MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

166 views

What do I do in an unseen poetry exam?

Read the poem to yourself twice in your head. The first time, try and get the sense of the narrative of the poem (the story it's telling). You can note down literary techniques (things like onomatopoeia or rhyme) that jump out at you, but don't go looking for them. 

Your second reading is when you should look for literary techniques.

Some easy things to look for:

- Pay attention to the sounds of the poem. Sounds can give the effect of rhyme, sibilance (hissing "s" sounds, like in the word "sussurus"), and consonance (when things have the same consonants, like in the words "tittle-tattle"). This shows the examiner that you really understand how poetic language works.

- Listen for the meter (rhythm) of the poem. You might have heard of iambic pentameter (when the rhythm of syllables goes unstressed-stressed five times per line, or, da-DAH da-DAH da-DAH da-DAH da-DAH) -- that could be the meter of the poem, or it might be something else like iambic trimeter (da-DAH da-DAH da-DAH) or even trochaic pentameter (DA-dah DA-dah DA-dah DA-dah DA-dah). 

- A good way to analyse any text is to look at who's talking and how. Is the poem in first, second, or third person? Is it in the imperative voice (telling someone what to do)? How about the declarative (talking about what exists; making a statement), or the interrogative (asking a question, like I am now)? This shows that you have a good knowledge of linguistic techniques.

- One last thing I'll give you is a way to look at lexis (word choice). Simply put, are the words boo-words or hurrah-words? What are the connotations? Words can mean the same thing whilst having very different connotations -- for example, "stench" is a boo-word and "fragrance" is a hurrah-word, even though they both mean "smell".

Once you have your list of things the poem is doing (using the tools I just gave you and anything else you know), connect that to the narrative; so, say what the author is trying to make the poem do or make the reader feel, and then say how they do this using literary techniques.

Those are your points! Organise them into a logical order and plan some PEEL paragraphs with them, and then all you need to do is write the essay!

Isabel B. A Level English Literature tutor, GCSE English Literature t...

4 months ago

Answered by Isabel, a GCSE English Literature tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

129 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£18 /hr

Oliver W.

Degree: Philosophy (Bachelors) - Warwick University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Philosophy and Ethics+ 4 more

English Literature
Philosophy and Ethics
English Language
-Personal Statements-

“About Me: Hi! My name is Oli. I’m a current undergraduate studying Philosophy at the University of Warwick. My life is a concoction of academic interests, but language, literature and their philosophical applications are at the forefr...”

£18 /hr

Eleanor C.

Degree: English Literature (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered: English Literature, Psychology

English Literature
Psychology

“About me An enthusiastic and friendly individual hoping to become a teacher with expereince working with children of primary and secondary school age. A first year English Literature student at the University of York with a timetable ...”

MyTutor guarantee

£18 /hr

Elizabeth S.

Degree: English and Related Literature (Bachelors) - York University

Subjects offered: English Literature, English+ 1 more

English Literature
English
Design & Technology

“About me I am an English Literature student at the University of York, and I am deeply passionate about literature and design! I amfriendly, enthusiastic and motivated : I achievedfull marks in both my Product Design and English Litera...”

About the author

£18 /hr

Isabel B.

Degree: English Literature and Philosophy (Bachelors) - Birmingham University

Subjects offered: English Literature, English Language

English Literature
English Language

“Who are you, Isabel? Hi! I'm a first-year student at Birmingham University, and I'm doing Philosophy and English Literature. Why are you a good tutor? I took a mix of arts and sciences subjects right through to A levels: I'm comfort...”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other GCSE English Literature questions

How do you closely analyse text?

How do I answer a comparative literature question?

How do I analyse 'character' in my exam?

How do I plan for essays in an exam?

View GCSE English Literature tutors

Cookies:

We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok