Examiners Advice for Comparing Poems: How to Choose Which Poems to Compare (Power and Conflict)



hello welcome to this first in a series of videos I'm going to make on the poetry cluster I'm going to start with the conflict and power cluster and what I've realized is actually you don't need a video on each poem much more useful is going to be a video comparing poems so the first question I get are these which poems should I compare and the answer to that is actually quite easy you can compare any poem it really doesn't matter an easy way to divide month is to compare the ones that are about war together so charge of the Light Brigade exposure bayonet charge war photographer camicazi are obviously about fighting that leads poppies and remains remains and fit in that category easily poppies less so and you can simply group them that way we've had a steer from the example that they're likely to include a romantic occurrence so if you're looking at romantic poems that you've got a man Dias London I just scrape in there the premiums would be in their charge of the Light Brigade after the Romantic period so there's a high chance that other man Deus or the friend or London will come up and you can add into that my last Duchess okay so one of those four it's very likely to come up as a named poem and I would suggest also that charm alive again is very likely to and the example haven't specified that they will take a poem written before the 20th century as they're named poems of print but I think that's a reasonable guess at this stage and so my comparisons will tend to and always have one of these poems in them to help you should that happen okay I'm now going to show you some PowerPoint slides from AQA from the examples to show you what it is you need to know so in assessment objective one what they really answer Arthur with this you to have a response to show that you understand the text that's very easy but what they want is a coherent response so I'm going to give you a method that will show you how to be coherent how to link things together to write an essay in a logical water so my videos will all follow this pneumonic boxing or you can extend it to boot C and the idea is that you will deal with the beginning of both poems then you will find language features you might have learned them the so pains that I turn into OAP veins so that I can I can put them into my demonic ear so onomatopoeia alliteration personification similarly adjectives imagery metaphor and that's usually a structure of some sort but you'll see how those fit then a reference to the title if you need it son comment on the structure which will always mean and a comment on the ending and simply following through this structure will always make sure that your essay is coherent now because you're comparing you really don't have much time to write a lot about each poem so you'll talk about the beginning of one and then compare that to the beginning of the other a language feature or poetic technique in one and compare it to the other I put a second one in in case you're really good and you've got time then the title or if you've got time or it's relevant structure is the must and then the ending because you're comparing with another poem each time you don't have to know the poem in incredible detail because you simply won't be able to write that much about each one okay now I hope you can see how Bootsie will help you with all of this so it forces you to analyze language and the structure and you we'll be writing about the meanings and effects all the way through with the terminology from so pains IP a keen aim I will actually teach you other techniques that are also included ideally students will use subject terminology as a shorthand to scaffold their analysis of craft so what the examiner wants really is for you to keep naming the techniques that's going to be really important to getting top grades okay now we have assessment objective three and what the examiners are after here is the relationship between the ideas in the poem and the context so here you have to know a tiny bit about them the history or the thoughts of the poet at the time but what we don't want is a massive paragraph about the context think of context like an embedding quotation where you just slip a few words into your sentence and that's what context is like and it's very broad you can talk about the society you can talk about the place you can talk about other texts that are written at the same time and other genres all we need some in the same genre so this is really broad and very easy to slip in and I'll show you how to do that okay the examiners are perceive that their question will force you to hit all those three assessment objectives so they think this command word compare will force you to give a response about poems well that seems logical now this bit is it crucial here and they named they asked you to look at poets but what they really mean is this focus on the writer in order to remind candidates to think about the tack as a conscious construct and so what the examiner mean by this is all the way through they want you to be writing about the poet's purpose why is the poet doing this what point of view do they want to create and that will be what's in all my videos on the poems how do you relate all this terminology to the poet's purpose that's going to get you top marks and the other thing that's easy to forget is that power and conflict isn't just the catchy name for group of poems it's actually what the examiners want you to write about so when they got ideas here they mean what the poet's ideas about conflict or what are the poet's ideas about power so this ask candidates to think about the contextual elements so you have to know a little bit about what's going on in the world of the poet at that time in order to show what the poet thinks and wants the reader the contemporary reader the reader at the time to think again that's not an active paragraph so for imagine you know in the challenge of Light Brigade you need to know it's about the Crimean War and that Tennyson is writing in support of the war to glorify the heroic deeds of the British soldier in order to boost public support for the war you know that's all you need you don't need them huge amounts and then this final bit of advice here the candidates have free choice about which poems choose from their cluster in other words the examiners really don't care and there isn't a best fit what there is is the one that springs to your mind bet I will pick the one that I think goes back and you can use that in your revision but don't worry now let's sit there in the exam thinking oh gosh I'm not sure which one to do if it's a wall poem just pick another wall poem if it's one about power relationships just pick another one about power relationships you know you don't get marks for finding the right poem all the poems are potentially right okay let's end by looking at what my videos will look like in this series so they'll all begin with Bootsie and then I simply take you through some powerpoints my class actually stopped doing them on Word documents I put my PowerPoint for us so here we go they'll focus on the beginning of each time that I'm matching together then you'll get a range of the language techniques I'll put more than you need you can see that I've got quite a few slides there then you'll have an exploration of the title and I'll give you many more than one point of view about the title you don't have to write about them all but I want to get you to think deeply about poem very quickly and this is a nice way to do it then we'll have some aspects of structure and then oops there is sorry I haven't completed that PowerPoint slide and then we'll finish up with the ending which would be that one okay so it'll be very simple very quick and we'll try and get each video under 15 minutes it's easy to revise from we finished this one in 10 please subscribe if you want more boom drop the mic

26 thoughts on “Examiners Advice for Comparing Poems: How to Choose Which Poems to Compare (Power and Conflict)

  1. wish I'd found this video earlier! now I'm on the night before the exam quickly watching videos!

  2. do you know whats likely to come up on friday?? btw great videos, very helpful keep it up!

  3. I've been studying the love and relationships cluster, and you've mentioned the poet's purpose, but I'm not sure what it would be for any of the poems? For example, if I wanted to say that the author's purpose was to criticise the patriarchal society of the time, would I be able to say this, or would the purpose have to be limited to something to do with love and relationships? I know you're not currently teaching love and relationships but if you could give me any sort of pointer that would be immensely helpful. Thank you!

  4. Hey! I followed your poem plan template and OMG it works! My last stanza about the change gave me chills when writing, I feel many other people would find it useful so I will paste it on this video and the 'plan' video.

    Firstly, At the beginning of “Bayonet Charge” Hughes presents the speakers as heroic and brave as he starts with a soldier who “suddenly awoke” and is “-raw”. The verb “awoke” could be seen as literally suggesting he has ‘awoken’ into combat, however, it could also be symbolism to a new view of war, as if he suddenly realised he is not seen as human. Meanwhile, the adjective “raw” acts as a metaphor with many meanings, perhaps the solider is “raw” with emotions, “raw” with age or most likely “raw” as in meat, and meant to be killed suggesting the solider knows he will die emphasising his bravery, however, also highlights how unhuman he is. Additionally, at the beginning of “Kamikaze” the Beatrice presents the pilot as brave and patriotic – like Hughes, not only does he “embark at sunrise” with the noun “sun” being symbolic to the Japanese flag, Garland uses listing to create a sense of duty to the pilot: “A samurai sword”, “A shaven head”, “A flask of water”. Suggesting that the conflict in an honour to the piolet.
    In “Bayonet Charge”, Hughes also expresses the sense that conflict is worthless, the analogy “lugged a rifle” implies the speaker feels the rifle is useless as he will die before he will use it, showing the impracticality of not only the solders weapon but war itself. The active verb “lugged” suggest that the solider is dragging the object with great effort and is slowing him down, further emphasising the feeling that the speaker does not want to be at conflict but feels it is nuisance.
    In “Kamikaze”, Beatrice also suggests that conflict and in turn patriotism is worthless to the pilot, by using harsh and cynical adjectives such as “dark”, “turbulent”, “black, “muscular” and “dangerous” inform the reader of the fate the pilot is heading for, displaying the theme of personal conflict However, these contrast with the very joyful nouns: “sunrise” and “bunting”, and the verbs: “safe”, “laughed”, “loved”. By juxtaposition this language, the poem reflects the inner conflict the pilot has between national duty and personal conviction.
    Hughes uses the title, “Bayonet Charge” to not only shows that the poem is set in World War One (Which his father fought in and survived), but to shows the unhuman and sacrificial act which almost guaranties certain death that the solider was experiencing. However, later on in the poem Hughes uses the phrase “Cold clockwork of stars” suggesting that the soldiers fate is mapped out by nature/the supernatural, yet, structurally places the phrase “the nations” adjacent. This suggests the speaker feels his most certain is death is at fault of his country, suggesting Hughes feels that conflict is insignificant and pointless. Similarly, Garlands title “Kamikaze” also contrasts to the poem itself, the verb “kamikaze” suggests patriotism and taking one’s life; something that doesn’t happen in the poem. Like Hughes, Garland suggests to the reader how the speakers almost uncertain death is at the hands of his leaders, however, due to the personal conflict of the pilot does not happen – Both the poems denote the idea of conflict.
    Structurally, Hughes shows the disjointed experience of war by using irregular lengthed lines which feature no regular sillible pattern or rhythm, furthermore in the first stanza all the lines are subordinate clauses, making sense on their own, other than line 4 that features enjambment ending in the verb “hearing” making the reader pause and think. Furthermore, the line that follows lacks any other men showing how deadly the war was, however, it also shows how narrow minded the speaker was that he was purely focused on his survival. The verb “smack” also makes a violent sound when read aloud, used to create violent imagery. Beatrice however shows the extent at which the pilot was cut off from society by writing in first person – the pilot has no say in the poem.
    At the end of Hughes poem, we see a shift in viewpoint, the final line “terrors touchy dynamite” employs dual meanings to show how the speaker feelings have change, it could be how his terror and anger will cause him to explode, or his terror will cause him to die, and also shows how dehumanize the soldier is, they are not even meat “-raw” like he felt in the first stanza, just a weapon (“dynamite”), showing that Hughes almost certainly feels conflict is unwelcome. Similarly, Garlands last line “which had been the better way to die” emphasises that by turning back – an act that was meant to keep the pilot alive, killed him. The noun “better” not only referring to the pain of the death but also the dignity and regret. Unlike the soldiers shift in viewpoint in “Bayonet Charge”, the pilot died metaphorically for standing up for what he believed in, whereas the solider died for what his country believed in – both suggesting that conflict will impact you whether you chose to it to or not.

  5. Hey, quick question, what do you mean compare the beginning and the ending of the poems. How do you do that, is it just looking at language/structural features in the beginning/ending of the poems or just summarising the beginning and like the message behind for example. Thanks!

  6. hi Mr Salles   I    have   been  founding your videos   really helpful to understand  gaps in my knowledge, however I     want  some    really big    help and guidance  from you.   I   am taking  my gcse this year  and I am      mostly     STRUGGLING expressing my ideas /interpretations or knowledge about a poem /text /extract ,with "correct words" or better way than  my current way     to reach high levels 7/8 . I am not sure if my low grades  are affected by     weak analysis or   not good enough   inference  but      I         am           100 %   sure  of  this particular problematic area .I   do struggle a lot  with       descriptive and narrative writing as you can understand that I don't know   how to express them better ,     as  English   is my     3rd   language  ,     so  I don't have a deeper understanding    o f    is subject since secondary school(I   haven't done my studies in this country ) .Though  I don't understand myself what skills or practice I       need  to    do     to   greatly  Improve my skills and understanding in English gcse  before my exam  ?!!
    (if you want me to send you part of the essays answers    I     usually write  ,   so you can understand better what  I      actually mean ,then please let me know)
                  I   would be really     grateful for any  help  you could give me      as  I   hope you could understand the problem   I  am currently facing so you  can help my re direct my weakness area.
    I  hope to hear back from your comments soon.
        Thank   you  very much .

  7. sir is ozymandias likely to come up as it was on the specimen paper ???

  8. Do teachers get to see our real exam and grade once it has been marked by the examiner?

  9. Hi Mr Salles, I have probably left this way too late but I have a year 10 mock exam tomorrow just about comparing storm on the island to a poem of my choice but the teachers have recommended we compare it to Exposure so I am going to do that. My targets are a grade 8/9 and was wondering if you had any last minute tips on how to structure the argument , whether I need to include effect on the reader and what I should write about in the introduction and conclusion. I have just wrote two quick example paragraphs so you can have an understanding of my style of writing. Any feedback would be very muchly appreciated even if I have already done the mock by the time you see this, it would be great to get some tips and feedback. Thanks a lot!(**intro**)Both Storm On The Island and Exposer explore the idea of conflict between the persona and nature, and ultimately conveys the weakness of man himself. Heaney portrays the savagery of nature through his depiction of the sea that surrounds the island, "spit[ting] like a tame cat turned savage." This simile reveals the potential destructiveness of nature and, moreover, its wild unpredictability. If we were to read the poem as an extended metaphor for The Troubles in Northern Ireland, such as a simile may also betray Heaney's political views and more specifically how he uses nature to represent his anti-war sentiment. Similarly in Exposure, Owen also expresses he pacifism but in a more evident way then Heaney. Exposure directly addresses the problems of war and, in particular, World War One. The use of personification- "the merciless iced east winds that knife us"- demonstrates nature to be the enemy and also the unapologetic characteristics of it, much like those men involved in the battles of WW1 and there order to kill the enemy without thinking or even contemplating their action's righteousness. Furthermore, in regards to structure, Heaney uses free verse to imply that the acts of weather and nature are unforeseeable. This coupled with the poet's use of a single stanza portrays the inescapability of the storm and how the persona of the poem has almost accepted there fate in which all hope has been lost and they are to be prepared for the worst. Likewise in Exposure, Owen conveys a sense of vulnerability and suffering but actually by his use of regular stanzas- which differ to Heaney's technique of a single verse. In both Storm On The Island and Exposure there is a semantic field of profuse and ambiguity as both poet's use of violent and tranquil lexis evokes the idea in the futility of war.(**another comparison**)(**conclusion**)

  10. how do we know the purpose of an unseen poem? can we just make it up as long as it sounds relevant and can be backed up

  11. Could you please do this for the love and relationships ​cluster? Also what are your predictions for the log be and relationships cluster?

  12. Could you mark this comparison?   Thank you very much.

    Compare the ways poets present ideas about the personal impact of conflict in 'Remains’ and in one other poem from ‘Power and conflict’.

    Both 'Remains' by Simon Armitage and 'Bayonet Charge' by Ted Hughes present ideas about the impact of war conflicts on the people used by the state to fight for their own ends. 
    In Simon Armitage’s 'Remains', the character of the soldier appears disordered and broken once they have returned home. The poem does not have a regular form or structure, but Armitage writes in free verse which could be a depiction of the disjointed nature of the soldier who has been taken over by the horrors of conflict. Even once they are home, the reader might infer that soldiers remain outcasts of everyday society without a particular purpose, demonstrating how Armitage could believe that war may have damage and dehumanised them. Alternatively, it may be that Armitage traps the soldiers within a cycle of disorder which they are desperately attempting to free themselves to confuse and startle the reader so they might be able to empathise with the complex loss of humanity that war creates. Armitage might have done this as a reference to the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that many soldiers are confronted with after they return from a war. This is an anxiety disorder caused by distressing events that can develop immediately or many years following a traumatic scenario. Thus, perhaps, Armitage was attempting to disprove the notion that soldiers can return to normality once they have been abused for war, they cannot develop a dual persona but will be outcasts of society haunted by the horrors of conflict. 
    Similarly, Ted Hughes depicts the disjoined mind-set of a soldier caused by the horrors of war which each soldier attempts to free themselves from with futility. 'Bayonet Charge’ is also written in free verse and lacks a recognisable poetic form demonstrating how the soldiers are transformed by war and not recognisable once they return. However, there is a direct contrast in that Hughes focuses on how war effects soldiers differently. Many soldiers seem to be patriotic and determined whilst others become traumatised by war and desperate to escape the horror of the deeds they are performing. 
    In 'Bayonet Charge', Ted Hughes juxtaposes between the expectations of patriotism and the reality of war for particular soldiers. The soldier cries are 'patriotic tears’, an oxymoron which highlights the contrast between the glorification of war, common in World War 1, and the damaging effect that this has caused. It could be that Hughes is dividing the soldiers in war to dispel the common notion that armies work as one unit in a possible attempt to force the reader to treat them as individual human beings rather than characters used to win wars. Additionally, the patriotic values of 'honour' and 'human dignity, etcetera' are mocked by Hughes, perhaps, in an attempt to depict how many soldiers immediately the notion of patriotism once they begin to object to the horror of war however despite these objections due to the horror, if the soldier is not seen by the reader as the individual human he is, he will become 'touchy dynamite', a machine that can be exploited for the tainted means of war. 
    Whereas, Simon Armitage depicts every soldiers’ carved desperation to be grouped as a unit to distance themselves from the horrors of war and the inner conflict caused by their time in the war. In 'Remains', the pronoun 'we' is constantly repeated throughout the beginning of the poem, whilst the soldiers are facing conflict in a war-zone. 'All three’ of the small team of soldiers, of the 'same mind’ attack, possibly implying that the soldiers have lost their human individuality due to conflict, they do not realise their individual actions however becomes petulant in the way that they try to deflect blame. Thus the reader becomes worried about the child-like portrayal of a war zone almost as if the soldier must restart their lives once they have returned home. Therefore, they never truly return home as whole personalities. Furthermore, by the end of the poem, once the poem reaches the end, when the soldier has returned in the last 3 stanzas, the 3rd person pronouns, 'he' and 'his' are used by Armitage which could suggest how once the soldiers have become a collective, it is impossible for their individual personalities to return because despite the soldiers' attempt to distance themselves from their times as part of an army, it remains with them eternally. 
    To conclude, both 'Remains' by Simon Armitage and 'Bayonet Charge' by Ted Hughes present ideas about the impact of war conflicts on the people used by the state to fight for their own ends. However, 'Remains' appears to focus more the impossibility of detaching a soldier’s individual personality from their work as part of an army whilst 'Bayonet Charge' seems to fill this gap by treating each soldier as an individual.

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