You are on page 1of 21

Ibrahim Team GR

Points to consider when

comparing poems + Exam
Ibrahim Team GR

Ibrahim Team GR

Sample question
In your exam you will be asked to compare a certain aspect of one poem with
another. In order to do this, we need to get to know this poem a bit better by
considering one of its main aspects.
What follows is a sample question which concentrates on one feature of the
poem and an answer (not necessarily complete!) to the question.
Q) Write about the presentation of relationships in The Manhunt and To His
Coy Mistress.
Points you could make:

The Manhunt includes detailed and closely observed references to

the body of a loved one, reflective of the closeness of the

In To His Coy Mistress there are similar images, yet these represent the
fantasy of the male speaker as he tries to convince his mistress to
have sex with him.

To His Coy Mistress balances the ideal relationship with that which is
possible given the time available.

Similarly, The Manhunt explores the strength of a relationship that

endures even in the most difficult of circumstances.

The Manhunt has a female speaker who is determined to search for the
man she feels she lost to war. She wants to understand her husband's
feelings and so is searching his body for clues.

To His Coy Mistress has a male speaker who is similarly determined.

However, he feels that time will prevent his relationship flourishing if
his mistress does not act with more urgency.

Now think:

Why do you think that the poet has named to poem The Manhunt?
How does this poem differ in approach to a news story or a film that
youve seen about war?
How does this poem make you feel about war?
How much do we find out about the mistress and her thoughts and

Ibrahim Team GR

What impression does the phrase vegetable love give about his

Q) Compare the attitudes to love presented in Hour and Sonnet 116.

Points you could make:

Hour presents love as a powerful force, able to transform the

ordinary into something rich and magical.

Sonnet 116 presents love as similarly powerful but presents love

asresistant to change instead of having the power to transform.

Sonnet 116 describes love as enduring, unchanged until the "edge of


In Hour time is compressed, and yet the poem suggests love is

forever resourceful, able to find riches in a short amount of time.

In Hour the love of the couple is described in terms of valuable objects

like"treasure" and "gold".

In Sonnet 116 we are told that love's "worth's unknown", as if it is

something too important to give a fixed value.

These are just the points you would make in your exam .For evidence, you
would select relevant quotes in relation to your point. And then you would
explain. For explanation, you would usually highlight: the main message of
the poem/how is that message presented? Main themes, ideas in the poem
and why it is significant. To gain higher marks, you would further give
detailed analysis of language, form and structure. To do this, think: why has
the poet given this poem this structure? What mood/tone does it create?
This will enable you to get higher marks

Ibrahim Team GR

Q) Compare the attitudes to relationships shown in In Paris with

You and Sonnet 43.
Points you could make:

In Paris with You is about a moment in a relationship, rather than the

past or future.

Sonnet 43 is about the strength and endurance of love.

In Paris with You uses purposefully casual and sometimes coarse

language to reject traditional romantic poetry.

Sonnet 43 uses formal language and comparisons to convince the

reader of the strength of love.

In Paris with You uses repetition to stress the speaker's focus on the

Sonnet 43 uses repetition to make the depth of the speaker's love

clear, offering the reader a sense of the many ways in which love can
be defined.

Q) Compare the use of imagery in Quickdraw and Nettles.

Points you could make:

Quickdraw uses language and images associated with the western

genre, bringing to the poem a sense of battle, life and death, violence
and black comedy.

Nettles makes use of language and images from war in the depiction
of a father's fight with nettles in his garden that have hurt his child.

Ibrahim Team GR

In Quickdraw an ordinary situation is transformed into something

more significant, if comical, through the use of unusual imagery.

In Nettles imagery is also used to transform a situation, although

with less emphasis on humour.

Although Nettles is a personal story about cutting down plants that

sting a young son, it is ultimately about the universal themes of
fatherhood, war and revenge.

Quickdraw plays on the idea of the universal concept of love as a

struggle and a battle for supremacy.

Q) Write about the relationships presented in To His Coy

Mistress and Ghazal.
Points you could make:

Both poems are about wooing a lover, seeking to convince the other
of the merits of a relationship.

To His Coy Mistress is directly sexual whereas Ghazal is focused on the

relationship as a whole.

Both poems link the idea of love to larger ideas like the passage of

In both poems the speakers propose the idea that without love they
are nothing. In To His Coy Mistress the argument centres around the
idea of life being wasted without surrendering to passion
whereas Ghazal is more concerned with enduring love.

Q) Write about the feelings for a family member in Brothers and Praise
Song for My Mother and the ways in which they are presented.
Points you could make:

In Praise Song for My Mother the tone is very celebratory and positive
whereas in Brothers the childhood rejection of a younger brother is
explored in a regretful way.

Ibrahim Team GR

Brothers uses a single event to explore the feelings of the two

siblings, both at the time and when looking back.

Praise Song for My Mother is more general in its references, reflective

of the constant support the child was given by her mother.

Both poems end with an image of separation, although in Praise Song

for My Mother this is seen as a natural, positive part of becoming an

In Brothers the distance is presented as regrettably inevitable.

Q) Compare the parent/child relationships shown in Praise Song... and

Points you could make:

Praise Song... is written as if from the perspective of a child looking

back on what her mother has done for her.

Harmonium is about a specific incident and is based in a time when the

child has become an adult.

Both poems are in some ways concerned with the timeless, cyclical
nature of parent/child relationships. In Praise Song... this is positive;
indicating that to grow into adulthood is to naturally move away from
your childhood home, exploring the world with the skills provided.

In Harmonium there is a sense of the child remaining reliant on the

help of a parent. There is also the idea of following in the footsteps of a
parent, suggesting that life goes in circles and that children take the
place of their parents.

Q) Compare the attitudes to death presented in Harmonium and To His

Coy Mistress.
Points you could make:

In Harmonium death is mentioned as a natural, consequential part of

the cycle of life.

To His Coy Mistress offers the idea of death not as cyclical but as final;
nothing comes after but "Deserts of vast eternity".

Ibrahim Team GR

In Harmonium death is mentioned by the father to the speaker of the

poem as he reflects on his mortality. The only motive appears to be a
tendency on the part of the father to be direct and perhaps a little

The speaker in To His Coy Mistress is using death as warning as well as

encouragement to his would-be lover to seize the day and give in to

The instrument in Harmonium is used to symbolise life, the passing of

time and ultimately death.

To His Coy Mistress personifies time, creating a more aggressive and

negative sense of the approach of death.

Q) Write about the attitudes to love in Sonnet 116 and Hour.

Points you could make:

Both poems explore the power of love. In Sonnet 116 love's ability to
endure "even until the edge of doom" is praised.

In Hour, "love spins gold, gold, gold from straw".

In Hour love is said to have the ability to defy time.

In Sonnet 116 love endures until times end.

Both poems are very optimistic about love. Imagery associated with
riches illustrates this in Hour.

Language associated with endurance and constancy shows a

positive attitude to love in Sonnet 116.

Q) Compare the feelings presented in Sonnet 43 and Praise Song for My

Points you could make:

Sonnet 43 uses positive language to convince us - and the poet's

lover - of the strength of her love.

Praise Song for My Mother similarly uses positive language to describe

a mother and her actions.

Ibrahim Team GR

Sonnet 43 presents the speaker's lover as a sort of spiritual guide, an


Praise Song for My Mother suggests the subject of the poem is

influential, a vital part of the speaker's life.

Sonnet 43 is about being in love and the object of the poet's affection.
It presents the ways in which she loves and offers the idea of this
continuing into the afterlife.

Praise Song for My Mother is written in the past tense, suggesting that
the relationship is over possibly because of death, or because a
child's relationship with a parent changes with age.

Q) Discuss the relationships between men and women in To His Coy

Mistress and The Farmer's Bride, and the way in which they are
Points you could make:

Both poems are about males trying to impose their will on a female. In
each, the female is resistant to the relationship although the reasons
differ, and in each this resistance is challenged by the male speakers.

To His Coy Mistress is an address to the potential lover and is very

sensual at times, reflecting the feelings of the speaker for
his "mistress".

The Farmer's Bride is about the wife and is much less positive in the
references to her, presenting her as a confused, scared animal rather
than an object of love and desire.

Both poems use vocabulary and punctuation to reflect the feelings of

the speakers, feelings which are often intended to be kept hidden.

Q) Compare the way in which Charlotte Mew in The Farmer's Bride and
Carol Ann Duffy in Hour show feelings.
Points you could make:

In The Farmer's Bride the poet uses imagery to connect the farmer's
wife with nature, particularly wild animals. This tells us about the
farmer's attitude to marriage and power, as well as indicating his
feelings for the wife (she cannot be tamed).

Ibrahim Team GR

In Hour the poet uses imagery associated with "treasure" to suggest

the huge value to lovers of a single hour spent together.

Punctuation is used to break up the rhythm in The Farmer's Bride,

indicating the troubled mind of the speaker.

In Hour a single-word sentence is used to encapsulate the perfection

and completeness of the moment.

Hour creates and reflects feelings of optimism and happiness

by frequent references to brightness and light.

The Farmer's Bride describes colours in the landscape - "the oaks

are brown", "the low grey sky", "the black earth" - to suggest bleakness
and a lack of fulfillment.

Q) Write about the feelings in Sister Maude and Nettlesand how they are
Points you could make:

Both poems are about violent reactions.

In Nettles a father is fiercely protective of his son who has been stung
by nettles and so he destroys the weeds. In Sister Maude the narrator
is furious with her sibling for the death of her lover.

Both poems take events and present them in larger terms.

In Sister Maude the sister's crime becomes a matter of good and evil.

In Nettles imagery associated with war is used to show the depth of

the father's love.

Nettles is about a protective impulse, a positive result of a powerful


Sister Maude explores the destructive drive that arises from a similarly
powerful but negative relationship.

Q) Compare the presentation of the relationship between fathers and sons in

Simon Armitage's Harmonium and Nettles.
Points you could make:

Ibrahim Team GR

Nettles is about the protection offered to a young child by a father.

Harmonium is about the assistance offered by a father to his son,

although the older age of the child changes the father's role in the

Nettles presents a father who is violent in his desire to protect his son
from the "wounds" of life.

The father in Harmonium is direct and openly discusses the time when
the son might carry his father's coffin as part of a funeral service. Here
the father is not seeking to protect his son from a "wound" that life

Nettles is written from the perspective of the father. Brief observations

are used to communicate the tenderness and love of the parental
relationship with a child.

Harmonium makes observations of the parent-child relationship, but

this time from the perspective of the son, rather than the father. The
detail and precision of the descriptions convince the reader of the
closeness and importance of the relationship.

Q) Compare the ways in which the writers of Born Yesterday and In Paris
with You present their ideas.
Points you could make:

In Paris with You is about rejecting traditional notions of love and


Born Yesterday questions conventional wishes for the ideal life.

In Paris with You offers descriptions of romance that are

deliberately unimpressive, contrasting them with the glamour and
romance of Paris to make intimacy more genuine.

Born Yesterday uses language which at first appears negative, oddly

rejecting traditional sentiments for a baby's future, but ultimately
wishing "happiness" for that child.

In Paris with You, is a positive poem written in the aftermath of a failed


Ibrahim Team GR

Born Yesterday is also a positive poem and, although its honesty at

first appears to be negative, the speaker eventually convinces the
reader of the sincerity and practicality of his good wishes.

Ibrahim Team GR

Exam Skills
In the exam, you will be writing two essays based on the poems.
Section A is comparing the poems. This is worth 36 marks.
Section B is analysing an unseen poem. This is worth 18 marks.
Altogether, the whole unit is worth 35% of your whole GCSE
English Literature

Introducing PEEDL Paragraphs

Think of it as a burger





Ibrahim Team GR

How to use quotations effectively

What is a quotation?
Quoting means repeating what someone has said or written
When a character says something in a play or poem they are speaking. When
you repeat what the character says in your essay you are quoting the character
Whenever you use something the author has written you are quoting from the

How a quotation should be displayed

Whenever you use a quotation in your essay you must use speech marks or
quotation marks, these are sometimes called inverted commas
Wherever possible you should also give a page reference to show where you
found the quote (with poetry, you cannot do so)

Why should you use quotations?

Imagine that you essay is to convince your teacher or the marker of your
The quotation is your supporting evidence that helps persuade the teacher that
what you are writing is true
Quotes add validity to your answer
Quotations are vital in supporting your own ideas or be used to retell a story
Using a quotation is like building a burger

Ibrahim Team GR

Copy down the quotation burger and label the parts:

Introduction to your quote (your Point)
The first piece of bread is an introduction to
your quote. After making your POINT, give some
background or contextand explain how it illustrates
For example:
Hour by Carol Ann Duffy portrays an
intimate moment between two individuals.
They are so absorbed in eachother that they
are oblivious to their surroundings; however,
they seem to reject traditional notions of

The quote is the middle of the burger

The middle of the burger must always be supported

by the pieces of bread. Remember, your
For example:
Instead of chandeliers, flowers and
wine; the narrator prefers the whole of
the summer sky.

The second piece of burger bun is the comment of your quote

You must support your quotation. Why is it interesting?
What does it reveal about the character/plot/language?
EXPLAIN how your quote supports your ideas.

For example:
The narrator clearly expresses the fact
that love isnt bound by time. It is
exaggerated throughout the poem that
nothing will put a halt to their shining
hour. The theme of romantic love is
portrayed here, and Duffy uses
personification to explore both physical
and spiritual sides of love as shown in
the very first line of the poem;Loves
times beggar.

Ibrahim Team GR

Time to provide the burger with some ships on the side

This is the developing point whereby you
add an extra point regarding language, structure,
feeling, tone etc
Now, lets look at two examples:

This is the
part of your

Example 1:
In Hour, Duffy uses a range of
literary techniques. These consists
of personification such as Loves
times beggar

This response is pretty weak. It

identifies one aspect of a technique
thats used, but it fails to identify
what mood/tone it gives the poem.
Therefore, when you see a poetic
device being used, you must explain
the significance. So avoid doing this
in the exam! It will not gain you any
more marks than a C!!

In Hour, the constant use of

personification gives the reader a
sense of realism of the love
portrayed. Connotations such as
Midas light and gold are references
from the Greek myth King Midas and
the fairytale Rumplestilskin;

This is just an example on how language

could be analysed. You could also make
comments based on structure. It will fetch
you more marks!!!! (Note: this is only the
start of the response).

Its now time to link the paragraphs!!

Right at the end of your paragraph (youre last sentence
basically), you should link that paragraph you have just

Ibrahim Team GR

completed with the paragraph you intend to next.

Not only will this get you marks for the way you structure your writing
but the overall flow of information used. Heres an example:
Duffy has used these words and phrases in
order to hint to us that time could also defy

So PEEDL stands for:


This could help you flow your

whole essay!

Ibrahim Team GR

Comparison Poems

Simon Armitage: The Manhunt

In Paris with You

The male speaker in the poem In Paris with You is unwilling to

discuss his experiences of the past, instead he is keen to focus on
the present. The husband in The Manhunt is similarly closed on the
subject of the past.

The Farmer's Bride, To His Coy Mistress

The Manhunt is written from the perspective of a woman exploring

her feelings for her husband and their relationship. Many of the
other poems in this collection are from a male point of view, such as
The Farmer's Bride and To His Coy Mistress.

Carol Ann Duffy: Hour

Sonnet 116, To His Coy Mistress, In Paris With You

Like Hour, Sonnet 116 makes reference to the idea of the battle
between love and time, as does To His Coy Mistress.

To His Coy Mistress is about the value of being in the present and
enjoying the moment, rather than thinking ahead - the same key
theme as Hour.

Like Hour, In Paris with You also rejects traditional ideas associated
with love.

James Fenton: In Paris with You

Born Yesterday, Hour

The poem compares well to Born Yesterday in that each poem rejects
traditional ideas.

Hour is also about a relationship blossoming in ordinary settings,

focusing on the preciousness of the present time rather than the past
and future.

Ibrahim Team GR

Carol Ann Duffy: Quickdraw


Like Quickdraw, Nettles makes use of imagery from a different

context to bring significance to seemingly everyday circumstances.

Sister Maude

Sister Maude also presents the idea of conflict and violence in a

relationship but between sisters rather than lovers.

Mimi Khalvati: Ghazal

In Paris with You

Both Ghazal and In Paris with You are about feelings of longing for
someone. Ghazal is less clear about the outcome whereas In Paris with
You suggests that the relationship is a reality.

The Farmer's Bride

The Farmer's Bride has a similar sense of longing but is negative,

dwelling on the way in which the farmer wishes to subdue and control
his wife rather than being prepared to change like the speaker in

Andrew Forster: Brothers

Sister Maude

Brothers explores the relationship between siblings and the way in

which time inevitably - and regrettably - separates them. There is
affection between the brothers, particularly in the adoration of the
younger boy. In Sister Maude a much more destructive relationship
between siblings is presented. Like Brothers, this poem hints at the
way in which the move towards adulthood brings a distance between


Harmonium has a similarly nostalgic tone, using a moment from the

past to closely explore a family relationship (a son's feelings for his
father). But Brothers seems more regretful in tone. Both poems use
apparently insignificant events to illuminate a relationship.

Ibrahim Team GR

Grace Nichols: Praise Song for My Mother

Sonnet 43

Sonnet 43 offers a similar listing or cataloguing of another person's

qualities. In this case it is a parent, however, rather than a loved one.
Both give a sense of the emotional nourishment provided by the
person being described.


Nettles is also about the relationship between a parent and a child,

although it is from the perspective of the parent. It is also about a
specific event, whereas Praise Song... is concerned with the overall
impression created. In each it is clear that the parent is providing
security to their offspring.

Both end with the idea of an uncertain future; in Nettles this is quite
negative, whereas Praise Song... hints at a more successful future.

Simon Armitage: Harmonium


Nettles is a poem about the relationship between father and son,

although from the perspective of the father rather than the son.

Praise Song for My Mother

Praise Song for My Mother is about a parent from a child's perspective,

although it is more direct than Harmonium.

William Shakespeare: Sonnet 116

To His Coy Mistress

To His Coy Mistress explores the idea of time and its effect on love,
although it suggests that death will bring an end unlike Sonnet 116,
which suggests that love is greater than death.

Sonnet 43

Sonnet 43 is about defining love, although unlike Sonnet 116, it seeks

to define personal love rather than love in general.

Ibrahim Team GR

Elizabeth Barrett Browning: Sonnet 43


Sonnet 43 compares well with Hour - both present love as a positive

and powerful force.

Sonnet 116

Like Sonnet 43 the Shakespearean Sonnet 116 is part of a larger

sonnet sequence, and insists on the endurance of love.

Andrew Marvell: To His Coy Mistress


Hour is also about the preciousness of time to lovers, and presents the
idea that time is a force which is against lovers.

Sonnet 43

To His Coy Mistress contrasts with Sonnet 43 in that this is a poem

about the power and urgency of desire rather than the purity of love.

Charlotte Mew: The Farmer's Bride

To His Coy Mistress

As in To His Coy Mistress, the female perspective is considered less

important or unfathomable in The Farmer's Bride. The desires of men
are given voice at the expense of the woman's point of view.

Time, specifically the passage of time, is a key theme in both poems.

The male narrators are aware of time passing while their desires are
unfulfilled. To them time passing is a type of loss. They both want to
change their relationships for the better, in their opinion, by
cementing them through sexual union.

Christina Georgina Rossetti: Sister Maude


Brothers is also a poem about the relationship between siblings and

the delicate balance between friendship and rivalry.

Praise Song for My Mother

Ibrahim Team GR

Praise Song for My Mother is about a close family relationship, although

a positive, supportive one, unlike the negative, jealous relationship
presented in Sister Maude.

Vernon Scannell: Nettles

The Manhunt

In The Manhunt Simon Armitage also explores war and martial imagery
in the context of a close relationship.

Praise Song for My Mother

Like Nettles, Praise Song for My Mother by Grace Nichols is also about
the actions of a caring, protective parent.

Phillip Larkin: Born Yesterday

To His Coy Mistress

To His Coy Mistress offers a good contrast to Larkin's poem as Marvell

presents the idea that life is short and so people should aim for as
much excitement and pleasure as possible regardless of the
consequences; whereas in Born Yesterday, Larkin encourages the
reader to accept life's limits, and in doing so offers a more reliable path
to happiness.


Hour, like Born Yesterday is a poem about finding pleasure in ordinary,

everyday experiences, rather than chasing the impossible and facing