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Igcse English Literature Poem Essay Examples

5054 words - 21 pages

IGCSE English Literature Paper 3: Poetry Coursework
Exemplars and Commentaries

How is the theme of Remembrance explored in the poems ‘Piano’, ‘Poem at 39’”, ‘Remember’ and three other poems? The theme of remembrance is something constantly explored in literature. It is truly a powerful force. It can bestow courage, feelings of warmth, or even overwhelm you. The poems ‘Piano’, ‘Poem at 39’ and ‘Remember’ are no exception to this. In ‘Piano’, the persona gets reminded by music of his childhood and weeps at his loss of it. Another loved and admired mother is described in ‘To My Mother’ by George Barker. In ‘Poem at 39’, the persona remembers her father and all the good things ...view middle of the document...

With his choice of diction he brings out the maximum effect of his poem. The words that he chooses to use are very specific, even if he chose a word with the same meaning, it wouldn’t be quite as effective in the poem. An example would be the phrase “vista of years”. Lawrence could have used another phrase such as “train of thought” or “going back”. However the other two phrases I mentioned are rather broad, as they could be memories of all sorts, ranging from memories of joy and bliss to those of pain and suffering. “In spite of the insidious mastery of song” is also a clear choice of diction as there is a hint of betrayal. It is as if the song is enticing him to remember the good old times, those “Sunday evenings at home” in the “cozy parlour”. Finally Lawrence uses a semantic field of music. This is indicated with the words “piano” and “appassionato”. Perhaps it was to add greater impact on the reader. For example, instead of loud, he uses “appassionato”. For me as a reader I feel a greater impact of “appassionato” than loud due to the fact that it is related to music and it is more descriptive. The word “appassionato” adds to the fact that to the persona music doesn’t matter any more and that he’d rather be with his mother. The singer is trying “in vain” so, no matter how hard she tries, or how much passion she puts in it, it is nothing compared to the bliss of the persona’s memories. In the literary sense, Lawrence uses a range of techniques as well. As an observer, I would say his strongest point is probably his usage of sound related devices, particularly sibilance. Firstly there is the woman singing to him “Softly, in the dusk”. The “s” sounds similar to that of a whisper. By using sibilance, Lawrence has managed to set up an atmosphere for the poem. A soft, if not alluring, atmosphere. However, his use of sibilance is not just limited to generating a gentle effect. He uses sibilance in the phrase “In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song”. Although it still generates an “s”

sound, it adds a sinister implication and harshness to the line. Lawrence also uses some onomatopoeia. The phrase “tinkling strings” adds to the distance of his “vista of memories” as “tinkling” is a rather faint sound. It shows that the persona has experienced rather a lot in life and that Lawrence is writing it from the point of view of a middle-aged man. Finally. I would like to go into the symbolism of the poem. Virtually everyone can relate to it, as everybody has something in their childhood that they remember. Like the persona, they see the “glamour” of the past and wish to be in it again. Also, when the persona’s “manhood is cast”, it shows that in his subconscious his childhood and adulthood are one, as he weeps “like a child for the past”. In this there is a duality and a contrast. Another poet who remembers his mother, though not from such a distance in the past, is George Barker in his poem ‘To My Mother’. His mother is still alive but he...

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