Unit 3 section a
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Unit 3 Section A. Unseen – 1 hour 15 (including 15 minutes annotation/planning) 40 marks /total 100 AO1= 10 AO2=30. Structuring your answer – 2 models.

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Unit 3 Section A

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Unit 3 section a

Unit 3 Section A

Unseen – 1 hour 15

(including 15 minutes annotation/planning)

40 marks /total 100

AO1= 10 AO2=30

Structuring your answer 2 models

Structuring your answer – 2 models

  • After an introduction , you work your way through the poem discussing key ideas and devices in chronological order (but where relevant making a link to a later or earlier quote)

    Sometimes easier in timed conditions but risk is you may forget to make enough AO2 points (worth 30/40 marks)

    2. After an introduction, you write specifically about the poet’s use of: form, structure, rhythm and rhyme, lexis and grammar, literary devices, sound devices

    Sometimes harder in timed conditions but forces you to specifically focus on AO2 (worth 30/40 marks)

What to write in the introduction

What to write in the introduction

  • Meaning – literal (in a sentence – what is it about) (The poem is about....)

  • Meaning – theme/ metaphorical / deeper (The poem explores the theme(s) of ...)

  • Authorial intention & tone ( The poet is reflecting and reminiscing and adopts a mournful tone about...)

    Do I need quotes? It would be excellent to embed one or two short quotes deftly to anchor your interpretation (AO1) to the poem in this introduction.

Unit 3 section a


  • Narrative viewpoint

  • Implied /explicit reader?

  • Tense (present/ past / future)

  • Poetic sub-genre (e.g ballad)

Ao2device form

AO2device: Form

Form –identifying a poem’s genre and the conventions of that genre

e.g ‘ The poem is written as a Shakespearean sonnet with three quatrains and a rhyming couple which is an appropriate form for the theme of....’

  • Or if a poem is not written in a particular genre, you can describe it in terms of its overall shape:

    e.g ‘The form that Valerie Bloom has created for 'Granny Is' is built on rhyming quatrains with an added line to act as a refrain - at the end of the stanza – which serves to....’

Some key poetic forms to recognise

Some key poetic forms to recognise

  • Shakespearean sonnet (ababcdcdefefgg) Sonnet 116

  • Petrarchan sonnet (abbaabbacedcdcd octave/sestet) Sonnet 43 (E. B-Browning) volta on line 9 (change of tone or direction)

  • Lyric (personal, emotional feelings & – lyrical) e.gRomantic poets (Shelley/Keats/Wordsworth) and confessional poets 1960s (Plath). Most poems are lyrics – as are sonnets

  • Ode – glorifying an event or individual (in 3 parts (Keats ‘To Autumn’) elevated style

  • Ballad (abcb – quatrians – narrative, dialogue – 3rd person nvp) (Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner) or ‘narrative poem’

  • Elegy (meditative lyrical lament for the dead) To an Athlete Dying Young e. Housman

  • Free verse (no consistent metrical, rhythm or rhyming pattern)

  • Blank verse (regular metrical but no rhyme – same number of syllables but without rhyme)

  • Concrete poetry – shape of the poem reflects content



  • Stanza / couplet / refrain

  • couplet (2 lines)

  • tercet (3 lines)

  • quatrain (4 lines)

  • cinquain (5 lines)

  • sestet (6 lines) (sometimes it's called a sexain)

  • septet (7 lines)

  • octave (8 lines) 

  • How many?

  • Repetition?

  • Linear or on-linear?

  • Shape- significant?

  • How does this effectively convey/explore the theme and meaning?



  • Irregularity: Many metered poems in English avoid perfectly regular rhythm because it is monotonous. Irregularities in rhythm add interest and emphasis to the lines. In this line:

  • Blank Verse: Any poetry that does have a set metrical pattern (usually iambic pentameter), but does not have rhyme, is blank verse.

  • Free Verse:Most modern poetry no longer follows strict rules of meter or rhyme, especially throughout an entire poem

  • Top Tips:

  • Look for specific lines where you notice the rhythm changes and think about why this is.......

  • For example, look for use of the caesura ( punctuation marks such as the dash, comma, exclamation mark, question mark) to create a pause

  • Look at the overall movement of the poems between lines adn between stanzas

  • For example, look at enjambment / run-on lines/ end-stopped lines?

Rhythm meter

Rhythm: meter

  • Determining meter is usually a process of elimination. Start reading everything in iambic by emphasizing every second syllable. 80 to 90% of metered poetry is iambic. If it sounds silly or strange, because many of the poem's words do not sound natural, then try trochaic, anapestic or dactylic rhythms. If none of these sounds natural, then you probably do not have metered poetry at all (ie. it's free verse).

  • If there are some lines that sound metered, but some that don't, the poem has an irregular rhythm.

  • iamb ( weak/strong) (betray/ persuade)

  • trochee (strong/weak) (candle/ muscle)

  • spondee (strong strong) (Help! Help!)

  • anapest (weak weak strong)

  • dacytl (strong weak weak)

  • Iambic pentameter usually creates a conversational rhythm (avoiding elevated/theatrical effect) and it also creates a slow and steady pace which often creates a dignified , regal and measured tone.



  • Regular / irregular or no rhyme?

  • Rhyme scheme (ABAB = alternate rhyme or couplets or?)

  • Enveloping rhyme ABBA

  • End rhyme/internal rhyme

  • Full rhyme or half-rhyme

  • monosyllabic rhyme (masculine rhyme) or polysyllabic rhyme (feminine rhyme)

  • Rhyme is used to draw attention to particular words or to link words or to create a particular tone e.g singsong

  • Be aware that much modern poetry has no

    rhyme scheme at all.

Lexis vocabulary and grammar

Lexis (vocabulary) and grammar

  • Denotation and connotation

  • Dynamic verbs v stative verbs

  • Nouns: abstract, collective, Proper, common, concrete

  • Adjectives- comparative and superlative

  • Pronouns – personal, possessive, anaphoric (follow the named subject) cataphoric (precedes named subject e.g ‘it made its way towards me menacingly. I realised it was a zombie’)

  • Semantic field of ...e.g. Anatomy

  • Adjectives – emotive? Descriptive? Pejorative? Positive?

Literary devices figurative devices

Literary Devices /figurative devices

  • Simile "My love is like a red, red rose."

  • A metaphor leaves out "like" or "as“

  • Synecdoche is a form of metaphor, which in mentioning an important (and attached) part signifies the whole (e.g. "hands" for labour).

  • Metonymy is similar to synecdoche; it's a form of metaphor allowing an object closely associated (but unattached) with a object or situation to stand for the thing itself (e.g. the crown or throne for a king or the bench for the judicial system).

  • A symbol is like a simile or metaphor with the first term left out.

  • Allegory can be defined as a one to one correspondence between a series of abstract ideas and a series of images or pictures presented in the form of a story or a narrative. For example, George Orwell's Animal Farm is an extended allegory that represents the Russian Revolution

  • Personification occurs when you treat abstractions or inanimate objects ‘nature wept’

  • Irony takes many forms. Most basically, irony is a figure of speech in which actual intent is expressed through words that carry the opposite meaning.



  • Irony takes many forms. Most basically, irony is a figure of speech in which actual intent is expressed through words that carry the opposite meaning.

    Paradox: usually a literal contradiction of terms or situations

    Situational Irony: an unmailed letter

    Dramatic Irony: audience has more information or greater perspective than the characters

    Verbal Irony: saying one thing but meaning another

    Overstatement (hyperbole)

    Understatement (meiosis)


Sound effects phonological devices

Sound effects/ phonological devices

  • Alliteration: the repetition of initial sounds on the same line or stanza - Big bad Bob bounced bravely.

  • Assonance: the repetition of vowel sounds (anywhere in the middle or end of a line or stanza) - Tilting at windmills

  • Consonance: the repetition of consonant sounds (anywhere in the middle or end of a line or stanza) - And all the air a solemn stillness holds. (T. Gray)

  • Onomatopoeia: words that sound like that which they describe - Boom! Crash! Pow! Quack! Moo!Caress...

  • Repetition: the repetition of entire lines or phrases to emphasize key thematic ideas.

  • Parallel Stucture/anaphora: a form of repetition where the order of verbs and nouns is repeated; it may involve exact words, but it more importantly repeats sentence structure - "I came, I saw, I conquered".

  • Plosive consonant – d,g,t,k,p,b create an aggressive sound

  • Aspirate /h/ sound

  • Long vowels sounds ‘wow’

  • Short vowel sounds ‘stop’

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