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"If-" Short analysis- could someone grade this? watch

    • Thread Starter

    My exam board is edexcel and I'm due to do an exam next wednesday on unseen poems and section C of the anthology- could someone read this short analysis and grade it and tell me what I could improve on?

    In the poem "if", Kipling uses the repetition of the word "if" and "or" throughout the poem. The use of the repetition allows the reader to remain focused on the poets distinct message and what he is trying to portray. Furthermore, the repetition of the words creates a sense of mystery as the conditional word "if" makes the reader question "if- what" which makes the poem effective in directing a message as it enables the reader to engage with the poem and the writer.

    The writer also uses enjambment throughout the poem. The quote to support this is "if you can bear ... Trap for fools" . the enjambment seems to create an impression that the poem is one very lengthy sentence as the use of the fullstop doesn't seem to appear. This could illustrate a spiritual and mental journey to manhood is long,complicated and challenging just like the poem appears to be. This has an effect on the reader because it gives them a more visual understanding of what Kipling is trying to portray.

    The writer also displays the use of a personification within the poem. The quote to support this is "Triumph & Disaster". This personification portrays these two words as human like due to the use of the capital letter. In addition, the two words juxtapose each other as they completely have different meaningsmeanings and this has an effect on the reader because it makes them interpret that success and failure are both short lived things- however, it suggests don't get too excited about success but do not get overly upset about disappointment.

    Throughout the whole poem, the writer uses the singular nouns such as "you" and "your". These both are second person and this creates an effect of direct address. This is effective because this makes the read feel more involved with the poem and what the poet is trying to assert. However, the tone of the poem changes instantaneously due to the quote "you'll be a man - my son". This creates a sense of change because it turns out that the poem is a dramatic monologue which was directed to his son who was in the army. The quote also illustrated that to be a real man is of great virtue and as the word "Man" has a capital letter, it emphasizes its salient role and how successful you must be to achieve it. Relating to the historical context, kiplings son died in 1915, right after the ww1 started.

    The good: You have a clear understanding of literary and poetic devices, you can provide evidence of them, and you give a detailed, personal analysis of their effect.

    The bad: Everything that you say about the poem is based upon literary and poetic devices. There is no sense of a complete understanding of the themes present in this poem, or any real reflection on the context of the poem and its overall message. Furthermore, the structure of this analysis is very simplistic: it simply describes the effects of literary devices paragraph-by-paragraph without any clear introduction or conclusion, or any discussion of context or thematic analysis beyond what can be gleaned from literary and poetic devices. From this analysis, I cannot be certain that you have reflected upon this poem yourself - it reads like a regurgitation of revision notes.

    How to improve: Create an essay plan before you start writing with a clear introduction and conclusion. In the middle of the essay, you analysis should be structured in this way: 'themes --> presentation of themes --> analysis of themes' as the structure for each paragraph, instead of just 'presentation of themes' like you have done above . If you do this, it will be much more clear to the examiner that you have a confident understanding of the poem and are not just regurgitating notes. In the third step, 'analysis of themes', add some personality to your analysis. This is not actually an area that you are lacking in; the points that you make about the themes are suitably mature.

    Final grade: High C / Low B (perhaps a mid-B). I'm not an examiner, but I was a self-studied candidate for this exam two years ago and have a lot of experience with the marking schemes for Edexcel Eng Lit, though I was doing IGCSE.
    • Thread Starter

    Thank you for your response, I shall use this to improve my skills at analysing poems ☺

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