Today, we were all given an A grade response to the poem ‘Singh Song!’. The example showed us how to write a response to this question: Compare how voices are used in ‘Singh Song!’ (Daljit Nagra) and one other poem from Characters and Voices. The example looked at the poem alongside John Agard’s ‘Checking Out Me History’.

Key Points that we learnt:

  • A grade answers take a more conceptualised approach to answering the question.
  • ‘Singh Song!’ and’ Checking Out Me History’ both use dialect and phonetic language to emphasise the link between voice and culture.
  • You are marked on your ability to compare – comparisons should be constant throughout your answer.
  • Extra marks will be rewarded in you write in full, formal sentences and you paragraph your work.

How to Paragraph your work:

P. 1 – INTRODUCTION: Say what your answer will be about. Begin to compare poems         straight away.

P. 2 – FORM AND STRUCTURE: The effect of form and structure in each poem. You should analyse the structure of each, showing how they relate to the theme named in the essay title.

P. 3 – LANGUAGE: The effect of language choices made by the writer, again linking to the theme named in the essay title. You should write about the effect of figurative language (Similes/Metaphors/Personification) and sounds created with words (Assonance/Consonance/Alliteration).

P. 4 – WIDER ISSUES: Comment on any other interesting points of comparison or contrast, the effect on yourself and other readers over time and any contextual/background information that is useful to know.

P. 5 – CONCLUSION: A quick summary of your ideas, a personal preference.

Things to Include – Assessment Objectives:

  • Make a variety of points, showing your level of understanding.
  • Use a range of precise, well selected quotations.
  • Talk about the effect of writer’s choices in Language.
  • Talk about the effect of writer’s choices in Structure.
  • Make clear comparisons, or points of contrast, between the two poems.

New Vocabulary:

SYNTAX – The grammatical make up of a sentence. In ‘Checking Out Me History’, John Agard uses broken syntax “Touissaint/a slave/with vision/lick back” to highlight the patterns of vocal communication in African Caribbean oral tradition.

NOMINATIVE DETERMINATION – Where the author chooses a name that relates to a character’s personality. In ‘Of Mice and Men’, Steinbeck uses names that symbolise a lot about the characters. Candy, for example, offers a sweet solution to George and Lennie’s Dream and, with his financial imput, the dream actually feels possible.

Miss Ryan’s tip for using technical words:

Do not use fancy words for the sake of it. Your analysis is worth much more than dropping long words to sound smart. If you can’t explain the effect of the techniques that you spot, or use the techniques in the right context, then they are not worth using. Devote your attention to developing an excellent analysis that shows how you interpret the poems.

Planning an Exam Answer:

Compare how relationships are explored in ‘Medusa’ and one other poem from characters and voices

What other poems could you compare Medusa with?

  1. ‘Singh Song!’ – Strongest contrast as the relationship in this poem is a positive contrast to the negativity in Medusa.
  2. ‘The River God’/’My Last Duchess’ – these are strong examples for comparison as the characters created all have similar issues of control and threat in their relationships. It could be analyse how the gender of the poet makes reveals contrast in ideas.
  3. We felt that relationships are also seen in ‘The Ruined Maid’ and ‘The Hunchback in the Park’ but the comparisons aren’t as strong as the first three poems listed.

We all created our own plans ready for a timed practice during next weeks lessons.