(Original post by navb)
could you help me? i have no idea on how to analyse poems, or what to do with the omam questions that i will get in my mock tomorrow!!!!!! any help would be awesome. thanks in advance
Here is my general advice for analysing a poem
This is how I do it:
- Read the poem and annotate language techniques as you go along
- Think about the meaning of the poem having read it, and then write what each of the language techniques could show about the meaning
- See if the structure of the poem (e.g. what type of poem is it? Are the stanzas the same length?) contributes to this meaning
Here's an example from an extract of a Bronte poem:
My darling, thou wilt never know
The grinding agony of woe
That we have borne for thee.
Thus may we consolation tear
E'en from the depth of our despair
And wasting misery.
The poem is about the death of one of the poet's sisters. The things I would annotate to analyse are:
- The lexical set of pain: Lots of words to do with pain- physical and mental (highlighted in red). These could show that the author is feeling the pain of separation from their loved one, and that they are comparing the pain they feel to the pain of death itself.
- The enjambment (where one sentence continues over more than one line). This could show that sadness and death are continuous for the speaker. It could also symbolise the eternal nature of death.
- Alliteration (underlined). The harsh and sudden sounds could show how the death was equally harsh and unexpected, making it more painful for the speaker.
You could then also go a step further and analyse how they would make the reader feel. Generally your set poems will follow a theme- analyse how the techniques link to the theme too, and you can also research the context of the time it was written (in the example of my Bronte poem, it was written in Victorian times and later in the poem there are references to turning to God for comfort. This could be linked to the heavy influence of religion in Victorian times)
Once you'd analysed the poem you would then have to write paragraphs
on it. Here's an explanation of the structure I'd use to analyse poetry:
OMAM and prose
For analytical paragraphs, a good paragraph structure to use is PETER:
P- Point: One sentence saying what the point you're trying to get across in this paragraph is (e.g The author x creates an air of tension in his poem y to make the reader feel suspicious about z character's intentions.)
E- Evidence: A quote to back up your point (can be introduced with 'this is shown through the quote "x")
T- Technique: State what literary technique/structural technique is being used in this quote ("x" which uses pathetic fallacy.)
E- Explanation: Explain how this technique and quote support your point; explore the author's intentions, the plot of whatever you're looking at, context if it's Shakespearean for example, the general effects of it.
R- Reader: Explain the effects of the quote/technique on the reader; how it makes them feel, how it changes their view of a character, whether they're empathetic etc.
The last two parts should be the largest section of the paragraph and can be combined.
Depending on the exam board you're on, what you have to do in your exam will differ. If you're on AQA then I can give you some more particular advice.
In general however, you should use the same PETER structure that I previously explained, just for the techniques used in the novel. Some key things to consider for OMAM are:
- The context of the time. You need to think about America at the time- the position of women, racism, opinions of disabled people, the American Dream. Think about which characters are relevant to these and what quotes you can use to show this.
- Language techniques. Consider the novel as you would a poem and pick out symbolic language techniques. There are lots of metaphors and colour imagery in particular.
- Portrayal of different characters. How could you consider the negative and positive side of each character? Which ones could you compare and contrast? What are their relationships like?
I hope this helps