IGCSE Literature: how to do Unseen poems



hello in this video I'll be talking about how to prepare an answer for an unseen text for either IGCSE literature IGCSE world literature this particular video is going to look at a poem it'll show you how to read the poem how to annotate the poem and then finally it'll begin to show you how to how to produce an answer so let's kick off this is the poem is taken from a real past paper for Cambridge um the first thing to do really if you haven't read the poem first thing to do probably is to press pause right now and have a look at it for a for a moment or two before you press pause and stop me I would suggest the third one of the first things you do is to look at the guiding questions at the top here because it often gives you quite a lot of information that you can you can work on so this particular one it tells you right at the beginning it's writing about her daughter in the first week after birth and the main question involved that you need to answer there explore the different feelings the poet has towards her young baby and how the words help you share her experience as being mother so if we think about that that tells us that the feeling that there are different feelings so quite possibly the feelings change or contrast throughout throughout the poem and then there are three bullet points we need to address the way the poet describes the baby way the head way the mother is handling the baby and the mothers developing thoughts and feelings so if I were you I would underline the key words in those in those bullet points and then really focus on those when you when you're annotating alright so if you haven't seen home before I've been idea to pause about now and give yourself time to read through it okay assume that you press play again now this particular poem is is an interesting one there's a lot of different things to talk about the way we should went the way we should it address the poem and tackle the poem is is really like this you look at the guiding questions and the bullet points like was just done we've already established there are some clothes there that can help us read the poem at least twice without really making note just let it wash over you feel for it and then after that you can start asking yourself some of the some big questions and it's worth asking yourself these questions every single time with any kind of text and just see because it'll help you form different answers and get a good understanding of the poem so these questions these five questions are are particularly good who is speaking is it first person third person maybe even second person why is the writer chosen that particular style do you think what's the subject wanted posted about number two is there a theme or a message what kind of issues come up what kind of emotions come across when you read third one similarly what kind of tone is created by the writer or kind of atmosphere is that for the literary techniques you need to spot literary techniques you need to know what they are but more importantly you need to be able to explain their effect if you just list similes and metaphors it's not going to get very far and finally personal response is what they're really looking for what effect does this have on the reading what do you learn at the end of the poem that you didn't know the beginning or did you what do you feel so ask yourself those those big questions right at the top the next thing that I like to do is think of one key point basically answer the question answer the question in bold at the beginning I've got an example here the poem explores the mother's paranoia apprehension and then growing acceptance of her new baby so that shows the development of her of her feelings a good tip here really good trick it's just he just to use some good adjectives throw in some strong adjectives in in your key point and it will help form your answer from your ideas okay so once we've got that we're ready to annotate and start and start breaking up how I'm up something that I think works quite well is is breaking in the poem into what's what I call chunks of meaning so we divide the poem up it can be standard by standards and but often it's often is not it's it's different nights it's some different events that happen or different different developments in the poem show how that changes throughout the poem and that gives you a very basic structure for your your commentary so my first my first chunk if you like is that is the very beginning um the major points here you can see that it the first stanza shows there's a distance between the baby and the mother there's a physical distance and there's an emotional different distance there's a feeling of detachment here also slightly paranoid diction the idea of being facedown limp and flung suggests maybe something is wrong with the baby or reflects the mother's paranoia about not being able to cope with this with this baby the idea of falling from some sky-high take to be an allusion to the story of the stalk bringing babies and again that baptising reflects the mother's detachment from the baby it's nothing to do with her and so the opening the opening stanza you can see I've made a note there that says the main what the main point is what I'm annotating on I don't would put that in the margin and then when I come to do my analysis that can help me with that can help become my topic sentence the first sentence of the paragraph that talks about this that's going to help me okay move on the next section describes I hear that there's a physical connection now the mothers no longer distant just looking at the baby but there's this still an emotional distance she's not particularly accepting or connected with the with the child and it's rapid and reminiscing it's in past tense explaining how the how the mother picks the baby up and when it the plane which carefully here is interesting because there are a lot of seizures a lot of pauses and punctuation throughout this stands a lots of run-on lines or enjambment which which creates a feeling of a fluidity but also it's very detailed you can see the mother not very unnaturally picking up the child she has to think about each particular movement and here she's recreating that the line that she would tumble over part by part there's an obvious enjambment there the line itself tumbles over so this form of the form and structure of the poem reflects the mother's feelings about baby fresh train simile like a load of damp laundry when you get something like that that's very obviously it stands out polls think about the qualities of that particular thing a lot like a load of lamb damp laundry to me suggests something very very lifeless soggy lacking energy and all something is being thrown around in the dryer it's being tossed around pretty helpless much like that's like the baby the mother then steps in to help and again very very detailed description slipper hand in under her neck slide the other one it's almost like an instruction manual so how to how to pick up a baby when she finally has it connection she's still not very secure her little bottom sat in my palm she doesn't really understand what she's holding her neck I was afraid of her neck once I almost thought I thought I heard it quietly snapped it's a kind of oxymoron there you can't is very difficult to quietly snap something should suggest the fragility of the of the child and again also the the paranoia of the mother existence obviously something's very unlikely to happen but in the mothers its from the mother recounting of the speaker recounting her her fears here it shows how how paranoid she is the last piece in this section I looked at her and she swiveled her slight eyes slightly slight is a type of granite if you like a building material is very gray very lifeless swiveled again suggests or something mechanical to me and if you seen the film The Exorcist but it suggests that they're kind of slightly scary um connection between their mother and child and again very distant doesn't seem to have any real connection and this is this carries on into the next section again before we move on you can see the main point of the bottom again that sums up this section and that's going to help me form my topic sentence at the end it was in my care so previously was she or her now now the pronoun changes to very impersonal it which again reflects the mother's distance from the from the child I was just this section goes away from simply recounting what happened like an anecdote it moves on to the more philosophical time in its toy it's discussing how the child is one of many children born and how that's that's significant for the human race much more biological language here the first vertebrate had been placed in my hands starts to have a feeling of a sense of importance about what's happening so we could see the poem developing now from being physically distant and emotionally distant now being physically closer and here you can see the mother having coming to some kind of understanding about what's what's going on every time I checked she was still with us again sense of paranoia but slowly maybe coming to accept that she is still here and eventually there would be a human race or she'll be a a part of that and then finally the last section which could be a different chunk chunk as such a visit there's a very physical connection now and also importantly an emotional connection and interesting the last section describes I'm breastfeeding which is possibly the most intimate thing the most intimate act between err a newborn baby and and their mother and so it's significant the poem the poet decides to finish here with a very intimate connection and the mother does seem to accept what's happening when I gather her like a loose bouquet Megan much more positive simile here than the damn laundry from earlier a loose bouquet bouquet has suggestions of obscene hours and beauty loose still fairly helpless though and offered the breasts grayish-white struck with minuscule scars again very positive similar to finish my Creek and a small River stream like creeks in the sunlight the breast itself the the veins on lot of scars on the breast to the mother now it seems like it's a sacrifice she's happy to make like creeks in sunlight much more positive war tone that's created here as she's breastfeeding and is again the strange and ending here I felt she was serious I believed she was willing to stay so plymouth poems all in the first person here we it's almost tempting to put the point of view through the baby um bizarrely mentioning that she was willing to stay as though she had some sort of choice in the matter and finally we get sense that the mother is accepting she's she realizes that this is a permanent arrangement and it's going to it's going to it's going to remain like this and again the main point of the bottom their philosophical of accepting intimate breastfeeding so again like before this this headline if you like for this chunk that's going to help me create a topic sentence when I come on to analyzing that particular chunk okay so that's a fairly quick annotation at what's what's happening could also mention the structure and form somewhere in here it's clearly a very irregular poem when you say this homes generally obviously a regular or irregular try and think about why don't just don't just tell the examiner that is why all the other here I would suggest it's irregular because that reflects the mother's slightly erratic paranoid tone it's all over the place much like her her own mind okay a couple of things to remember we just talked about structure and form the title as well her first week now we've read the poem um initially maybe we thought it's her first week her is ambiguous it seems to refer to the baby to begin with it's her first week of life but is there another way to read it yeah obviously her could remain could refer to the mother and it's her first week of motherhood and so the perception that the interview is really much more about the mother and her feelings rather than focus on the baby okay so that annotation should take you around 20 minutes in the actual exam so you read a couple of times look at the look at the bullet points and crack on and start annotating when you annotate don't simply underline words but make a little note to the side to remind you why you've done it and give each chunker a headline that you can use later on to done that you're ready to start writing so look back at the question that they get the question and here's some isn't it has an example that you could you could go with move myself a little bit there um in storage if it's worked well so that example intro you can see there the poem describes her mother's insecurity and paranoia towards the newborn child and also hatchet how she gradually forms a physical and then an emotional bond with the child shows the development in the poem as she learns to embrace surely role so pretty simple shows I understand the development of the poem understand the mothers if the reaction that she has and it's some it sums up everything quite quite nicely I think there as you continue after your intro then go through each particular chunk use the headline or the point that you made earlier and then back and form your topic sentence laterally you will give first the point of each paragraph and then if you use P logic if use peel or pqa or something similar but follow that style throughout the poem give an example and then react to it don't simply explain it or put it into easy English really get into it and explain what's happening okay that's it hopefully that was useful good luck with your unseen

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