13 Jan 2016

Song by Lady Mary Wroth Essay Analysis for Cambridge IGCSE Literature Exam 2016

Introduction
In this poem, love is presented negatively through the personification of him as a ‘child’. The technique of juxtaposition dominates to show the contradictions of love, and ultimately that it is wise not to ‘seek’ him as he is prone to ‘flying’. What makes this so powerful is the list-like feel of the overwhelming problems of love.

Paragraph About Structure
Wroth uses end-stopped quatrains to create a contained feel, as if she is trying to pin down the nature of love. The frequently end-stopped lines create a list-like effect of the overwhelming problems of love as, ‘crying’, ‘flying’, ‘craving’ despite ‘having’. The rhyming couplets create a nursery-rhyme feel which links to the presentation of love as a ‘child’ and emphasises the frequent juxtapositions. Most lines are balanced, weighing the ingratitude of love against the gifts he receives, contrasting  ‘never satisfied’ despite ‘having’ at the end of the first stanza. Wroth gives the poem a circular feel by the repetition of ‘flying’ and ‘crying’ in both the first and final stanzas, as if love is an endless loop of selfishness.





Paragraph About: Voice/Speaker (sort of)
The personification of love as a child references Cupid, the blind god of love, yet Wroth twists it to a sense of being undeveloped, selfish and slight. While the idea of a child ‘crying’ should evoke pity, she emphasises through the rhyme that he is ungrateful: ‘flying’ as soon as he is ‘pleased’. Negatives abound. In ‘nothing’ and ‘not one word’, she presents love as a void, a nothingness. Her frequent use of absolutes ‘ever’, ‘never’ and ‘endless’ portray love as an extreme - wholly negative - emotion. This is also shown in her use of present tense, which gives a gnomic, wisdom tone, which appeals to the reader where she uses the second person in: ‘He will triumph in your wailing’. Here, the future tense suggests the nature of love is so fixed, it can be predicted.

Paragraph About Language Techniques (Roughly Chronological Order)

The major technique in the poem is juxtaposition, through which Wroth portrays the contradictions and ingratitude of love. Despite what you may ‘give’, the more he is ‘craving’ and despite ‘having’ is ‘never satisfied’ which presents him as voracious: a god that can never be appeased. She also uses incongruity, suggesting his ‘treasure’ is ‘endless folly’ - an unsettling juxtaposition.

This essay is incomplete at 387 words, but would score an A* (9) if it were.
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  
  

Clod and the Pebble Essay Analysis for Cambridge IGCSE English Literature 2016

In 'The Clod and the Pebble), love is presented as both selfish and selfless, through the symbols of the soft, humble ‘clod’ and the clean, but hard ‘pebble’.

Firstly in this poem, the ‘clod of clay’ sings about the selflessness of love and the joy it brings others. ‘Clay’ represents mortality, the humble clay from which Adam was taken in Genesis, emphasised by the alliteration of the soft ‘cl’ sound. This image of malleability is also shown where it is ‘trodden with the cattle’s feet’, where the harsh plosives suggest that violence is done to it, yet it remains joyful. This is shown in the refrain ‘Love seeketh not itself to please’. The repetition of ‘itself’ and the negatives ‘not’ and ‘nor’ present this type of love as one of self-denial, or selflessness. The rhyme of ‘please’ and ‘ease’ show that its desires are only for the love-object, to whom it ‘gives’ up its own comfort. The second refrain ‘builds a Heaven in Hell’s despair’ brings a spiritual dimension to the love, showing its ability to transform, through the antithesis - ‘Hell’ into ‘Heaven’.


Blake uses direct speech to present the opposing views of the clod/pebble. He links and contrasts them through the refrains in the first and final lines of their respective stanzas, setting them in balance against each other. The present tense ‘Love seeketh’ has a gnomic/wisdom tone, as if it is eternally true - yet Blake shows us totally contradictory views. This shows that each person may be totally convinced of the truth of their own belief - however widely varying, as where he says the pebble spoke ‘metres meet’. The homophone emphasises the pun and irony - that the pebble’s view is totally wrong, as suggested by the clumsy, congested sounds in ‘warbling’ in contrast to the ‘clod’ who simply ‘sung’ - with connotations of hymn or prayer.

The personification of the pebble suggests hardness, in the harsh plosives of its name, as well as ‘brook’. Its location in a river implies being washed clean, yet its physical purity is juxtaposed with its spiritual selfishness. Its refrain reverses the selflessness of the Clod, saying love seeks ‘only self’ to please, and the consequences in the final line are also reversed, that this attitude ‘builds a Hell in Heaven’ - another image of transformation, again negative. The love of the pebble is possessive, seeking to ‘bind another’ only to its ‘delight’ while it actually ‘joys’ in others’ ‘loss of ease’. This phrase echoes that of the Clod, which ‘gives its ease’ and again reverses it.

Through the dramatic monologues of the clod and pebble, Blake uses clever reversals and repetition to show how selfless love - like that of Christ - has almost miraculous power, to transform even ‘Hell’ into ‘Heaven’. Unusually, Blake presents the negative view last, but the negative persuasion of the vile pebble is arguably more powerful than the uplifting message of the clod who speaks first.

Wordcount: 486 Grade: A*
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  
  

20 Oct 2015

Worksheet KS3 Language Techniques: Metaphor, Simile, Personification from Frankenstein for GCSE


LOOK FOR: metaphors - personification - similes (comparing)

________________ her hair was the brightest living gold
________________ fairer than a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles
________________ Like a mountain river, it came from small sources, but swelling as it proceeded, became the torrent which has swept away all my hopes and joys. 
________________ The saintly soul of Elizabeth shone like a shrine-dedicated lamp
________________ A new light seemed to dawn upon my mind
________________ He had partially unveiled the face of Nature
________________ Excited by this catastrophe
________________ the storm hanging in the stars and ready to envelop me 
________________ Destiny had decreed my utter and terrible destruction
________________ she regained the sunshine of her smiles and spent them upon us.
________________ I felt as if my soul were grappling with an enemy
________________ In a scientific pursuit there is continual food for discovery and wonder
________________ I was like the Arabian who had been buried with the dead 
________________ I would pour a torrent of light into our dark world
________________ the rain pattered dismally against the panes
________________ my dreams became a hell to me
________________ I was attacked by the fatal passion


The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.   &nbsp
  

13 Oct 2015

Images for Stories and Writing to Describe: 11+, Common Entrance, GCSE and IGCSE

This works for 11+, Common Entrance, or for GCSE. If you need to 'add more detail' to your stories or descriptions need to be improved, try this picture exercise. The images are all from India and there's plenty to describe, plus a list below of useful sensory language to help you. If I'm working with students who need help, I normally tell them to use ten words from the list.

Usually when we do this, the sentences are all quite repetitive: 'The palace is like lace...', 'The walls are bone white...' so make sure to also vary sentence starts. Find out how here.

If you're a teacher or parent, there's a super detailed version of this that I made on TES Resources called 'Places for Chases' with 53 images of places to help with writing description or stories about a chase.

PALACE like lace, lacy, carved, fretwork, marble, like a wedding cake, tipped with gold, scalloped arches, gingerbread balustrade, rust-coloured brick, wood panelling, curled carving, minaret, swirled, cobalt sky, violent sky, frilled clouds, dusted with clouds, swirling. COLOURS: cobalt (deep, heavy mid-blue), lapis lazuli (deep blue precious jewel), cream, gold, marble, alabaster, bone-white, rust, copper, burnished wood.



MOSQUE powdered heat, hot dry air, dust-coloured sky, onion dome, crescent, finial (the twirly bit at the tip of the roof), tiny-paned arched windows, yellow mist, smooth tiled floor, carved panels, geometric design (abstract design based on shapes), heat rising, raised up. COLOURS: apricot, peach, pastel, mustard, creamy, marble, gold, treacle-dark, gleaming wood, lead-coloured, shadowed.

SUNSET: yellow wash, shivering in the water, reflected back, doubled, minarets, towers, gilded, lantern-shaped towers, fretted, crenellated, arched walkways, promenade, crowds, spreading tree, hammered surface, like an ivory jewel-box, luminous, silhouette. COLOURS: mustard, copper, gold,  brass, rust, alabaster, cream, bone-white, ivory, ash-grey.
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  
  

10 Oct 2015

New Frankenstein Text for 2017 GCSE - Easy to Read, Quotable, Annotated with Exam-Ready Essays

Michael Gove might have cruelly snatched Of Mice and Men from us, but teaching older, longer texts doesn't have to be horrible. Here's a super student-friendly version of Frankenstein, sensitively shortened to just over the length of Of Mice and Men, with all the events and important quotations left in the original.

This book is accessible even to lower ability sets and could be used with younger year groups to get them ready for the challenges of older texts. It's fully illustrated, with a nod to Dr Seuss, and the iPad format lets students create their own flashcards to revise quotations so they're ready for the closed book exam. Because it's shorter, it frees up class time so you can really get to grips with the story without having to skip sections, or spend forever explaining difficult phrases.

You can download a sample for free on the iBooks store here.




Want this book in paperback? Pre-order it below.









You can download a sample for free on the iBooks store here.


The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  
  

8 Oct 2015

Metaphor, Simile, Personification Worksheet for KS3


Here's a worksheet I used with one of my students yesterday, together with these posters and this Youtube video of my hilarious attempt to explain the difference between similes and metaphors to my student.


What Technique: simile, metaphor, personification?

_________________  the wind howled
_________________  my love is a rose
_________________  sunlight played on the water
_________________  his hands were ice
_________________  it was as hot as the sun
_________________  my love is like a rose
_________________  the branches grabbed at me
_________________  softly, slowly, silently
_________________  his face was ash
_________________  her dress looked like an old cabbage leaf
_________________  the roses in her cheeks were faded
_________________  the skeleton trees
_________________  brilliant but cruel as fire
_________________  the moon hid in cloud

_________________  floor like polished glass
The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  
  

6 Oct 2015

Language Techniques used in Frankenstein for the 2017 GCSE and IGCSE

If you're studying Frankenstein for GCSE or IGCSE, you need to make sure you don't just re-tell the story, but also analyse the language techniques. Here are some of the major techniques Shelley uses, with examples of how to write about them to score top marks.
To raise your grade even higher, try to also link to the themes. Find out more about themes here.

SIMILE

Where one thing is compared to another using ‘like’ or ‘as’.
Where Walton says, ‘my resolutions are as fixed as fate’, the simile compares the strength of his mind to fate, an unstoppable power.
When Frankenstein says, ‘I discarded natural history as a deformed and abortive creation’, the simile ironically links to his own creation, showing his arrogance in discarding ‘natural history’ and by implication, nature.

METAPHOR

You can always check a metaphor by asking is it literally true? Then check whether it uses ‘like’ or ‘as’. If not, it’s a metaphor.
When Frankenstein claims ‘I should pour a torrent of light into our dark world’, it suggests the power of God in creating light, as well as evoking moral evil in the word ‘dark’.

The metaphor of Elizabeth as ‘a garden rose among dark-leaved brambles’ refers to her situation as prickly, a classic image of romantic beauty, as well as the contrast between wild brambles and the civilized ‘garden’.

PERSONIFICATION

This is where non-human things are given human emotions or actions. Throughout the novel, both nature and destiny are personified as female forces.
When Frankenstein says ‘I pursued nature to her hiding places’, it has the sense of a woman fleeing the male scientist. Yet the female personification of ‘destiny’ is a force too ‘potent’ for him to escape and like a terrible judge, she ‘decreed’ his ‘total and utter destruction.’
He also personifies the mountains, saying the glacial ‘ice was continuously torn, as if it had been but a plaything in their hands,’ creating a sense of nature as a gigantic and destructive force, so much larger and more powerful than man.




PATHETIC FALLACY

This is a special type of personification where weather is given human actions or emotions, as in the ‘war in the sky’. In Gothic literature, weather was frequently used as a physical way to symbolise characters’ stormy mental states, and the rain, when it comes for Frankenstein is ‘violent’. In other places, Shelley shows the vastness of an uncaring universe to symbolise isolation, as when the creature says the ‘cold stars shone in mockery’, and Frankenstein refers to the ‘comfortless sky’.

ANTITHESIS

One of Mary Shelley’s favourite techniques, this is the contrast of total opposites. She then plays with these contrasts to show reversal: the creature is a ‘monster’ but so are men; the creature is both ‘the fallen angel’ and ‘Adam’, and where the creature says: ‘I was good; misery made me a fiend.’
It is also used to create a disturbing tension - of something both dead and alive - where Frankenstein says ‘I became able to bestow animation upon lifeless matter’, or sickening tension where William’s murder is ‘hellish sport.’

JUXTAPOSITION

This is where two elements are placed close together to create a particular effect, which could be horror, fear or pity. Justine’s hope for ‘salvation’ through ‘innocence’ is particularly pitiful when juxtaposed against the ‘violence’ and ‘indignation’ of the crowd’s reactions at her trial.
In another place, Shelley juxtaposes the creature’s sensitivity, of his ‘perceptions and passions’ with Frankenstein’s treatment of him when he cast me abroad an object for the scorn and horror of mankind”.

You can download a sample for free on the iBooks store here.


The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.                                                                                  
  

2 Oct 2015

Frankenstein for 2017 GCSE and IGCSE Themes of Science, Genius and the Tabula Rasa

Science

Shelley drew inspiration for the creature from recent scientific work.
1. GALVANISM: Luigi Galvani’s experimented in the 1780s to 1790s using electric currents to make dead frogs move. In 1803, his nephew made a public demonstration on a criminal executed at Newgate. The Newgate Record reported:
On the first application of the process to the face, the jaws of the deceased criminal began to quiver, and the adjoining muscles were horribly contorted, and one eye was actually opened. In the subsequent part of the process the right hand was raised and clenched, and the legs and thighs were set in motion.
Link this to the ‘convulsive motion’ of the creature awakening in Chapter 5 and Chapter 2, where Frankenstein learns about ‘electricity and galvanism’.
2. DISSECTION & BODY SNATCHING: by dissecting dead bodies and even live animals, doctors hoped to learn more about how the human body worked. However, before the Anatomy Act of 1832, there weren’t enough bodies to dissect as only criminals condemned to 
death and dissection could be used. This led to bodysnatchers, who would steal fresh corpses from graveyards. In the 1790s, one gang was selling corpses for ‘two guineas and a crown’: equivalent to almost £3,000.
Link this to the gruesome descriptions of Frankenstein’s vivisection as he ‘tortured the living animal to animate the lifeless clay’ and dabbled among the unhallowed damps of the grave’ in Chapter 4.
3. EARLY CHEMISTRY: At the time of writing, the science of Chemistry was relatively new, having previously been thought of as a type of magic. When coming up with the idea for Frankenstein, Mary Shelley read Humphry Davy’s. Phrases from it appear in her novel almost word for word as in Chapter 3 where M. Waldman says: ‘Scientists penetrate the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places’. Note that nature is female, violated by male scientists.
POLAR EXPEDITIONS: at the time of writing,
no one had ever managed to reach the 
North Pole.

Genius

Mary Shelley was surrounded by men of genius - from her distant stepfather William Godwin, to her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Their circle of friends included famous poets and thinkers.
Both Walton and Frankenstein represent the lone genius. Yet Shelley shows they are different.
1. PUBLIC BENEFIT & PERSONAL GLORY: Walton desires to bring public ‘benefit to all mankind, to the last generation’. Frankenstein seeks personal satisfaction, praising himself above ‘the wisest men since the history of creation’, deserving ‘gratitude’ and to be ‘bless[ed]’.
2. SELFISH OBSESSION & ISOLATION: in a moment of rare insight, in Chapter 4, Frankenstein admits tha t he was to ‘blame’ for chasing his dream to the exclusion of all ‘feelings of affection’. Shelley criticizes the cult of genius in the same chapter where Frankenstein admits: ‘A human being in perfection should never allow passion or desire to disturb his tranquility’. In this, he includes ‘the pursuit of knowledge.’
Link to: ‘I lost all soul or sensation but for this one pursuit.’
3. BLINDNESS: throughout the novel, Shelly questions Frankenstein’s obsession. First, he pursues ‘chimeras of boundless grandeur’ that M. Krempe tells him are wrong. Even when his experiments succeed in Chapter 5, they are morally wrong: ‘the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart.’  Link to: enthusiastic frenzy had blinded me to the horror of my work’, ‘as if I had been guilty of a crime’.

How Character is Shaped

Throughout Frankenstein, Shelley explores philosophical theories of how character is shaped. Are we good - or evil - by nature, or due to the experiences we have?
She used two major writers.
JOHN LOCKE & THE TABULA RASA
In his ‘Essay Concerning Human Understanding’ (1690) Locke argued that a child is a “blank slate” (or in Latin, ‘tabula rasa’) that is formed only through experience. 
ROUSSEAU
Rousseau believed similarly that a child’s upbringing is responsible for his later behaviour, as he argued in Emile, or ‘On Education’ (1762).
These theories were controversial as they implied that anyone, however humble, had the potential for brilliance, and that evil was created by the evils of society - which must take responsibility. It also contradicted church teaching on original sin, that humans are born evil. In this respect, Shelley’s novel is radical, challenging the widely accepted beliefs of her time.
Link to where the creature says in Chapter 10: ‘I was good. Misery made me a fiend’ and in Chapter 15, ‘I learned to admire their virtues and deprecate the vices of mankind.’
Like a blank slate, the creature’s actions are formed by his experiences, yet he naturally tends towards good. Even when shot, then attacked by villagers, he behaves with kindness, helping the cottagers who think it must be a “good spirit”. 
He is shocked by the brutality of humanity.

You can download a sample for free on the iBooks store here.


The author, , is an Oxford graduate, outstanding-rated English Language and Literature teacher and of ages 10-18 in the British education system. In 2012, she was nominated for Pearson's Teaching Awards. As a private tutor, she raises grades often from C to A. Her writing is also featured in The Huffington Post. She offers private tuition in the Haywards Heath area, West Sussex.