Loading please wait

The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Try an activity or get started for free

Explore How Themes Develop in 'Winter Swans'

In this worksheet, students will evaluate how key themes develop in 'Winter Swans' develop. Students will also look at how consistent key themes are in the poem, how they change and why.

'Explore How Themes Develop in 'Winter Swans'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Love and Relationships: 'Winter Swans'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

Want to revise how key themes develop in 'Winter Swans'?


Thought bubble


This activity will help you understand how Sheers' language choice and tone develop key themes in the poem. In other words, what is the effect of these key themes on the reader? What exactly is Sheers trying to tell the reader about these key themes? First, let's identify the main themes in the poem:




Distance/Overcoming Distance

Separation/Overcoming Separation






This activity is designed to help you identify key themes and ideas according to the language Sheers uses, as well as exploring how these themes develop in the poem. So how does Sheers develop one of these themes in his poem?



Here's an example of an evaluation on the theme of the weather in the poem:


Sheers uses the theme of the weather to illustrate the changing nature of the main couple's relationship. When the couple are distant, the weather is gloomy and dull, implied by the "two days of rain" and reference to "the clouds". However, after witnessing the swans, which inspires the couple to overcome their distance, the weather changes to 'afternoon light', implying brightness. There is also a simile, in stanza four, which refers to the swans as "boats" which right "in rough weather". This rough weather could symbolise rough times and the boats "righting" could symbolise the couple's relationship fixing itself, despite external threat.


If you want to make this activity more of a revision exercise, then jot these themes down. If you want to use this activity to test yourself, then go ahead and try to memorise these key themes/motifs. 


It's up to you how you want to use this activity!



Remember, it's not a race. So take your time with each step! You'll make great progress.


You should always refer to your own text when working through these examples.  These quotations are for reference only.



What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started

Try an activity or get started for free

  • National Tutoring Awards 2023 Shortlisted / Parents
    National Tutoring Awards 2023 Shortlisted
  • Private-Tutoring-WINNER-EducationInvestor-Awards / Parents
    Winner - Private Tutoring
  • Bett Awards Finalist / Parents
  • Winner - Best for Home Learning / Parents
    Winner - Best for Home Learning / Parents