Want to revise how key themes develop in 'Winter Swans'?
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:
This activity is designed so that you not only identify these key themes and ideas in the poem according to the language Sheers uses, but explore 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.