The Student Room Group

unseen poetry 8 marker

could someone please mark this for me? i've taught myself this so if its wrong please correct me

Q. In both 'What Every Soldier Should Know' and 'Dreamers' the poets describe the difficulties of war. What are the similarities and/or differences between the methods the poets use to present these difficulties?

In 'What every soldier should know' the poet describes the unpredictability of war, and the difficulty that comes with the situation being out of their control. This is apparent in the quote 'if you hear gunfire on a Thursday afternoon, it could be for a wedding, or it could be for you'. The contrast used here between the 'wedding' and 'you' clearly shows that in war, anything could happen. This shows the fear that comes with war, as soldiers could die at any minute and do not know whether they will live to see another day. Similarly, in 'Dreamers', the poet describes how the events of war are out of a soldiers control. We can see this when the poet says 'soldiers are citizens of death's grey land'. The metaphor of 'death's grey land' clearly shows that the soldiers in war are likely to die and cannot do anything about it. The phrase 'grey land' also shows that there are major unknowns in war and that, due to their being no clear rules, anything could happen.

In 'What every soldier should know', the poet describes the inevitability of death in war, when claiming that 'any one of them may dance over your body tomorrow'. The metaphor of 'dance over your body' suggests that, in war, people are willing to kill anyone in their way of victory and will gladly do so. The phrase 'any one of them' hints towards the lack of trust between people that war creates, and shows that anyone can betray you in conflict. Similarly, in 'Dreamers', the poet describes how, in war, whether or not you lose your life is down to fate. This is shown when the poet describes 'the great hour of destiny'. This metaphor clearly shows that although soldiers may try to survive, in the end there is nothing they can do to help themselves and will likely be killed. The hyperbole of 'great' also reflects the mass amount of deaths that occur in conflicts.
(edited 1 year ago)
Hi,
Could you please put the question so we know what you're answering?
Original post by madzzzzina
Hi,
Could you please put the question so we know what you're answering?


added this to the OP now :smile:
I'm just gonna start this off with a well done!! The response is well written for someone who has taught this themselves but there are spaces for improvement.


- You have clear topic sentences/introductory sentences at the start of your paragraphs.
However, they focus on one of the poems so I suggest in your topic sentence, you talk about what can be inferred from from the first poem in relation to the second poem.
e.g. You said that 'Dreamers' is similar to the first poem, so your topic sentence for the first paragraph could be:
In both 'What Every Soldier Should Know' and 'Dreamers,' the poets narrow the attention to the unpredictability of war and the lack of control and power individuals have. This is conveyed through the use of the modal verbs in the first poem, where the poet describes how gunshots 'could be for a wedding' or it 'could be for you.' The modal verbs indicate at the uncertainty that war brings.......
Once you finish your point for the first poem, then discuss how it is similar to the second poem.

- You have discussed the language features that the poets have used in each poem.
With analysis on language features, you MUST discuss the effects on the reader, does it make them feel sympathetic? Does it anger them? etc.
e.g. You said how in 'Dreamers', the soldiers have no power.
In Dreamers, we are told that soldiers are the 'citizens of death's grey land', a metaphor used to imply that death has authority and power, portraying the soldiers as vulnerable to the monstrosities of war. This can make the reader feel sympathetic towards the soldiers, despite not knowing them, as soldiers are individuals who fight for the freedom of others, even if it means their futures are ambiguous and could result in death.
Also, remember to focus on structure too. Are the stanzas in one poem longer than the other? Do the verses rhyme? Are the verses shorter in one poem?

- A variety of quotes have been used. I have seen you've used at least 2 quotes per paragraph which is the minimum you should use for any question, whether it's in an English Literature paper or English Language paper.
To improve your response reference-wise, use shorter quotes and embed your quotes in instead of saying something like ''the quote 'soldiers are citizens of death's grey land' shows etc etc''

- Look at both similarities and differences if the question asks you to. Sometimes, you might get a question that will ask you to look at only the similarities or only the differences in which you would obviously do that. But if it asks for 'similarities and/or differences', try to do one paragraph on similarities and the other on differences.

Some words you could use instead of 'shows' :
portrays
conveys
implies
suggests
indicates
hints
reveals

Overall, well done! I would give it maybe a high Level 2/low Level 3 (so 4 or 5 marks) mainly because you need to analyse the effects of the methods used but also compare the poems in terms of differences between the two poems.

Good luck with your exams! :smile:

Edit: you probably don't need this much feedback for this exact question because it probably won't come up in the actual paper. However, I do hope the feedback I've given gives you an idea of what to do for your exam. I'm not an English teacher but the amount of peer-marking I've done in lessons has helped me identify what can be improved in other people's essays as well as mine. And also sorry, this was a bit too long!!
(edited 1 year ago)
Original post by madzzzzina
I'm just gonna start this off with a well done!! The response is well written for someone who has taught this themselves but there are spaces for improvement.


- You have clear topic sentences/introductory sentences at the start of your paragraphs.
However, they focus on one of the poems so I suggest in your topic sentence, you talk about what can be inferred from from the first poem in relation to the second poem.
e.g. You said that 'Dreamers' is similar to the first poem, so your topic sentence for the first paragraph could be:
In both 'What Every Soldier Should Know' and 'Dreamers,' the poets narrow the attention to the unpredictability of war and the lack of control and power individuals have. This is conveyed through the use of the modal verbs in the first poem, where the poet describes how gunshots 'could be for a wedding' or it 'could be for you.' The modal verbs indicate at the uncertainty that war brings.......
Once you finish your point for the first poem, then discuss how it is similar to the second poem.

- You have discussed the language features that the poets have used in each poem.
With analysis on language features, you MUST discuss the effects on the reader, does it make them feel sympathetic? Does it anger them? etc.
e.g. You said how in 'Dreamers', the soldiers have no power.
In Dreamers, we are told that soldiers are the 'citizens of death's grey land', a metaphor used to imply that death has authority and power, portraying the soldiers as vulnerable to the monstrosities of war. This can make the reader feel sympathetic towards the soldiers, despite not knowing them, as soldiers are individuals who fight for the freedom of others, even if it means their futures are ambiguous and could result in death.
Also, remember to focus on structure too. Are the stanzas in one poem longer than the other? Do the verses rhyme? Are the verses shorter in one poem?

- A variety of quotes have been used. I have seen you've used at least 2 quotes per paragraph which is the minimum you should use for any question, whether it's in an English Literature paper or English Language paper.
To improve your response reference-wise, use shorter quotes and embed your quotes in instead of saying something like ''the quote 'soldiers are citizens of death's grey land' shows etc etc''

- Look at both similarities and differences if the question asks you to. Sometimes, you might get a question that will ask you to look at only the similarities or only the differences in which you would obviously do that. But if it asks for 'similarities and/or differences', try to do one paragraph on similarities and the other on differences.

Some words you could use instead of 'shows' :
portrays
conveys
implies
suggests
indicates
hints
reveals

Overall, well done! I would give it maybe a high Level 2/low Level 3 (so 4 or 5 marks) mainly because you need to analyse the effects of the methods used but also compare the poems in terms of differences between the two poems.

Good luck with your exams! :smile:

Edit: you probably don't need this much feedback for this exact question because it probably won't come up in the actual paper. However, I do hope the feedback I've given should give you an idea of what to do for your exam. I'm not an English teacher but the amount of peer-marking I've done in lessons has helped me identify what can be improved in other people's essays as well as mine. And also sorry, this was a bit too long!!


Thanks! I couodnt really find any major differences in the poems, so would it be best to find a more subtle difference and explain that, than do two similarities like I have?
Original post by thrivingfrog
Thanks! I couodnt really find any major differences in the poems, so would it be best to find a more subtle difference and explain that, than do two similarities like I have?


I suggest you find a clear, obvious difference between the two poems first. For instance, a difference could be that in WESSK, the poet talks about the unpredictability of war whilst in Dreamers, the poet discusses the inevitability of death in war.

If you can't do this or there really isn't a difference between the two, then I suggest you discuss the different ways the poets express their similar thoughts in their poems. By this, I mean that let's say you have a similarity. In this case, it would be war. Both poets talk about war and how it is unpredictable, but they do it in different ways.

For example:
In both 'What Every Soldier Should Know' and 'Dreamers,' the poets narrow the attention to the unpredictability of war and the lack of control and power individuals have. This is conveyed through the use of the modal verbs in the first poem, where the poet describes how gunshots 'could be for a wedding' or it 'could be for you.' The modal verbs indicate at the uncertainty that war brings, how in some circumstances, gunshots are used to express contentment in celebrations like weddings whilst in other situations, gunshots could be the literal death of someone. This stark contrast creates sympathy towards soldiers as they fight in uncertain situations and are not aware of the enemy's next move which could result in their demise. The poet in 'Dreamers' also discusses the uncertainties in war. However, in this poem, the poet does this through the concept of the helplessness and lack of power of the soldiers. We are told that soldiers are the 'citizens on death's grey land', the metaphor creating the impression that soldiers are the subjects of death. Death is personified to be like a person, implying how death is in fact in charge and what death decides can not be altered by the soldiers, further emphasising the unpredictability of war.

Remember, the question asks you to compare the ways in which the poets discuss/present difficulties. Everyone interprets things differently, so if you can't do the first method, try do the second method I just wrote an example for.
Practicing writing answers for unseen poems is effective so you know what you need to do for the real exam. To maximise your unseen poetry revision, I strongly recommend looking at the mark scheme. I don't know if you do AQA or not, but the AQA mark scheme clearly puts answers into bands, depending on how well the response is written and whether it follows the mark scheme.

Level 4 (7–8 marks)
Exploratory comparison of writers’ use of language, structure and
form with subject terminology used judiciously
Convincing comparison of effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Level 3 (5–6 marks)
Thoughtful comparison of writers’ use of language and/or structure
and/or form with subject terminology used effectively to support
consideration of methods
Comparative examination of effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Level 2 (3–4 marks)
Relevant comparison of writers’ use of language and/or structure
and/or form with some relevant use of subject terminology
Some comparison of effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Level 1 (1–2 marks)
Some links between writers’ use of language or structure or form
Some links between effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings
Original post by madzzzzina
Practicing writing answers for unseen poems is effective so you know what you need to do for the real exam. To maximise your unseen poetry revision, I strongly recommend looking at the mark scheme. I don't know if you do AQA or not, but the AQA mark scheme clearly puts answers into bands, depending on how well the response is written and whether it follows the mark scheme.

Level 4 (7–8 marks)
Exploratory comparison of writers’ use of language, structure and
form with subject terminology used judiciously
Convincing comparison of effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Level 3 (5–6 marks)
Thoughtful comparison of writers’ use of language and/or structure
and/or form with subject terminology used effectively to support
consideration of methods
Comparative examination of effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Level 2 (3–4 marks)
Relevant comparison of writers’ use of language and/or structure
and/or form with some relevant use of subject terminology
Some comparison of effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Level 1 (1–2 marks)
Some links between writers’ use of language or structure or form
Some links between effects of writers’ methods to create
meanings

Thanks so much! And yeah I do AQA

Quick Reply