Consider how the theme of love is presented in My father thought it bloody queer and three other poems. In your introduction you need to name all four poems and relate them to the question. Begin with the poem named in the question like this: My father thought it bloody queer is a poem about the relationship between a man
and his father; a relationship, the reader senses, which has not always been easy. Armitage shows the sons gradual realisation of his fathers wisdom and his own stupidity. The poem shows us the childs perception of his father changing and love becoming apparent as the truth becomes clear. Though Anne Hathaway, Sonnet 130 and My Last Duchess are poems about marriage, rather than love between father and son, in many
ways the poets explore a similar idea. The relationships we are initially presented with do not tell the whole truth. Now you need to write your second paragraph. Focus on Anne Hathaway and My father thought it bloody queer, discussing how each poets use of language establishes a sense of the characters and their relationship. Make sure you use an example from the text and analyse.
Point Evidence Explanation When you bring in another poem, use a compare/contrast sentence opening such as: This is similar to Compare this with... Talk about how Armitage conveys the character of the father through speech, making sure you use examples for comparison.
The perceived relationship between Shakespeare and his wife was a loveless one, yet Duffy portrays a passionate and committed marriage. She clearly sets out her intention to dispel the myth by opening the poem with the epigraph which states Hathaway was simply left the second best bed. Shakespeare, previously characterised as a distant and almost cruel husband, is to be transformed through the words of his wife. Similarly, Armitage begins his poem with language that establishes the fathers character: bloody queer sounds like
the uneducated and homophobic language of the fathers generation. The rest of the stanza is largely comprised of direct speech which is more clearly intended to represent the fathers own words. The repeated rhyme of head, led and instead highlights the older mans criticism and his sons frustration at this apparent lack of understanding of what it means to be young. The language is simple and honest,
truthfully exploring the love, or lack of it, within the relationship. Now bring in Sonnet 130. Discuss how the loving relationship is presented here, focusing on how Shakespeares realistic stance might initially appear unkind. Compare it with the vivid, figurative language used by Duffy. Remember to use phrases which introduce textual references and back up your points: This is highlighted by the phrase The poet emphasises this idea by using the
repeated image of... Compare these revelations of the truth of love with Sonnet 130, where Shakespeare himself objects to the artificiality of traditional elaborate love poetry. The opening non-simile, which states his mistress eyes are nothing like the sun, is as surprising as the idea that Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway lived in a metaphorical spinning world that sent them giddy with passion. While Duffy employs literary and erotic imagery to demonstrate the height of their love, his touch a verb dancing in the centre of Hathaways noun,
Shakespeare specifically shuns literary conventions. His mistress has neither snow white skin nor rosy red cheeks. It would appear initially that he has little regard for the subject of the poem, and one could easily imagine him leaving her very little in his will, if indeed the poem is about his wife at all. Yet as the poem continues, our perception of the relationship changes. We learn that even though this womans voice is not a pleasing musical sound, and even more unpleasantly honest, she has breath that
reeks, she is a real woman and therefore his love for her is also real. The poet refuses to belie her with false compare. Though the poem is a sonnet, it does not conform in content to the Elizabethan tradition, and the woman is a believable person instead of an objectified work of beauty. You are now going to bring in My Last Duchess and will find more points of contrast than comparison. Try to focus on: The Dukes opinion of his wifes appearance How this is different from the attitudes
displayed in Sonnet 130 The level of communication between husband and wife Brownings poem appears to achieve the very opposite effect. Here the Duchess, spoken respectfully of to begin with, soon becomes far less pleasing in the eyes of the narrator. He does not approve of the beauty portrayed in the portrait, the spot of joy on her cheek should have been for his eyes alone but the Duchess apparently had a heart that was too soon made glad. Her happy and perhaps slightly flirtatious character, which might have made her similar to the realistic woman of Sonnet 130, is
here seen as a fault. The Duke, though unimpressed with his wifes behaviour, did not seek to communicate this to her, considering himself above stooping to blame this sort of trifling. There is no sense that he loved his wife or attempted to work at their relationship and he is far happier now she is dead and can be fully controlled as an objectified work of beauty. Now relate this back again to My father thought it, showing that you can compare the two effectively. Remember to always bring your argument back to focusing on the poem named in the question.
Use the starting sentence, In contrast, Armitages poem shows a father who has his sons best interests at heart. Try to consider the effects of the fathers attempts to communicate his worries to his son. In contrast, Armitages poem shows a father who has his sons best interests at heart. He also is clearly unimpressed by his sons actions, but this seems to be because he fears for his sons character rather than how it reflects on himself. Unlike the Duke, he voices his concern that his son
is too easilyled and the pierced hole becomes a metaphor for their relationship as it deteriorates into a sore and then a wound that weeps. As we journey with the son, we realise that actually his father loved him deeply; it was just that the son was too stubborn to take his advice. (Notice here how a fluent essay will not always follow the strict PEE structure. Comparison and analysis can freely incorporate quotations.) Finally, conclude your essay, bringing together all 4 poems and focusing clearly on the question again.
Consider: The relationships portrayed in each poem The type of love displayed The Duke dealt with his problem by calmly disposing of his wife, the chilling alliteration of all smiles stopped together reinforcing his complete lack of love. In both the sonnets we see loving relationships portrayed, Shakespeare offering a more truthful love and Duffy offering an alternative truth for Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Finally, in Armitages poem, we see a relationship where a
fathers love for his son drove a wedge between them and the son realises it, perhaps too late, when at the age of twenty-nine his fathers advice comes back to haunt him, breaking like a tear.
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