Poetry from Different Cultures and Traditions

PAPER 2: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Section A: Spend approximately 45 minutes
You will be asked to answer one question from two given, based on poetry from Different Cultures. One question will be on Cluster 1 and the other on Cluster 2.

What will I be assessed on?

You will have studied in class either Cluster 1 or Cluster 2 (and in some rare cases both Cluster 1 and 2). There will be one question on each cluster and therefore those who have studied both clusters will be at an advantage, however it not recommended that you answer a question on a Cluster you have not studied in class. The question will ask you to make a comparison between two different poems.

For the exam you will be given a clean copy of the Anthology so therefore any notes you make you cannot bring into the exam. It is therefore vital that you can select and interpret quotes from the poems without your notes.

The questions

The questions you will be asked are always different each year, however they are always designed to fulfil the assessment objectives laid out by the AQA exam board.

Based of the AQA mark schemes the assessment objectives for this Section are to:

(i) read, with insight and engagement, making appropriate references to texts and developing and sustaining interpretations of them;
Here you must read and understand the text, comment on the target audience and the purpose of the text. You should also mention how far the text has achieved this purpose. All of this should be supported by quotes.

(ii) select material appropriate to their purpose, collate material from different sources, and make cross references;
You will have to compare certain aspects of the texts. This will mean identifying similar techniques backing any comments up using quotations and mentioning which text uses the devices to the greatest effect.

(iii) understand and evaluate how writers use linguistic, structural and presentational devices to achieve their effects, and comment on ways language varies and changes.
Here you must comment on how the language has been used to fulfil the writer’s purpose and whether it is suitable for its target audience. You must do the same with the presentational devices and the structure of the text.

Poetry: An Introduction

The Mark Scheme

Let’s begin by taking a look at the mark scheme used when marking a question on poetry from different cultures and traditions. The question will ask you to make a comparison between two different poems on either Cluster 1 or 2. The question is always out of 27 marks.

Mark Scheme
0 marks Nothing written

1-3 marks Some awareness of the texts

4-6 marks Simple comments supported with some detail; Awareness of some aspects of structure.

7-9 marks Some simple comments supported with appropriate detail; Statement on some aspects of structure.

10-12 marks Extended unsupported comment; Appropriate use of quotation; Simple comment on some aspects of structure.

13-15 marks Awareness of feelings, attitudes, ideas; Range of supported comments; Comment on effect achieved by writer.

16-18 marks Understanding of feelings, attitudes and ideas; Range of extended supported comments with some cross reference; Awareness of writer’s techniques and purpose.

19-21 marks Appreciation of feelings, attitudes and ideas; Effective use of textual detail with cross references; Understanding of a variety of writers’ techniques.

22-24 marks Exploration of and empathy with writers’ feelings, attitudes and ideas;
Argument and comparisons integrated with quotations; Analysis of a variety of writers’ techniques.

25-27 marksConsistent and convincing imaginative interpretations; Conceptualised comparative response; Close textual analysis.

One thing you may notice from this is that there are no marks for spelling, punctuation or accuracy. However, it is important you try to be as accurate as possible to allow the examiner to understand your essay. Furthermore, because examiners mark so many papers many just scan them quickly. This means if your spelling is awful that will leave an impression on the examiner and could reflect poorly on your mark.

From this you can see that you will need to include the following to gain a high grade:

1. Make continued comparisons between the two poems;

2. Analyse the language throughout (the best method is to use Point Quote Comment);

3. Evaluate the poet’s structural techniques; say who uses certain devices to the greatest effect;

4. Describe what effects certain aspects of the poem have on you personally;

5. Outline the poems purpose and describe if the poet has effectively met this purpose;

6. Analyse whether the poem is suitable for its intended audience

7. Interpret the poems in an imaginative manner

Right I know how, but I still don’t know what to write?

When writing about the poems it is important that you describe the audience and the purpose of the poem. To do this effectively it is important that you recognise the context of the poem. You should also write about the structure of the poem and finally and most importantly you must write about the language.

One of the exam criteria to achieve an A* is to have an imaginative interpretation of the poems. This means you should try to make your interpretation as abstract as possible; the only important thing is that you can back-up anything you say with quotes from the poem. On the following pages each poem is analysed in detail including more imaginative interpretations.

Poetry vocabulary and common terms

When one line runs onto the next one without any punctuation

When something isn’t made clear (it could have many interpretations)

The use of similes, metaphors or personification

To compare an object ‘like’ another

To describe one object as though it were something else

To describe something as though it has human features

Two opposites written together

Where the poem doesn’t follow a conventual’s structure or rhyme scheme