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    For all A Level English students, I recognise the burden of the dreaded AOs, but when it comes to the Literature Exam I think it is particularly stressful.

    Seeing as WJEC have an incredibly specific format in which they like candidates to answer the 30 mark Poetry questions I wondered if any of you had a full proof structure for the poems.

    I definitely need counsel on this matter, as I think my presently adopted structure hinders my presentation of ideas, which in turn... Leads to arrows and as-trikes and visually unpalatable writing.

    I need a good A.. Aiming 90% but with the way my structuring is affecting my delivery in the Poetry exam; I cannot get higher than a B in that section, which in turns the diminishes the value of my A grade in other aspects of the course.

    HELP??! Please? Thank you
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    I got full marks on the essays I've done that haven't been in timed conditions, but I crumble a little bit in 75 minutes, haha.

    How thorough of an answer are you looking for?

    I could send you an essay that I got 30 on if you'd be interested, but briefly;

    Introduction- summarise something that all of the poems have in common and the approach/style that each poet takes.

    For the topic sentences, I only refer to Duffy. My teacher says this is fine, unlike our coursework ones which had to include both authors. Make sure your topic sentences are broad but concise- don't refer to the literary techniques and keep it pretty conceptual.

    Then on, for each paragraph I do 70% Duffy, making sure I include at least one A03b in each. Our teacher says to signpost them clearly, i.e; "conversely, this could potentially be interpreted as...". I find you can be a little more far fetched with the differing interpretation- the more original you are the more your essay stands out as an 'A' paper. Then I do 20% Pugh, trying to include at least one VERY close link between them- a symbol etc. Then do the final 10% of the paragraph talking about how Pugh's work has illuminated other concepts in Duffy's. Generally, towards the end I try and say whether Duffy is expressing a critical or positive opinion about the thing in question and how a reader would respond to that- keep it brief though, because it's not really in the mark scheme.

    In the conclusion, I always say which poem I liked best by saying something along the lines of "Most successfully, 'River' demonstrates the deterioration of communication in a society that persists to confine the beauty of nature within the futility of language." Try to make it really strong and opinionated, without being too assertive. I once got told off for stating that Fitzgerald is a misogynist, haha.

    Also, I once read the best advice that; if you can't imagine writing *drops mic* at the end of your essay, then you need to rewrite your conclusion.

    Good luck! Let me know if you want to see any of my essays
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    I want to see your essays!

    Only I'm doing Larkin And Abse for poets
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    Its a bit long, but I'll stick it here anyway. I can't remember if this was the final final draft or if I made a few changes before handing it in but I hope it helps!



    What connections have you found between the ways in which Duffy and Pugh write about language?


    Throughout the works of Duffy and Pugh, there are prominent explorations of the evolution of modern language and the negative impacts that entail. Duffy’s poems “River” and “Weasel Words” both make pessimistic comments regarding the deterioration of communication within society. Furthermore, contributing a sense of cynicism, Pugh illuminates Duffy’s work by reflecting upon the transitional elements of language within “Nothing happened here”, taking consumerism into particular consideration throughout “The ballade of Sexy Rexy”. Both authors ultimately depict the greed of humanity and how it becomes evident when observing the progression of language.




    Within the poem “River”, Duffy demonstrates how nature behaves as universal communication that cannot be rivalled by the growing meaninglessness of language. Throughout the poem, although the river remains constant, “a different babble” is used to name it. The term “babble” has infantile connotations and therefore creates a sense of futility that accompanies labelling something as incomprehensible as nature, as it is rendered childish. By using this childlike comparison, Duffy criticises humanity’s degenerative desires for possession using language and labelling, as nature doesn't belong to man. Conversely, "babble" could demonstrate the limitations of language in contrast to the fluidity of the river, evolving at a difference pace to dialect, which behaves as an extended metaphor for the deterioration of communication across borders, in contrast to the unity of nature. Furthermore, upon the river crossing “the border”, a sign is “nailed to a tree”, behaving as a barrier between civilisations. The sense of repetitive violence that accompanies the verb “nailed” signifies the gradual destruction of communication- the sense that the “meanings of things vanish?” instantly due to language. This rhetorical question demonstrates the persona’s dismay at how the unity of nature is flawed by the persistence to confine its beauty to language. The river in the poem behaves as an extended metaphor for the journey that language takes to reach its destination. Pugh contrasts these themes within “The ballade of Sexy Rexy” where a transition between masculine and feminine language is explored. A potential feminist interpretation of this is the transition of language from femininity to masculinity led to its devaluation. “Rex” has the Latin origin of “King”, a symbol of male dominance, a great distance from the connotations of “Evangeline”, which signify a feminine heavenly omnibenevolence. Pugh’s use of gender roles illuminates the significance of the modern “woman” by the River in Duffy's poem, who does not behave simultaneously with nature in the way that the concept of femininity once did. However, the woman may also potentially represent “mother nature” within “River”, as her nonsensical lexis may represent the lack of understanding of nature that is prominent through the way man persists to limit it.




    Duffy also comments on the impossibility of preserving the beauty of nature through the use of language. The imagery of the red flower that the woman presses “carefully between the pages of a book”, reflects the destructive qualities of language, since the preservation of the flower is not maintained when surrounded by the language contained in book. This, in turn, highlights the flaws of language- since it does not unite man with nature. The act of the woman who “kneels” for the flower displays her submission to the omnipotent force of nature, while she is displayed inferiorly singing “in nonsense”. Pugh illuminates the concept of preservation whilst taking a critical approach of consumerism within “The ballade of Sexy Rexy”. However, Pugh emphasises the way that consumerism behaves as a catalyst for the deterioration of romanticism and the ultimate disparity between nature and language. Pugh contrasts traditional names of roses, such as “Evangeline” and “Duchesse d’Angouleme” to consumer driven names as the title depicts. The use of French names particularly creates a strong romantic tone, diverging heavily between the modern names that reflect the themes of sex, currency and the media. This ultimately demonstrates how society has reshaped language and, in turn, cannot remain synonymous with the beauty of nature. Therefore, the preservation of nature within today’s lexis is reinforced as imposible. The term “Sexy Rexy” itself connotes a cheapness in its simplistic rhyming nature and reinforces the juxtaposition that accompanies the evolution of language. Conversely, Pugh accepts that feminine, romantic language can capture the beauty of nature, and reminisces upon a time at which she felt this was achieved. Duffy rejects this concept the concept that language can embody nature entirely. However, Pugh’s use of consumerism illuminates the undertones within the final stanza of Duffy’s “River”, where language such as "" connotes stereotypical vacations, further emphasising the ideals of luxury and capitalism.


    Throughout “Weasel Words”, Duffy explores the theme that language can evolve to the point that it is rendered meaningless. The title itself contextually connotes the idea that “weasel words are words empty of meaning”, as was said to Sir Robert Armstrong, highlighted within the epigraph of the poem. The anthropomorphism of the “weasel” speaks volumes about the unimportance of the persona’s use of language because of its negative connotations. Despite reflecting the literal, carnivorous implications of the animal, weasel is often used as a verb that describes an attempt to achieve something by use of deceit. With this knowledge, very little truth can be drawn from the speech of the persona, thus in turn demonstrating its unreliability and meaninglessness. This concept strongly reflects other examples of plain deceit within the poem that negate any truths that appear. While depicted as devouring the egg in the final stanza, the persona describes it as a “whole egg”, despite the contents clearly being removed- behaving as an extended metaphor for the “empty shell” of words that contain no true content. Conversely, this could be interpreted more sinisterly, as a predatory attack on the vulnerable- represented by the foetal contents of the egg- of which the government are often criticised. Duffy stylistically uses the onomatopoeic term “slurp”, which solidifies the action in an auditory sense when the poem is performed; highlighting the blatant dishonesty of parliament. This further reinforces the distrust between the reader and the persona, reflecting the empty promises frequently made my the government. Furthermore, by comparing the opposition party to "ferrets" Duffy emphasises how the meaning of language is often blurred, since they are intended to replicate equal dishonesty. This lack of clarity defines how language loses its clarity in the same manner. Pugh also supports this concept by using contrasting lexis throughout the poem "Nothing happened here". By using directly contradictory language such as "there were" in conjunction to "never", the accuracy of the content is negated and therefore meaningless. This is significant, since "never" is a traditionally definitive statement, therefore by demonstrating its meaningless is a comment on the vast deterioration of language by Duffy. In this sense, the themes between Duffy and Pugh become interchangeable since they are closely linked in regards to displaying how the meaning of language is lost as it transitions between contexts.


    Despite Duffy’s portrayal that language can be empty of meaning, throughout “Weasel Words”, the concept of language used by the government as a device for manipulation and control is demonstrated. Ultimately, Duffy demonstrates that there is no truth within politics, reinforced by the sonnet form of the poem. Traditionally romantic, a sonnet used in this context depicts how politicians parody the forms of language in order to romanticise corruption and appear favourable. Persuasive techniques are used throughout to behave as a demonstrative construct of how exploitation is achieved using language. The plural voice of the persona represents the House of Commons, allowing an artificial sense of unity to be created between the persona and reader through the use of pronouns "we". The depiction of the "brown fur coats" turning "white in winter" demonstrates the cyclical nature of language, how it will evolve and transition. This reinforces how members of authority have the potential to use language for their own manipulative gain. These themes are illuminated by Pugh as an anti-government demonstration is addressed within “Nothing happened here”. Despite the persona rejecting that anything “happened here”, within the first stanza of the poem, there follows a factually questionable account regarding the violence of the events. This huge contradiction that happens so seamlessly demonstrates the shameless lies that are told by the powerful figures of society. Typographically, “Nobody died,” and “except soldiers” are displayed on separate lines of the poem, demonstrating the ease at which the truth is separated from the fabricated lies of the government. However, a differing interpretation of this is an example of the way that the media is able to control what we prioritise, regarding the structure in which the events are organised in the poem. Ultimately, both interpretations serve to highlight the way in which language is manipulated by authority.




    Both Duffy and Pugh pessimistically reflect upon the state of language, with particular focus on the effect society has on its transition. Most effectively, “River” demonstrates the confines the unnecessary boundaries that language places on nature, urging the reader to reflect upon consumerism and the negative impact it entails on the lexis of society. Throughout all of the poems, however, is a strong sense that truth and beauty is lost from language, demonstrating the astounding ugliness that accompanies language today.
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    (Original post by Katiecartwright)
    I got full marks on the essays I've done that haven't been in timed conditions, but I crumble a little bit in 75 minutes, haha.

    How thorough of an answer are you looking for?

    I could send you an essay that I got 30 on if you'd be interested, but briefly;

    Introduction- summarise something that all of the poems have in common and the approach/style that each poet takes.

    For the topic sentences, I only refer to Duffy. My teacher says this is fine, unlike our coursework ones which had to include both authors. Make sure your topic sentences are broad but concise- don't refer to the literary techniques and keep it pretty conceptual.

    Then on, for each paragraph I do 70% Duffy, making sure I include at least one A03b in each. Our teacher says to signpost them clearly, i.e; "conversely, this could potentially be interpreted as...". I find you can be a little more far fetched with the differing interpretation- the more original you are the more your essay stands out as an 'A' paper. Then I do 20% Pugh, trying to include at least one VERY close link between them- a symbol etc. Then do the final 10% of the paragraph talking about how Pugh's work has illuminated other concepts in Duffy's. Generally, towards the end I try and say whether Duffy is expressing a critical or positive opinion about the thing in question and how a reader would respond to that- keep it brief though, because it's not really in the mark scheme.

    In the conclusion, I always say which poem I liked best by saying something along the lines of "Most successfully, 'River' demonstrates the deterioration of communication in a society that persists to confine the beauty of nature within the futility of language." Try to make it really strong and opinionated, without being too assertive. I once got told off for stating that Fitzgerald is a misogynist, haha.

    Also, I once read the best advice that; if you can't imagine writing *drops mic* at the end of your essay, then you need to rewrite your conclusion.

    Good luck! Let me know if you want to see any of my essays
    THANK YOU SO MUCHHH!!! Do you think you could give me a more detailed essay layout?
    Also.... You're essay reads so well!!
    I have an exam on Monday on The World's Wives Collection, do you happen to have any essays on that?
    And how do you go about annotating and tackling PUGH?
 
 
 
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