
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there by no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
Exclamation marks
are used at the
end of the second
and tenth lines.
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Verse three ends
with a semi-colon.
Verse four ends
with a full stop.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892)
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Structure and Form
Structure
Once you have annotated the structure of the poem, you
need to think about the effects that this structure creates.
The verses each have 4 lines
This creates a set rhythmic pattern, particularly in conjunction
with the rhyme scheme. It also breaks the poem up into four
clear sections, or parts of the ‘story’. However, the impact of
this break is lessened somewhat by the use of a comma at the
end of verse one, and a semi-colon at the end of verse three.
Lines 1 & 3 rhyme in every verse
The use of rhyme creates an ‘end stop’, whereby the reader
pauses slightly, putting emphasis on the words that rhyme.
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Structure and Form
Structure
Verse one ends with a comma
Because there is a comma here, the reader moves onto the
second verse with only a slight pause. If there had been a full
stop, the four lines, with a regular rhyme scheme, would have
created a very definite ‘end’ to each verse. As it is, the reader
‘flows’ into the second verse, just as the poet talks about putting
out to sea.
Lines 2 & 4 rhyme in every verse
Again, this creates a stop, or pause, for the reader. However, the
regimented pattern is broken up by the use of punctuation as
explained above.
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Structure and Form
Structure
Verse two ends with a full stop
The full stop creates a break or divide right in the middle of the
poem. It is at this point that the poet uses the image “turns again
home”, and the full stop seems to echo this.
Exclamation marks are used at the end of the second
and tenth lines
Exclamation marks can be used to express surprise, or shock, or,
as seems to be the case here, a kind of unwillingness to go,
combined with resignation. Because they are followed by the
word “and”, the exclamation marks do not denote the end of a
sentence, but rather an exclamation or expression of the poet’s
feelings.
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Structure and Form
Structure
Verse three ends with a semi-colon
Again, because there is no full stop here, the reader is pulled
into the fourth verse with only a slight pause. The thought that
the poet was expressing is continued in the last verse. Again,
the image of being pulled out to sea is echoed by the flow
between the verses.
Verse four ends with a full stop
The poem ends with a full stop, bringing things to a close.
Although most poems do end with a full stop, here the poet uses
the punctuation to echo the ‘storyline’ or themes of the poem,
which is about death or ‘crossing the bar’. The poet hopes to
meet God, or his “Pilot” on the other side. See the section on
‘Storyline’ for more information about this extended metaphor.
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Structure and Form
Form
Poems come in a variety of specific forms, although not all
poets will be working within these forms, or formats. Poems
that fall within a particular form could have a defined number
of lines, or a specific rhyme pattern. Examples of common
forms are:
• The Ballad.
• The Limerick.
• The Haiku.
• The Sonnet.
On the next slides we will look at two of these forms: the
limerick and the sonnet. We will be looking at a specific
form of sonnet, which is called the Shakespearean Sonnet.
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Structure and Form
The Limerick
A limerick is a comic poem with five lines and a specific
‘a / b’ rhyme scheme. Look at the example below to see
how the rhyme scheme works.
There was an old lady from Wales
Who loved to eat her garden snails
But she felt quite unwell
When she crunched on a shell
And now she just sticks to the tails.
The first, second and
fifth lines rhyme - this
is called rhyme ‘a’.
The third and fourth
lines rhyme - this is
called rhyme ‘b’.
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Structure and Form
The Limerick
Limericks also use a specific ‘meter’, or internal rhythm.
The meter is created by the amount of syllables, and the
stress that is put on certain words. Look at the example
below to see how this works.
There was an old lady from Wales
12345678
Who loved to eat her garden snails
12345678
But she felt quite unwell
123456
When she crunched on a shell
123456
And now she just sticks to the tails.
12345678
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Structure and Form
The Limerick
Limericks are a fun and easy form of poem to write. Have a
go at creating your own limerick, using the template below.
There was a young man from Dundee
Who ……………………………………………
But his ………………………….
And he ………………………….
And now ……………………………………..
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Structure and Form
The Shakespearean Sonnet
On the next slide you will find a famous Shakespearean
Sonnet. This is a form of sonnet named (obviously!) after
Shakespeare, who wrote many sonnets in this particular
format. When you have seen the analysis of this sonnet,
you might like to have a go at writing your own
Shakespearean Sonnet.
The Shakespearean sonnet has the following form:
• 14 lines
• Rhyme scheme: a, b, a, b, c, d, c, d, e, f, e, f, g, g
• Written in iambic pentameter
• Ends with a rhyming couplet
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Structure and Form
The Shakespearean Sonnet
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
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Structure and Form
The Shakespearean Sonnet
Here is the Shakespearean Sonnet again, this time
annotated to show the rhyme scheme.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
a
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
b
rhymes with
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
a
rhymes with
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
b
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Structure and Form
The Shakespearean Sonnet
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
c
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
d rhymes with
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
c
rhymes with
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed; d
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Structure and Form
The Shakespearean Sonnet
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
e
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest,
f
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
e rhymes with
When in eternal lines to time thou growest;
f
rhymes with
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Structure and Form
The Shakespearean Sonnet
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
g
rhymes with
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
g
This is called a ‘rhyming couplet’.
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Textual Analysis - Storyline and Viewpoint
CONTENTS
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Storyline
Viewpoint
First Person Viewpoint
Third Person Viewpoint
Omniscient Viewpoint
Slides 39 - 46
Slides 47 - 49
Slide 50
Slide 51
Slide 52
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
It seems strange to use the word ‘storyline’ in connection
with poetry, but just as a novel or short story will have a plot,
so too will the majority of poems.
When you first read a poem, whether in class or in an
examination, you are looking for meaning. What is this
poem about, you ask yourself? Some poems are not ‘about’
anything - they simply evoke a mood, or an emotion, or a
vivid atmosphere. But even these poems can be said to
have a ‘story’, because the poet is saying something to the
reader.
When you are analysing a poem, you should avoid saying it
is definitely about ‘X’ or ‘Y’. Try instead to interpret its
possible meaning or meanings in your analysis.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Often, the ‘story’ in a poem will work on more than one level.
There could be the literal level, at which the plot or action of
the poem is apparent, but there could also be one or more
deeper levels of meaning. When you see a poem for the
first time, take the following steps:
• On your first reading, simply gain a feeling for atmosphere
or emotion. Do not try to ‘make sense’ of it.
• On your second reading, look to see if there is something
happening in the poem. What is the poet or character
doing?
• On your third reading, start to look deeper. Does the poet
create a metaphor? Is the poem really about something
else?
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
On the next slides you will find the poem “Crossing the Bar”.
We have already looked closely at this poem’s structure.
Now we are going to explore what it is about. Consider the
questions below as you read the poem.
Questions
• What sort of atmosphere does the poet create in his
‘story’? How does he seem to be feeling?
• What is the poem literally about? What is the ‘surface
story’?
• What deeper meanings might there be? Could the whole
poem be an extended metaphor? If so, what does the
metaphor mean? What is the poet trying to say?
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Crossing the Bar
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Crossing the Bar (continued)
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there by no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crost the bar.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809 - 1892)
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Question
• What sort of atmosphere does the poet create in his
‘story’? How does he seem to be feeling?
Answer
The atmosphere in this poem seems to be one of
peacefulness and calm acceptance. The poet asks that
there is “no moaning of the bar” and “no sadness of
farewell”. The words that are used in the poem are soft, with
much repetition of the letters ‘s’ and ‘f’, which creates a
gentle feeling. The poet seems to be feeling positive, almost
hopeful about the journey that he will be making.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Question
• What is the poem literally about? What is the ‘surface
story’?
Answer
On the surface, the poem seems to be about a journey by
boat. Someone, probably the poet, is preparing to set off on
a journey of some sort.
It is evening, as the poet talks of the “sunset and evening
star”, and the “twilight and evening bell”.
At the end of the poem he talks of meeting “my Pilot”. On
the surface, he is making a journey to meet someone.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Question
• What deeper meanings might there be? Could the whole
poem be an extended metaphor? If so, what does the
metaphor mean? What is the poet trying to say?
Answer
The poem would indeed seem to be an extended metaphor.
The poet seems to be talking about his journey towards
death. He is going to “put out to sea” on his final voyage.
The use of images of evening and coming darkness form a
part of this metaphor, as they suggest the end of the day,
and the end of a life. The “Pilot” that the poet talks of could
be his God, whom he hopes to see “face to face”.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Viewpoint
The word ‘viewpoint’ describes the point of view from which a
poem is written. Just as in a novel, a writer might use a first or
third person narrative, so with poetry it is important to identify
what viewpoint the poet is using.
Sometimes, poets will use a real or invented character, to tell
their story, while other poems might be written from the poet’s
own perspective. Some poems use a mixture of viewpoints,
shifting between them in a way not possible in a novel.
Poems that simply describe a place or an emotion might not
use either the first or third person narrator. When the poet
writes as though he or she is a ‘godlike’ voice, looking at the
world from ‘on high’, rather than through a person, this is
known as the omniscient viewpoint.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Here is a brief description of the three main types of
viewpoint:
• First Person Viewpoint. This viewpoint is easily
identifiable, because the writer talks directly to the reader.
Look out for the words “I”, “my”, “me”, and so on.
• Third Person Viewpoint. In the third person viewpoint, the
poet is slightly more distant, talking through a character.
Look for the words “he”, “she”, “him”, “her”, and so on.
• Omniscient Viewpoint. With this viewpoint, the poet is
even further away from the reader, and from his or her
subject. The poem written using this viewpoint might
provide a description, without any sense of character.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Viewpoint
Let’s look now at examples of each of the three types of
viewpoint to help you understand the different effects that
they create. Remember, when you are discussing any part
of a poem, it is important to say why the poet uses this
technique, and the impact it has on the reader.
As we have already seen, the three different viewpoints
identified offer varying degrees of distance from the subject
and from the reader.
With the first person viewpoint, the reader tends to associate
strongly with the writer, feeling what he or she is feeling and
thinking what he or she is thinking. The third person and
omniscient viewpoints allow us to ‘remove’ ourselves more.
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Storyline and Viewpoint
First Person Viewpoint
The Old Stoic (extract)
Riches I hold in light esteem,
And Love I laugh to scorn;
And lust of Fame was but a dream
That vanished with the morn And if I pray, the only prayer
That moves my lips for me
Is - ‘Leave the heart that now I bear,
And give me liberty.’
Emily Brontë (1818 - 1848)
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Third Person Viewpoint
The Blessed Damozel (extract)
The blessed damozel leaned out
From the gold bar of Heaven;
Her eyes were deeper than the depth
Of waters stilled at even;
She had three lilies in her hand,
And the stars in her hair were seven.
Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828 - 1882)
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Storyline and Viewpoint
Omniscient Viewpoint
God’s Grandeur (extract)
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
Gerard Manley Hopkins (1884 - 1889)
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Textual Analysis - Theme and Message
CONTENTS
• Theme
• Message
Slides 54 - 56
Slide 57
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Theme and Message
Theme
Poets use a huge range of themes or subjects in their
work. When you are studying a piece of poetry, you may
find that the theme is immediately apparent, or that you
need to look deeply into the poem to decide exactly what
its theme is.
Often, poets will deal with more than one theme in a
piece of work. For instance, a poet might deal with the
themes of childhood, memories and the natural world, all
within one piece of poetry.
Remember, when you are analysing poetry, you must
comment on the effects or images that are created, as
well as simply identifying the themes.
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Theme and Message
Theme
The images below symbolise three of the most common
themes. Identify the themes that they represent.
Love
God / Religion
Nature
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Theme and Message
Theme
Now look at the poetry extract below and identify which
theme or themes the poet is dealing with.
The Prince of Love (extract)
How sweet I roamed from field to field,
And tasted all the summer’s pride,
‘Till I the prince of love beheld,
Who in the sunny beams did glide!
He showed me lilies for my hair,
And blushing roses for my brow;
He led me through his gardens fair,
Where all his golden pleasures grow.
The themes
used are ...
Love
and ...
Nature
William Blake (1757 - 1827)
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Theme and Message
Message
In addition to using a particular theme or themes, poets will
often give the reader a message through their work. They
could comment on something specific, such as a particular
brand of politics or a war that is taking place. They might
give a more general message, for instance about their
religious beliefs or their feelings about love and beauty.
One example of poetry with a strong message is that written
during the First World War. Well known poets, such as
Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon used their poetry to
comment on the futility of the war, and to tell the people at
home exactly what was going on.
Again, when looking for a message in a poem, ensure that
you comment on its effectiveness and impact.
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Textual Analysis - Rhyme and Rhythm
CONTENTS
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Rhyme
End Rhyme
Internal Rhyme
Half Rhyme
Rhythm
Slides 59 - 60
Slide 61
Slide 62
Slide 63
Slides 64 - 72
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhyme
As we have already noted, poetry does not have to rhyme.
However, when you are analysing a poem, you should
always comment on the effects that rhyme (or the lack of it)
creates.
The use of rhyme within a poem will affect its rhythm.
Rhymes change the way we read poetry, because when we
come to a word that rhymes, we tend to pause slightly,
putting an extra emphasis on that word.
As we have already seen, poets may use a particular rhyme
scheme, such as that in the Shakespearean Sonnet. When
you are identifying and analysing a rhyme scheme, you
must comment on how its use affects you as a reader.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhyme
The English language has many words that rhyme,
including homonyms, which are words that sound the same
but have a different spelling and meaning, e.g. son and sun.
There are various different types of rhyme that you should
learn to identify:
• End Rhyme: words that rhyme at the end of a line.
• Internal Rhyme: words that rhyme within a line.
• Half Rhyme: words that ‘almost’ rhyme, either within or at
the end of a line.
On the following slide you will find examples of each of
these types of rhymes, to show you how they work, and the
effects that they can create.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
End Rhyme
The sky was grey, the snow pure white
The flakes fell heavy through the night.
white rhymes with
night
This is a rhyming couplet, a pair of lines that rhyme.
The sky was grey, the snow pure white
As winter took a hold
The flakes fell heavy through the night
Outside the world was cold.
white
hold rhymes with
night rhymes with
cold
This poem uses the a/b rhyme scheme: lines one
and three rhyme (a), lines two and four rhyme (b).
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Internal Rhyme
grey today
rhymes with
The sky was grey today, the snow pure white
As the night fell and light bled from the world.
night
light
rhymes with
Notice the effect of internal rhyme. It alters the rhythm of
the line, making you pause and place emphasis on the
rhyme. This in turn slows the reader down slightly.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Half Rhyme
now
snow
‘almost’ rhymes with
flew
and with
The sky was grey, now snow flew pure white
Notice the effect of half rhyme here. Again, it changes
the rhythm of the line. Each of the half rhymes is a
monosyllable, and this adds even further to slowing down
the reader as he or she says these words.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
Poetry is about sound as well as about creating images.
Even if you are not reading a poem out loud, you should still
be able to ‘hear it’ in your head, and this will help you
understand its rhythm.
Rhythm is a very important aspect of poetry. As well as
changing the way that you say a poem, it can also link to
the images that the poet describes. For instance, if a poet
were describing a clock ticking, he or she might use short,
alliterative words to help echo the sound of the clock.
As we have seen, rhyme and rhythm are inextricably linked,
and the use of rhyme will create a certain rhythm naturally
within a poem.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
As well as the poet’s use of rhyme, there are various other
aspects of a poem that will help to create rhythm:
• The length of the words used. A series of monosyllables
will create a very different effect from longer words.
• The length of the lines. When we are reading a poem, we
tend to stop or pause at the end of a line.
• The use of punctuation. Full stops, commas, semi colons
and other forms of punctuation will all have an impact on a
poem’s rhythm.
• The use of techniques such as alliteration and imagery.
These affect the way we say the words and consequently
the rhythm of a poem.
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
Now we are going to look at an example, to see exactly how
rhythm is created. The poem that we are going to look at is
called “No Worst, there is None”. You can see the poem in
full on the next slide.
The writer of this poem, Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844 1889) wrote with a style that was ahead of his time. As you
will see from studying this example of his work, he makes
particular use of the rhythm inherent in the English
language. He was very much concerned with the sound of
words and, although he does use rhyme, there are many
other aspects of the work that help to create its rhythm.
Look too at the way this poet ‘plays’ with language, creating
‘new’ words or using old words in unfamiliar ways.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
‘No Worst, there is None’
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chiefwoe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No lingering! Let me be fell : force I must be brief’.
Of the mind, mind has mountains; cliffs of fall
Frightful, sheer, no-man-fathomed. Hold them cheap
May who ne’er hung there. Nor does long our small
Durance deal with that steep or deep. Here! creep,
Wretch, under a comfort serves in a whirlwind : all
Life death does end and each day dies with sleep.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
First, let’s think about how the length of the words affects
the rhythm. Here are the first four lines of the poem again.
Find all the words that have more than one syllable.
‘No Worst, there is None’
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
Questions
• What effect is created by the use of monosyllables in the
first line?
• How does the rhythm change in lines 3 and 4?
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
Question
• What effect is created by the use of monosyllables in the
first line?
Answer
The monosyllables make the tone sound almost angry, as
though the words are being spat out by the speaker.
Alternatively, it might be that the speaker is worn out, with all
the emotion and normal rhythm of speech lost from his
voice. The reader is forced to read the line with an even
emphasis on each word, and this effect is enhanced by the
alliteration of the letter ‘p’ in the words “pitched past pitch”.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
Question
• How does the rhythm change in lines 3 and 4?
Answer
The rhythm changes abruptly in the third and fourth lines.
The word “comforter”, with its three syllables, slows the
reader right down. It is a much softer word that those used
previously, and it is mirrored at the end of the line by the
word “comforting”.
In the fourth line, the rhythm changes again. This time, the
word “Mary” with two syllables, gives a swing to the line,
repeated in the words “mother” and “relief”.
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Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
Next, let’s look at some of the punctuation in these first four
lines, and the ways that it affects the rhythm of the piece.
‘No Worst, there is None’
No worst, there is none. Pitched past pitch of grief,
More pangs will, schooled at forepangs, wilder wring.
Comforter, where, where is your comforting?
Mary, mother of us, where is your relief?
The full stop in the middle of the first line creates a break and
causes the reader to stop abruptly on a ‘down’ beat.
The commas in the second line break the line into three.
The question marks in the third and fourth lines create a pause
as the question is asked, and add to the poem’s tone.
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Rhyme and Rhythm
Rhythm
Finally, let’s consider how the use of alliteration and
assonance adds to the rhythm. Here are lines five to eight
from the poem. Find some examples of these techniques.
Alliteration of
Assonance
ofthe
theletter
letter‘l’
‘h’
‘w’
‘e’
‘o’
My cries heave, herds-long; huddle in a main, a chiefwoe, world-sorrow; on an age-old anvil wince and sing Then lull, then leave off. Fury had shrieked ‘No lingering! Let me be fell : force I must be brief’.
Activity
• Choose one of these examples of alliteration or
assonance, and discuss or write about the effects it creates.
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Textual Analysis - Tone, Mood and Emotion
CONTENTS
• Tone
Slides 74 - 77
• Mood and Emotion Slides 78 - 79
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Tone, Mood and Emotion
Tone
The tone of a poem is one of the first things that you will
notice it about it as you read. The word ‘tone’ describes the
overall sort of atmosphere and feeling that the poem seems
to have.
A good way to understand exactly what tone means, is to
think of a poem like a song. Ask yourself: if this poem was
set to music, what sort of music would it have? For instance,
a poem about losing a lover would probably have a sad,
emotional music, because this would fit its tone. On the other
hand, a poem about a beautiful spring day might have a more
energetic, positive tone.
Look at the short extracts on the following slides and choose
the tone or tones that you think best describes them.
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Tone, Mood and Emotion
Tone
Is the tone of the poem ...
Holy Sonnets (extract)
Despair behind, and death before doth cast
Such terror, and my feebled flesh doth waste
By sin in it, which it towards hell doth weigh.
Happy?
Sad?
Excited?
Fearful?
Resigned?
Calm?
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Tone, Mood and Emotion
Tone
Is the tone of the poem ...
The Tiger (extract)
Tiger! Tiger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Happy?
Sad?
Excited?
Fearful?
Resigned?
Calm?
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Tone, Mood and Emotion
Tone
Is the tone of the poem ...
Song (extract)
When I am dead, my dearest,
Sing no sad songs for me;
Plant thou no roses at my head,
Nor shady cypress tree:
Happy?
Sad?
Excited?
Fearful?
Resigned?
Calm?
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Tone, Mood and Emotion
Mood and Emotion
When you analyse the mood and emotion of a poem, you
should think both about the feelings of the poet, and the
mood or emotions that the poem creates in you.
There are various ways that a poet can create a strong sense
of mood or emotion. They could use:
• Vivid imagery, for instance metaphor, personification or
alliteration.
• Adverbs and adjectives that give the reader a sense of how
they are feeling.
• A subject or theme that automatically evokes strong feeling,
e.g. war or love.
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Tone, Mood and Emotion
Mood and Emotion
Look at the extracts below, and decide what mood or emotion
the poet is creating.
Daffodils (extract)
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
A Red, Red Rose (extract)
William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850)
My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune.
Robert Burns (1759 - 1796)
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Textual Analysis - Using your Senses
CONTENTS
• Using your Senses Slides 81 - 83
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Using your Sense
Using your Senses
As we have seen throughout this unit, poetry can make vivid
pictures for us to see in our imaginations. Poets also use
sound to great effect, giving added impact to the images that
they create.
However, when we are reading poetry we can also use our
other senses. As we as seeing and hearing a poem, the poet
might also give us a strong sense of smell, or of taste, or of
touch.
The group of poets known as the ‘Romantics’, made
particularly strong use of all the senses in their work.
Famous poets such as Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge
and Lord Byron, wrote about the natural world in a highly vivid
way.
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Using your Sense
Using your Senses
As you read the poem “Kubla Khan” by Samuel Taylor
Coleridge, identify which of your senses you could use:
Hear
Smell
Taste
Touch /
Feel
See
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Using your Sense
Using your Senses
Kubla Khan (extract)
In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round:
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834)
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Detailed Analysis
On the next slides you will find a detailed analysis of the
poem “Wind” by Ted Hughes. The analysis is structured
under the following headings, discussed in detail in this unit:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Structure and Form
Storyline and Viewpoint
Theme and Message
Rhyme and Rhythm
Tone, Mood and Emotion
Using your Senses
In addition, we will consider Ted Hughes’ use of imagery, as
explored in the unit “Analysing Imagery”. First, read the
whole poem through several times, to get a ‘feel’ for it.
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Wind by Ted Hughes
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet
Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.
At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up-Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap:
The wind flung a magpie away and a blackBack gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house
Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought
Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the windows tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Structure and Form
At first glance, the structure of the poem seems quite simple:
it has six verses, each with four lines. However, on closer
inspection you will notice how the punctuation often ‘runs
over’, connecting some of the verses with the ones that
follow them.
Using punctuation in this way can have a variety of different
effects, and these effects will become more apparent the
more times you read the poem. When considering the
impact of punctuation on structure, think carefully about any
possible links to the poem’s meaning. Look too at where
and why the poet does not ‘run over’ with the punctuation.
Let’s look now at one example from “The Wind” to see what
the effects might be.
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Analysing a Poem
Structure and Form
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride
and blinding wet
Till day rose ; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places,
Notice the effect here: by ‘running over’ the punctuation from
verse one to verse two, the poet moves us from the stormy
night into the beginning of a new day. The reader seems to
experience the night leading into the new dawn with the
narrator.
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Storyline and Viewpoint
Clearly, the overall ‘story’ of the poem is about a storm, and
about the narrator’s responses to it. However, notice too how
the storyline and viewpoint change from verse to verse.
One of the ways in which Ted Hughes emphasises the
unfolding story is by using indicators of time. Each of the first
three verses pinpoints the time exactly in the very first line:
“all night”; “Till day rose”; “At noon”. Time is clearly an
important theme here, and this is emphasised by the
repetition of “any second” in the fourth and fifth verses.
Using the charts on the next two slides, summarise what
happens in each verse (the storyline), and what the viewpoint
seems to be. The first verse has been done for you.
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Verse One
A storm rages
all night long.
Viewpoint
Omniscient
(‘god-like’ narrator)
Verse Two
Verse Three
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Analysing a Poem
Storyline and Viewpoint
Storyline
Viewpoint
Verse Four
Verse Five
Verse Six
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Analysing a Poem
Theme and Message
In this poem, the themes seem to be closely linked to the imagery
that Ted Hughes uses. Complete the activity below to develop
your understanding of these themes.
Activity
For each of the themes listed below, find an image from the
poem that links closely with that idea. What message might
Ted Hughes be offering the reader through the use of these
themes and images?
•
•
•
•
Time;
The weather;
The landscape;
Man’s relationship with the natural world.
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Rhyme and Rhythm
Although there is no obvious use of rhyme in this poem,
Hughes does make great use of the sound and rhythmic
possibilities of the English language. As with the structure, the
rhythm within the poem seems closely linked to its meanings.
For instance, in the following line, the monosyllabic nature of
the words makes the reader slow right down as he or she reads
it. This links closely to the image that is being described: the
slow bending of the strong gull is emphasised by the slow,
strong language used:
“a black-/Back gull bent like an iron bar slowly.”
Can you find other examples of this link between rhythm and
meaning in the poem?
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Tone, Mood and Emotion
Answer the questions below to develop your understanding of
Hughes’ use of tone, mood and emotion.
Questions
• How does the narrator feel about the storm? Look closely at
each verse to find your answer, analysing the range of
emotions that he experiences.
• There is a sense of fear at certain points in the poem.
Where would you say that the fear is at its strongest? What
does the narrator do that emphasises this feeling?
• What is the overall tone and mood of the poem? Does the
tone change as the poem progresses?
• How does the imagery used contribute to the poem’s mood?
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Using your Senses
Hughes uses a variety of sensations to strengthen the effect of his
poem. For each of the three images below, find one quotation
that you feel connects strongly to that sense.
Hear
Touch /
Feel
See
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
On the next slides, we are going to analyse the imagery that
Ted Hughes uses in detail, looking at each verse in turn. As
you look at the analysis, think about the effects that each
type of imagery creates, and the meanings it implies.
As we have already noted, the imagery in the poem links
closely to its themes and structure. Through the strength of
the ‘word pictures’ that Hughes creates, he gives a sense
that the weather is alive, that the storm has a personality of
its own.
The contrast between the weather and the people sheltering
indoors makes a clear point about the relationship between
humans and nature: these people seem minute in
comparison to the huge force of the natural world.
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
Metaphor: the house is
described as though it is
a boat
This house has been far out at sea all night,
The woods crashing through darkness, the booming hills,
Winds stampeding the fields under the window
Floundering black astride and blinding wet
Personification: the woods
and winds are described as
though they are alive
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
Personification: the day
‘rose’, as though it were
getting up out of bed
Alliteration: this echoes
the sound of the wind
Till day rose; then under an orange sky
The hills had new places, and wind wielded
Blade-light, luminous black and emerald,
Flexing like the lens of a mad eye.
Simile: this image continues
the personification of the
wind, as though it is a wild,
mad person
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
Metaphor: the house is
‘scaled’, as though it were
a dangerous mountain
At noon I scaled along the house-side as far as
The coal-house door. Once I looked up-Through the brunt wind that dented the balls of my eyes
The tent of the hills drummed and strained its guyrope,
Personification: this image
again continues the
personification of the wind,
as though it has the strength
to hurt the narrator
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
Metaphor: the hills are
described using the image of
a tent, as though they might
blow away
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Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
Personification: the fields
‘quiver’, the skyline is a ‘grimace’
- notice the sense of fear here
The fields quivering, the skyline a grimace,
At any second to bang and vanish with a flap:
The wind flung a magpie away and a blackBack gull bent like an iron bar slowly. The house
Personification: the image of the
wind as a person is extended
even further - as though it
intends to throw the bird away
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
Simile: the human made goblet
can hardly withstand the force of
nature
Rang like some fine green goblet in the note
That any second would shatter it. Now deep
In chairs, in front of the great fire, we grip
Our hearts and cannot entertain book, thought
Metaphor: the fear of nature
makes them ‘grip’ their hearts,
trying to gain courage in the
face of the elements
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
Analysing a Poem
Use of Imagery
Metaphor: these people cling to natural
things - the fire, the ‘roots’ of the house
in an attempt to face nature
Or each other. We watch the fire blazing,
And feel the roots of the house move, but sit on,
Seeing the windows tremble to come in,
Hearing the stones cry out under the horizons.
Personification: the poem ends
with the ‘cry’ of the stones, as
though they too are fearful of
the storm
Reproduced with the permission of Faber and Faber Ltd
© Boardworks Ltd 2001
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Poetry - Textual Analysis