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Evaluate the Effectiveness of Theme Presentation in 'Singh Song!'

In this worksheet, students will evaluate themes in the poem 'Singh Song!' and consider the effect of words on the theme, tone and context of the poem.

'Evaluate the Effectiveness of Theme Presentation in 'Singh Song!'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Love and Relationships: 'Singh Song!'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to revise your skills in evaluating themes in 'Singh Song!'? 

 

(Hint: yes you do! And you've come to the right place to do it!)

 

 

Thought bubble

 

In this activity, you'll practise your evaluating skills concerning key themes in 'Singh Song!'. This activity will help you detect how the writer develops key themes and presents them effectively.

 

This is a mixed activity, and some of your answers will need to be manually marked. But don't worry ... it will be easier than you might think! The template evaluation below will include the basic steps of a well-considered evaluation. As you read it, notice how it:

 

 

1. Identifies the theme

 

2. Provides an example to prove that the theme IS a theme

 

3. Defines the effect

 

4. Links the theme to the poem as a whole

 

 

 

Now let's look at how our sample student handled these steps! 

 

 

Identifying the theme:

 

In 'Singh Song!', Nagra presents the theme of love.

 

 

Example: 

 

The repetition of the quote 'my bride' shows this theme.

 

 

Effect: 

 

This repetition emphasises the speaker's pride over being married to his wife. The possessive pronoun 'my' indicates that the speaker is quite happy to be married to his wife; she is his. Likewise the noun 'bride' signifies new marriage, suggesting the marriage is new and exciting.

 

 

Linking the theme to the poem as a whole: 

 

The fact that this theme is quite prevalent throughout the poem illustrates the idea of love as something universal and relatable. The fact that the speaker can't wait to be with his wife makes him quite fun and likeable, especially with the similes he uses to indicate his passion for making love with his wife!

 

 

Open book in library

 

Don't worry about making your evaluations super complex, and don't get too intimidated by the example up there. It's deliberately sophisticated so that you'll have a good model to work towards!

 

Hopefully (fingers crossed), this will make evaluating themes easier to understand. If it's still tricky, no worries. This activity will be filled with helpful hints and explanations that you can jot down as you progress. 

 

Remember ... take your time. It's not a race!

Let's evaluate the theme of duty/responsibility in stanza one. 

 

Choosing from the list of words and phrases below, fill in the three blanks in the answer area. Don't use quotation marks, and be careful with the slang/dialect: make sure you've spelled the phonetic words properly!

 

metaphor

hates

loves

married

"I run just one ov my daddy's shops"

"From 9 o'clock to 9 o'clock"

"But ven nobody in, I do di lock"

Now let's evaluate the theme of peace in the poem. Choosing from the list of words and phrases below, fill in the blank spaces.

Night landscape with moon

Don't worry about quotation marks when you're filling in the blanks.

 

"From 9 o'clock to 9 o'clock"

"I run just one ov my daddy's shops"

"Vee share in di chutney"

"Ven yoo shoppers are wrap up quiet"

"Late in di midnight hour"

"Responsibility"

"Culture",

Dialect"

Which of the two themes below are present in the second stanza?

Sexuality

Peace

Humour

Tenderness/love

Name one themes/motifs in the poem which can only be associated with the speaker's wife.

 

Women in traditional dress

 

Love

Tenderness

Culture

Inconventionality

Sexuality

Humour

Responsibilities

..."On di worst Indian shop on di whole Indian road"

 

How might this quote present the themes of duty and culture? Write the one correct number in the text box below.

 

1. The quote presents duty and culture as something negative and which the speaker rejects. Both duty and culture are rejected by the speaker in the poem, and he does not care about either.

 

2. The quote suggests that the speaker is rejecting his duty of maintaining his "daddy's" shop, showcased by the hyperbolic adjective "worst". This suggests that he is shirking his duties in order to spend time with his wife, which is wrong.

 

3. The quote suggests that the speaker is rejecting his duty of maintaining his "daddy's" shop, showcased by the hyperbolic adjective "worst". The repetition of 'Indian' reminds us of the cultural connotations associated with the shop. It also reminds us of Indian traditions, culture, and the difference in generational attitudes.

"Vee stare past ... at di beaches of di UK..."

 

Moon and stars against night sky

 

Tick two ways that this quote expresses the themes of peace and culture.

The quote suggests that the speaker is happy and content to sit with his wife. The fact that he is romanticising the UK expresses that he is both proud of his culture and proud to be living in the UK

The quote suggests that the speaker is quite peaceful because he is staring at the half-price signs

The quote suggests that the speaker prefers being in the UK than being in India

The quote suggests, through the pronoun 'vee', that the speaker is happy and peaceful as long as he is with his wife. The tone of the quote is quite contemplative and romantic

"My bride tiny eyes ov a gun and di tummy ov a teddy"

 

Evaluate the theme of unconventionality: 

 

1. ​In this quote

 

2. In the poem as a whole

 

There are three marks. Write more than three sentences in your answer.

 

Think about these in your answer:

 

What can be inferred from this quote by the language used?

What device is used in the quote?

The attitudes/tone of the SPEAKER.

"Above my head high heel tap di ground"

 

Red high-heels

 

Evaluate the theme of love in the quote.

 

Think about:

 

What the quote symbolises.

 

The significance of the high heels. What do they imply about culture/unconventionality/breaking stereotypes?

 

There are two marks for two sentences.

Pick one theme which remains constant/unchanging throughout the poem

 

1. Peace

 

2. Humour

 

3. Love

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme.

 

You get another one mark for writing why or how you believe this is the unchanging theme in the poem.

You're at the last question!

 

Pick one theme that does change in the poem:

 

1. Culture

 

2. Love

 

3. Peace

 

First, identify the correct theme. Second, give an example with two quotes showcasing how this theme changes.

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme and two marks for identifying the two quotes

 

Hint: look at the first three and last three stanzas to get a good idea of how this theme develops/changes.

  • Question 1

Let's evaluate the theme of duty/responsibility in stanza one. 

 

Choosing from the list of words and phrases below, fill in the three blanks in the answer area. Don't use quotation marks, and be careful with the slang/dialect: make sure you've spelled the phonetic words properly!

 

metaphor

hates

loves

married

"I run just one ov my daddy's shops"

"From 9 o'clock to 9 o'clock"

"But ven nobody in, I do di lock"

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The fact that the speaker really wants to spend time with his new bride is shown explicitly in the first stanza by the way he neglects his shopkeeper duties! Think about the idea of conflict of interest presented in the poem: the fact that the speaker's dad wants him to focus on running the shop, and the repetitiveness of "9'o clock", which signifies long and boring hours. In addition, the speaker, himself is more concerned with spending time with his bride. Maybe there's a generational clash in the poem, as well? Think about the dad's expectations of his son.
  • Question 2

Now let's evaluate the theme of peace in the poem. Choosing from the list of words and phrases below, fill in the blank spaces.

Night landscape with moon

Don't worry about quotation marks when you're filling in the blanks.

 

"From 9 o'clock to 9 o'clock"

"I run just one ov my daddy's shops"

"Vee share in di chutney"

"Ven yoo shoppers are wrap up quiet"

"Late in di midnight hour"

"Responsibility"

"Culture",

Dialect"

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the way that themes work in the poem: some themes match well with each other and some contrast with each other. When we consider the themes of responsibility and peace, we see that the poem has these two themes in contrast and conflict with each other. Let's look a little deeper: the speaker's dad, who wants him to work 12-hour shifts, represents the theme of duties/responsibilities. The speaker's wife represents the theme of love! Can you pick out a quote where the speaker's wife clashes with the speaker's dad? Hint: it's in stanza five!
  • Question 3

Which of the two themes below are present in the second stanza?

CORRECT ANSWER
Sexuality
Humour
EDDIE SAYS
Think about how the themes in the poem develop and evolve. Near the beginning, Nagra sets a scene of jaunty humour, through language devices which I hope you can detect! Near the end of the poem, however, a more serious, loving and tender tone is used.
  • Question 4

Name one themes/motifs in the poem which can only be associated with the speaker's wife.

 

Women in traditional dress

 

Love

Tenderness

Culture

Inconventionality

Sexuality

Humour

Responsibilities

CORRECT ANSWER
Unconventionality
EDDIE SAYS
Unconventionality is probably the one theme you can really associate with the wife. We've looked at the oddness of her "crew cut" and "effing", but look specifically at the "tartan sari" she wears: a combination of western (tartan) and eastern (sari) cultures. So, what really makes the bride unconventional? Think about the cross-sectioning of two cultures. The idea of the bride dipping into western and eastern traditions, incorporating the two into her personality and fashion sense. What does this suggest about attitudes towards culture? What do you think Nagra is trying to say about the mixing of two cultures? Do we get a sense that the bride is doing something right? Perhaps this is the reason that the speaker admires her so much, causing him to go against his "daddy" (who probably harbours more traditional values about duty/responsibility/culture). The speaker definitely thinks about his wife a lot throughout the poem. Symbolically, is he rejecting pure tradition and culture and accepting a more flexible incorporation of eastern and western culture?
  • Question 5

..."On di worst Indian shop on di whole Indian road"

 

How might this quote present the themes of duty and culture? Write the one correct number in the text box below.

 

1. The quote presents duty and culture as something negative and which the speaker rejects. Both duty and culture are rejected by the speaker in the poem, and he does not care about either.

 

2. The quote suggests that the speaker is rejecting his duty of maintaining his "daddy's" shop, showcased by the hyperbolic adjective "worst". This suggests that he is shirking his duties in order to spend time with his wife, which is wrong.

 

3. The quote suggests that the speaker is rejecting his duty of maintaining his "daddy's" shop, showcased by the hyperbolic adjective "worst". The repetition of 'Indian' reminds us of the cultural connotations associated with the shop. It also reminds us of Indian traditions, culture, and the difference in generational attitudes.

CORRECT ANSWER
3
EDDIE SAYS
This was a tricky question! Hopefully, however, it's a valuable one, which got you thinking a bit about the way that certain quotations represent ideas/attitudes/themes. It may also get you thinking about the way themes bounce off each other and how they're presented, not just from the speaker's point of view, but by other voices in the poem.
  • Question 6

"Vee stare past ... at di beaches of di UK..."

 

Moon and stars against night sky

 

Tick two ways that this quote expresses the themes of peace and culture.

CORRECT ANSWER
The quote suggests that the speaker is happy and content to sit with his wife. The fact that he is romanticising the UK expresses that he is both proud of his culture and proud to be living in the UK
The quote suggests, through the pronoun 'vee', that the speaker is happy and peaceful as long as he is with his wife. The tone of the quote is quite contemplative and romantic
EDDIE SAYS
Peace and culture are strongly illustrated here by the way the UK is romanticised, with the "moon" and "beaches", which illuminate the idea of the UK as a sanctuary. Yet, we are constantly reminded that the speaker's dialect ("brightey", "vee", "di") is Indian. It seems that the speaker is quite content being British Indian, and quite happy in his position of east meets west.
  • Question 7

"My bride tiny eyes ov a gun and di tummy ov a teddy"

 

Evaluate the theme of unconventionality: 

 

1. ​In this quote

 

2. In the poem as a whole

 

There are three marks. Write more than three sentences in your answer.

 

Think about these in your answer:

 

What can be inferred from this quote by the language used?

What device is used in the quote?

The attitudes/tone of the SPEAKER.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Every time you write an evaluation, try and make sure that you assess exactly what the writer is trying to convey, and how this links to the poem as a whole. In this case, Nagra's speaker is emphasising this wife's unconventionality through metaphors which present her as more humane, more varied and multi-dimensional than the traditional stereotypes of an Indian bride may suggest.
  • Question 8

"Above my head high heel tap di ground"

 

Red high-heels

 

Evaluate the theme of love in the quote.

 

Think about:

 

What the quote symbolises.

 

The significance of the high heels. What do they imply about culture/unconventionality/breaking stereotypes?

 

There are two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the symbolic use of the preposition "above". The wife is physically and symbolically on the speaker's mind, tapping away with her unconventional, atypical high heels.
  • Question 9

Pick one theme which remains constant/unchanging throughout the poem

 

1. Peace

 

2. Humour

 

3. Love

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme.

 

You get another one mark for writing why or how you believe this is the unchanging theme in the poem.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The fact that the theme of love is such a constant in the poem shows how important the relationship is. Think about the way love is presented: it is the speaker's priority and seems to be the one constant and universal factor in the poem. This theme doesn’t really change and is always in the background of the poem, influencing the couple. Perhaps Nagra is illustrating the universality of love, showing that it is a relatable thing despite background, culture and context.
  • Question 10

You're at the last question!

 

Pick one theme that does change in the poem:

 

1. Culture

 

2. Love

 

3. Peace

 

First, identify the correct theme. Second, give an example with two quotes showcasing how this theme changes.

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme and two marks for identifying the two quotes

 

Hint: look at the first three and last three stanzas to get a good idea of how this theme develops/changes.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the way that peace develops: it seems that the speaker is always on the search for time alone with his wife, aways in conflict with his duties and responsibilities. It is only at midnight, after his shift has ended, that he is able to get away from all his responsibilities and really indulge in time with his new bride. What kind of ideas/themes does peace, and the search for peace, link to? What do you think Nagra is illustrating about human nature/love? This activity took some effort, but it will pay off. Well done for sticking with it!
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