AQA Unseen Poetry Part 1



hello everybody welcome to this video on AQA English literature and I'm going to look today at unseen poetry what I go through in this video applies to all exam boards so even if you're not studying on AQA stick around unseen poetry is the final part of the final literature exam paper paper to section C and I have a five-step process for all unseen poems that I think will really help you so let's get right into it so what you get in this unseen poetry section where you get two poems that you've never seen before you ask a longer question about the first poem like this on the screen a 24 mark question and then a very short question an 8 mark question where you're asked to compare both of the unseen poems and obviously that's a real challenge and it's not something you know many teachers would particularly like to do so we appreciate that this is something that is stretching students out from a book on the screen this is a typical question the poem nettles and you can pause the video and read the poem and the question is in Nettles how does the poet present the speaker's relationship with his son and it's worth 24 marks now this whole paper is worth 96 marks and it's a 2 hour 15 minute paper so that means if we work on the timing that you should spend about a minute to a minute and a half per mark available so in other words this and this question you should spend about probably let's say 30 minutes on this question okay now let's have a look at the assessment objectives the great thing about GCSE English literature on the 8008 sound board is that the mark schemes are pretty much exactly the same for paper 1 section 80 people and Section B paper to section 82 – sex would be and then they just slightly change on paper to section C where of course ao3 context is not assessed because you couldn't be expected to have any kind of knowledge about the context of the poem that you've not seen before and obviously no marks for a Oh for spelling punctuation and grammar because that's just assessed in the first question section a question of both literature papers so all of the marks for unseen poetry's or the first poem for a oh one and a oh two and I'll go through those with you in a second now just to say the highest marks as I've said all the way through my series on English literature do make sure you'll subscribe to the channel if you haven't done so already the highest marks go for students who analyze language and structure and form okay and I put a video out just a couple of days ago about what language structure and form means in poetry but also students who have a conceptualized response and this means that you don't just say four or five hour isolated things about the poem but you actually have a theory an idea a hypothesis which you then explore throughout your answer a line of argument and that you have precise quotations so my five-step process helps you with these highest mark level descriptors and let's get right into it so the process that I suggest you go through is that step one you read for literal meaning one of the things that I really like about the fact that there's no higher or foundation to you exam anymore is that everybody in the country obviously has to do the same paper and as a result the exam board will choose Helens that can be accessed at a very simple level but also have hidden depths for the higher ability students so what that really means is that the poem will have a very simple literal meaning and the first thing you should do step one is to read the poem and try to understand on a very simple literal level what is going on so let's have a look at the poem nettles my sir Nate three is tell in the nettle bed bed seems a curious name for those green spheres that regiment of Speights behind the shed it was no place to rest with sobs and tears the boy came seeking comfort and I saw white blisters beaded on his tender skin received until his pain was not so raw and last he offered us a watery grin and then I took my folk and hone the blade and went outside and slashed in fury with it so not a nettle in that fierce parade stood upright anymore next task I'll it as funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead but in two weeks the busy southern rain had called up to rhetoric roots behind the shed my son would often feel sharp wounds again and the question is in Nettles how does the poet present the speaker's relationship with his son so the first thing we need to think about is on a very simple literal level what is this program about and as I said the exam board is going to choose a poem which has a simple meaning and hidden depths so in the simple interpretation this is just a poem about the speaker's son being stung by nettles and the father reacting by cutting the nettles down simple now step two I call look for poetic devices and what I mean by this are the sorts of things that we all know about similes and metaphors environments and language choices that are deliberate for effect so what would I choose here regiment to spiked some very harsh sounds way spiteful sounds there perhaps the possessive language advised and this sort of my son quite possessive distant language with the boy and the word soothed I think is significant it's got that the diphthong the elongated vowel sound the Sybil and so that sound so it's quite a gentle sounding word and you can pick up other things as well the next stage is to look at structure and form how is the poem organized whether the stanzas change why does it follow the pattern of a specific type of poetry and again my recent video about language structure and form in poetry will help you here we can say that this doesn't really have a particular form and it's not a dramatic monologue it's not a sonnet anything like that but what about the structure well what jumps out to me is how the structure is very tightly controlled the nines are in iambic pentameter there are four stanzas each stanza has four lines the rhyme scheme is organized and controlled with an ABA divine scheme so you're just picking out these things and you need to be at the point by the way where you do all of this in a couple of minutes you know you just need to be able to look at a poem and pick these sorts of things out step four for me is the key one looking for supple T's and inconsistencies and this is a great way to help you understand the deeper meaning of a poem it's often found by looking for words or phrases which don't seem to fit in with the literal interpretation so in this poem we could say well this is a poem about a boy getting stung by nettles and his dad sort of cutting the nettles down why are there all of these military metaphors why is there the use of Spears regiments parade recruits and the Fallen dead all of this kind of language to do with a war and the army in the military and doesn't make sense in the simple interpretation and I often think that hints at the deeper meaning of the poem so higher ability students looking for the highest marks so for those things that don't quite seem appropriate or necessary for helping you to understand the simple interpretation and then step 5 is to answer the question so with all of those things in mind I was think okay what is the relationship with the Sun you see a simple response would be the dad loves his son and you know because when his son was hurt he looked after him and then he went and cut the nettles down but that is a plot related down so we don't want to retell the story of the poem we want to analyze the specific uses of language and structure and form although there's nothing to say about form and this this particular poem so what we would think about is things like this okay we've spotted these military metaphors which appeared throughout the poem what might not tell us about the relationship with the son obviously we don't know that we might say well perhaps the relationship is combatants you know perhaps it has a sort of conflict perhaps they're constantly at war with each other and the ending my son would often feel sharpened again suggests that perhaps that was the future of this relationship as well but it was a sort of one that had a lot of conflict in it and then we would say well is there any evidence that you know he does love his son yes I think soon thing is it soothed is a great word very soft word you know we've got some real harsh sounds in the ProAm regiment respite with that sounds something really aggressive but the word soon is very gentle word as I talked about the diphthong and and the sibilance really kind of creating a soft sound and by the way when you're analyzing poetry the sound of words is so important obviously you can't read it out loud at the exam but you can't sort of just whisper it to yourself or mouth it to yourself just to get a feel for the sounds of the words because that's one of the things that's unique about poetry and perhaps drama as well a little bit is that this sort of sounds of the words are so important so step five is to answer the question and as I said we're looking for a conceptualized response which means we don't just want to say here's an example of a beloved hymn here's an example of it being angry here's the metaphors between this you want to bring it all together in a hypothesis and as I talked about numerous times in my playlists I think the best line of argument you can have it's a two-part line of argument in the time you've got here about 30 minutes is to say it looks like this but actually it's like this so what I want you to do is to watch the next video which will come out tomorrow and I'll show you my answer or part of my answer to this question and also we'll jump in and have a look at how do you look at the second unseen poem as well

38 thoughts on “AQA Unseen Poetry Part 1

  1. Does it hint at the theme that the power of nature will always be more powerful than the power of man. Maybe hinting towards nature vs man and how not even our instinct to protect our young will protect them but really a child will only learn from the pain and our instinct to protect our children is really a war with the way a child could learn shown by the words that connotate to war like 'regiment'. I don't know maybe and maybe you could like that to how the father might be very over protective with his son and this is a hinderence to his learning. Sorry we haven't looked at unseen poetry yet. Near the end of year 10 so just wanted to get a bit ahead.

  2. I didn't get the relationship of conflict between father and son. I thought the opposite that the poem was more anti-war and the pointlessness of war. You can cut down nettles but it won't protect your son. They just grow back, the killing was pointless. You cannot kill to protect your family, taught this to your children. It might be i am just plain wrong

  3. Got my first set of Mocks tomorrow, thanks for helping out (my teacher won't stop going on about you).

  4. I think that the bit where it says 'honed the blade' could denote war against nature
    also the ABAB structure could suggest that the writer has so degree of control of the situation
    it may also suggest the he is telling a story.

    its just an idea and i know i probably way off but you know …….

  5. ironically the poem nettles has been something my class had worked on.

  6. Does this apply to wjec? If you could reply asap that would be great as I have my exam tomorrow 😅

  7. I thought the military images show that the dad feels very protective towards his son and sees anything that threatens him as dangerous which is why he describes the nettles in a military way. I think he attacks them in a military style because he feels angry that anything can hurt his son and he wants to stop it. I don't think there is particularly a conflict in the relationship and he calls his son 'MY son' and ''THE boy because he is so important to him and wants to protect him. I think he realises at the end of the poem that there is nothing he can do in the end to stop his son being hurt again by the nettles or anything else in his future life, physically or mentally but while he can protect him he will. Thanks for all your amazing help with my GCSEs – Paper 2 tomorrow!!

  8. I have my unseen poem section tomorrow and I’m so worried about it!! Thank you for this 🙏🏼

  9. Having to go to YouTube because my English teacher is rubbish and has set the whole class up to fail the exam….which is TOMORROW!
    Thanks Miss read extremely sarcastically

  10. My English teacher tells us to “flirt with out poem”:
    F – form/structure
    L- language
    I- imagery
    R-rhyme/rhythm
    T- tone/theme

  11. Anyone taking these exams- you'll probably do better than me.

  12. i got 48h to revise now with a bad memory, taking notes!

  13. Its interesting how readers can have widely opposing interpretations and still end up with an excellent essay. For me "Nettles" suggests that the narrator/father has accepted as fact that he can not protect his son from life's challenges and heartbreak. The use of words from the military semantic field suggests rhat the narrator's background is old fashioned values and goes brilliantly with the tightly controlled structure and form, anf explsins gus use of the rather cikd, detached article "the" in "the boy" rather than repeating the softer possessive "my", which in turn inplies that he is not wishing to come across as being overly possessive ( or even possibly narcissistic, by living his life vicariously through his child).
    Assuming one had time, is there any point in bringing in any other poems by Scanbell?

  14. ughhh sometimes i really just wanna work hard and get great grades but than im like " How am i letting a bloody grade define my abilities?!"

  15. Can you annotate the poem and write around it. So I can write the Langauge techniques, structure and form and deliberate technique for me to understand them

  16. Hi mr bruff just realised that i wrote the wrong quote of exposure when i
    was comparing it to boynet charge do my grades decrease and for
    inspector calls i just made up a quote about mrs birling will i loose
    marks

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