As all GCSE candidates know, the English specification now incorporates the 9-1 system, replacing the old A*-G system. For top candidates, the 9 represents a grade which surpasses the A*; however, the trade off is that it will be more difficult to attain. Certainly for me, poetry gave me a great deal of headache, mostly due to the plethora of ideas and massive amounts of content which needed to be memorised. This is why I decided to create this revision guide for all of the Love and Relationships poems in the AQA Poetry Anthology.
This poetry guide took me 50+ hours to complete, using rigorous cross referencing, deep analysis and peer inferring. It has been marked by my English teacher at The Cathedral School Llandaff several times, with changes to the guide being made each time. This guide aims to offer the knowledge needed to compete for the top 9 grade.
REVISION GUIDE SUMMARY + SAMPLE
IMPORTANT: This guide covers cluster 1: Love and Relationships, as this is the cluster of poems which I studied.
The revision guide incorporates a simple structure for analysing the aspects of each poem. Below I have given a sample of this structure for When We Two Parted (Lord Byron)
The analysis of each poem begins with a short introduction:
When We Two Parted by Lord Byron (1788-1824)
In this poem Lord Byron writes to express his feelings of pain after the separation of the speaker and the lover. It is known that at the time Byron was having an affair with Lady Francis Webster. Byron also portrays the sense of betrayal and anger that he feels towards the women figure perhaps showing that love is being portrayed as unfair in the poem.
Key context is explained next, which is crucial for achieving those context marks:
Written in 1808, so would have had a Georgian audience (published in 1813). Byron was criticised by John Keats for writing too theatrically/dramatically. This would of meant that affairs would have been seen as going against God and shunned upon. Byron was known for numerous scandals. After the affair with Byron, Lady Francis Webster went on to have an affair with the Duke of Wellington, perhaps meaning that he had a bitter feeling towards Lady Francis Webster. At the age of ten he became a landed nobleman. Many of Byron’s poems are autobiographical. Shelley and Byron are now considered two of the most important Romantic poets: this meant they were interested in writing emotions. Many Romantic poets also believed in ‘Free love’: this meant that they believed that they were not obliged to stay true to a single person. As more marriages at the time were financially arranged, Byron (and many other Romantic Poets) believed that emotions could be experienced outside of a marriage.
Next we have the key quotations, of which are concise, which will allow you to offer a detailed and critical analysis.
‘Pale grew thy cheek and cold, / Colder thy kiss’: This perhaps shows a sense of death imagery, as the adjectives ‘cold’ and ‘pale’ seem to reflect the death of the relationship. The comparative adjective, ‘colder’ seems to show that the relationship is worsening all the time. This also may show that the relationship has gone cold meaning the passion in the relationship has gone.
‘Thy vows are all broken’: The vows seem to be referring to wedding vows; this is ironic as the relationship between Byron and Webster was an affair, going against marriage and the wedding vows. The participle ‘broken’ perhaps shows the feeling of betrayal that the relationship has separated. It also shows a reference to the speaker using the compound adjective: ‘half broken-hearted’ showing the pain he feels. The vows could have been promises between the lovers, which shows a more intimate relationship.
‘I hear thy name spoken, / and share in its shame’: This is possibly a feeling of guilt, which the speaker feels towards his affair. It also shows that around him, the speaker seems to hear the women’s name which creates the pain. This also shows the power of rumour in the 19th century as it seems to affect the speaker a lot
‘Long, long shall I rue thee’: The repetition of ‘long’ emphasises the pain and regret that the speaker feels. The definite modal verb ‘shall’ also seems to show the definite feeling of pain that the speaker will feel. It also seems to show that the speaker does not feel an ending to his grief as he sees that it will go on for such a long time.
‘With silence and tears’ & ‘In silence and tears’ is repeated in stanza 1 and stanza 4: This seems to show the lack of development in the relationship and showing that the separation in the relationship is difficult for the speaker to get over it. This is show as the speaker’s emotions are seen as still being quite bitter even after ‘long years’. Cyclical nature of the poem: inevitability and how grief has not gone away in time and he also seems to be trapped unable to escape from his own grief.
‘Thy spirit deceive’: This seems to prove the betrayal that the speaker feels towards the women. This seems to be showing that the women has deceived the ideals of love and instead blaming the pain on the women’s character instead of the inevitable separation.
‘In secret we met-/ in silence I grieve’: The change between the past and present tense with the collective pronoun to a first person singular seems to show the development of the relationship in time: this is in a negative way as it seems as though the two characters have separated in their relationship. This seems to show the separation and that they must now hide from society.
‘The dew of the morning/ sunk chill on my brow-/It felt like the warning/ Of What I feel now’: This seems to show the cold relationship, as it shows the lack of warmth or passion. This also seems to show the foreboding way that the pain is inevitable.
‘Why wert thou so dear?’: The rhetorical question seems to show that the speaker is questioning the love in the relationship or begging for answers. This shows that he even doubts himself.
The specific notions offered by the poem come next:
Painful Emotions: Byron expresses the pain that he feels towards the betrayal of the relationship. As it is an affair it can be see n as ‘forbidden love’. In the poem there also seems to be a sense of regret, which shows that the love was uncomforting. It also seems that Byron feels powerful emotions towards the relationship.
Death Imagery: The death of the relationship perhaps is shown throughout the poem as he obviously shows that the relationship has gone cold.
Secrecy: As the relationship seems to have to be kept a secret, as it is an affair it shows that it must be kept away from society. This shows his loneliness in grief, as he is the only one who is able to express his emotions. It also shows that he feels guilt towards the affair as he says ‘share in its shame’. This contrasts with the gossiping sound of all the people around him who talk about Lady Francis Webster.
Separation and Challenges in Relationship/ Lost Love: Byron has parted with his lover. This shows that he was unable to cope with the distance that is created in the relationship. Byron perhaps wanted to describe universal feelings that they felt during the end of a relationship
Relationships: The relationship shown has not lasted for a very long time, but the effects which the separation of the relationship cause seem to be long lasting as the speaker seems to be unable to escape these effects.
Following onward, the structure of the poem is explained:
Structure of the Poem
The poem has a regular structure, which consists of four stanzas, each with eight lines. The poem looks neat and orderly on the page, which seems to contrast with the difficult and turbulent emotions shown in the poem. Since the poem seems to be autobiographical, the orderly structure perhaps shows Byron/the speaker controlling his emotions, as it must be kept a secret from society. Most of the poem is written in accentual verse meaning each line typically has a fixed number of stressed words. When Byron breaks the metrical pattern ('Pale grew thy cheek and cold,' which is also longer than any other lines in the first stanza) perhaps emphasises the death of the relationship through the separation. The poem has an alternate rhyme scheme or an ABABCDCD rhyme pattern, creating a harmonious sound, which contrasts with the theme of separation and grief. This may be used to show that the speaker must appear to be harmonious due to society's beliefs but in fact behind it expresses his grief alone.
Finally, I have listed the poems which are suitable comparisons:
Poems to Compare With
Love’s Philosophy (ideas about passion), Neutral Tones (ideas about the pain and sorrow that separation brings), Walking Away (separation, as one shows positive aspects towards separation and the other does not and both seem to show painful emotions), Mother, any distance (separation and independence), Eden Rock (one is about how love separates while one is about love reuniting).The powerful emotions could be compared with Farmer's Bride as they both seem to illustrate negative and failing emotions, which then show isolation from only one side.
I have every confidence that this will allow you to achieve at least an 8, provided your essay writing skills are adequate. If you have doubts regarding the quality or reliability of this guide, don't hesitate to confirm with your teacher.
Do send me a PM if you are interested in purchasing, so that we may negotiate a price. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask
Good luck everyone!
**SELLING** GCSE AQA English Poetry Revision Guide Watch
- Thread Starter
- 22-07-2017 12:43
- 22-07-2017 12:55
They sell that book at WHSmith for like 5:99. I have it
- Thread Starter
- 22-07-2017 13:12
One look at the content and you will realise that it is originalLast edited by Falling Uphill; 22-07-2017 at 13:22.