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Word Choices LO: To explore how words can be used to suggest feelings.
Rewrite the following sentence, changing the underlined words to create a positive feeling about the teenager getting up. • The bleary-eyed girl dragged herself out of her crumpled bed, startled into life by the clashing of milk bottles.
Rewrite the following sentence, changing the underlined words to create a negative feeling about the night time scene. • The shining moon appeared in the beautiful night sky above a serene landscape, casting interesting shadows on the ground.
Key Terms • Tone: feelings, mood or atmosphere suggested by the words • Adjective: a word that describes people or objects • Annotate: write on or mark up a piece of work with your own notes • Irony: the humorous or mildly sarcastic use of words to imply the opposite of what is being said.
You will have noticed that the words underlined in the starter were adjectives. The poem ‘The Conquerors’ by Henry Treece describes a village that a group of soldiers pass though on the way home from battle. The adjectives which are used create the impression that the soldiers are weary and depressed by their surroundings.
Pick out FIVE adjectives that create an unattractive impression of the scene and soldiers’ mood and write down why you have chosen these ones.
Broken pane – destruction • Pressing – desperate • Rusting – decay • Bars – imprisoned • Thin tattered – famished The poet is trying to create a picture of desolation and decay by using phrases such as ‘broken pane’ and ‘rusting cage’. He makes us feel sorry for the untidy, starved bird (‘thin, tattered breast’), which seems desperate to escape captivity.
Activities • Look at the section about the dog (‘And as we hurried... Least in peace’) and chose three words that have an effect on you and explain why. • Write a paragraph which incorporates these comments. • Presumably the war is over and the child at the end is an enemy. Read this section again and consider how people behave differently in war and peace time. What do you think the description of the speaker’s feelings towards the child is intended to make the reader think? Give a clear response to this question, focussing on key words used.
Reread the last five lines of the poem. Decide which of the following best sums up why the poet uses the title and explain your choice. • Because the soldiers are celebrating a victory • To show that nobody actually wins a war • To show that their experiences have changed the way the soldiers feel about war.
Thinking About Titles • The title of the poem often gives the reader clues about what the poem is going to be about. In the case of ‘The Conquerors’, the title proves to be misleading. Here, the poet uses IRONY; he uses a positive sounding title to introduce the opposite.
What does the title ‘Conquerors’ suggest to you? How is this different to what the poem is about? • What about the title ‘Night Nurses in the Morning’? This offers more straightforward clues about the poem’s subject matter. • What do you think the poem might be about? • Imagine that, on the bus to school, you see a group of nurses after finishing their night shift. Make notes on how they might look, their mood, their behaviour.
What makes the following descriptions effective? • “swollen ankles above/big white boat-shoes, dreams of foot-spas” • “Pale pink pale green pale blue, even without/the washed out uniforms” • “More pallid than colliers or snooker players,/the vampires of mercy” • Now write a PEE paragraph on what effects the poet creates by her use of language.