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Compare and Evaluate the Effectiveness and Presentation of Ideas in 'Winter Swans' and Other Poems

In this worksheet, students will be able to practise their comparison and evaluation skills between, 'Winter Swans' and other poems.

'Compare and Evaluate the Effectiveness and Presentation of Ideas in 'Winter Swans' and Other Poems' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Love and Relationships: 'Winter Swans'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to practise your comparative and evaluation skills between 'Winter Swans' and other poems in the 'Love and Relationships' cluster?

 

Thought bubble

 

Well, you've come to the right place, because this activity will help you learn how to compare and evaluate ideas, attitudes and themes at the same time. It requires a bit of multitasking, but you can do it!

 

It'll take some good deduction skills, as well as an understanding of the themes and ideas you want to discuss. You need to think about how the poet presents ideas differently/similarly in both poems. 

 

1. Make your point!

 

 In 'Winter Swans', Sheers uses natural imagery to present nature as a direct influence on the couple's romantic relationship. The quote, "I noticed our hands [...] swum the distance between us" uses reverse personification to illustrate the swans' impact in unifying the couple.

 

2. Link to another poem!

 

Similarly, in 'Neutral Tones', Hardy also uses natural imagery to present the status of the couple. The quote "your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree..." really shows the impact that nature has on the speaker's attitudes towards love. The explicit adjective 'God-curst' vilifies the sun (makes the sun a villain). The fact that the speaker includes this in a tripartite (gang of three) list, which starts with "your face", shows his negative relationship with nature and his ex-lover.

 

3. Compare!

 

Unlike 'Winter Swans', where natural imagery is used to show the direct influence of nature on unifying the couple, reinforcing their love, 'Neutral Tones' does the opposite. It uses natural imagery to portray the separation of two lovers. 

 

4. Evaluate

 

While Sheers looks at nature as something which unifies and influences, Hardy views nature as something separating and distancing.

 

 

A tip: it'll help to jot down any new or helpful advice you get given in this activity!

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' and 'Sonnet 29'

 

Which language feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the correct number.

1. Similes

2. Continuous verbs

3. Connectives

4. Caesura

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' with 'Walking Away'

 

Which language feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the correct number.

 

1. Personification

2. Continuous verbs

3. Possessive pronouns

4. Present tense verbs

 

Now lets think about comparing 'Winter Swans' with 'When We Two Parted'.

 

Which feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the correct number.

 

1. Rhetorical questions

2. The theme of sadness and regret

3. Pathetic fallacy

4. Theme of unity

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Love's Philosophy'

 

 

Which feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the two correct numbers.

 

1. Rhyme

2. Contrast

3. Personification

4. Alliteration

5. Repetition​

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Neutral Tones'

 

 

Which idea would you use to compare these two poems?

 ​

The idea that nature and love are beautiful

The idea that nature has a positive effect on love

The idea that nature influences love, whether it's positive or negative

The idea that nature reflects the speaker's attitudes towards love, whether positive or negative

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Neutral Tones' and 'Walking Away'.

 

 

What themes, language/structural/form features and ideas does each poem have?

 

Hint: in the column for changing attitudes take note that this means attitudes which change WITHIN the poem.

 

Some themes are shared between the three poems.

 'Winter Swans''Neutral Tones''Walking Away'
Metaphor
Simile
Changing attitudes
Same attitudes
Romantic love
Consistent theme of separation
Unity
Love between parent and child
Caesura
Enjambment

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Follower'.

 

What themes, language/structural/form features and ideas does each poem have?

 

Some of these are shared between the two poems.

 Changing attitudesContinuous verbsEnjambmentRomantic relationshipImagery of natureSimileNature as an influence
'Winter Swans'
'Follower'

Pick one poem, out of the eight options below, that you think would be best to compare 'Winter Swans' to according to the theme.

 

 

Consider the idea: unity.

 

'Follower'

'Before You Were Mine'

'When We Two Parted'

'Porphyria's Lover'

'Neutral Tones'

'Farmer's Bride'

'Sonnet 29'

'Walking Away'

How do 'Winter Swans' and 'Singh Song!' present the theme of peace?

 

 

Write two sentences on how the theme of peace is presented similarly. Make sure to include your evidence (two marks).

 

How do 'Winter Swans' and 'Neutral Tones' present the theme of separation?

 

 

Write two sentences on how the theme is presented similarly (think about the devices both poems use). Make sure to include your evidence (2 marks).

 

Then, write two sentences on how the theme is presented differently. Make sure to include your evidence (2 marks).

  • Question 1

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' and 'Sonnet 29'

 

Which language feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the correct number.

1. Similes

2. Continuous verbs

3. Connectives

4. Caesura

CORRECT ANSWER
1
EDDIE SAYS
Both poems employ simile in order to portray love as instinctive and natural, just like the natural world! Do you think the use of simile presents the same attitudes in both poems? Or perhaps, are there any subtle differences? Consider the fact that 'Winter Swans' is more plot-based; the couple go for a walk and witness something which triggers a change in their relationship. On the other hand, 'Sonnet 29' is a dramatic monologue (single voice). The speaker is thinking about the love that she has for her subject, using similes to compare her passions to nature. Do themes/ideas change in the poem? Hint: not really!
  • Question 2

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' with 'Walking Away'

 

Which language feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the correct number.

 

1. Personification

2. Continuous verbs

3. Possessive pronouns

4. Present tense verbs

 

CORRECT ANSWER
2
EDDIE SAYS
The use of continuous verbs in both poems is deliberate and gives a sense of ongoingness. In 'Winter Swans', we have continuous verbs used to convey influence and stability. The poem is told in the past tense, but the impact of the events will affect the present and the future. The same happens in 'Walking Away'. Although the poem is told in the past tense, the impact of the separation has a continuous, or ongoing, influence on the speaker.
  • Question 3

Now lets think about comparing 'Winter Swans' with 'When We Two Parted'.

 

Which feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the correct number.

 

1. Rhetorical questions

2. The theme of sadness and regret

3. Pathetic fallacy

4. Theme of unity

CORRECT ANSWER
3
EDDIE SAYS
Pathetic fallacy is the correct one here! The only device for which it makes sense to compare the two poems with. Think about the way the poems use pathetic fallacy to convey attitudes and tone. In 'Winter Swans', the pathetic fallacy changes as the couple reconcile, right? What about in 'When We Two Parted'? Does the pathetic fallacy change with the tone and mood? Or does it remain the same- chilly and bleak, echoing the speaker's regret and mournfulness?
  • Question 4

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Love's Philosophy'

 

 

Which feature would make the most sense to compare the two poems with? Write the two correct numbers.

 

1. Rhyme

2. Contrast

3. Personification

4. Alliteration

5. Repetition​

CORRECT ANSWER
2
3
EDDIE SAYS
It's getting a bit harder, but it's okay because there are two correct answers here! So hopefully you've looked hard at the two poems and deduced that they both use contrast and personification (of the natural world) the most effectively. Contrast is used in both poems to relay different ideas. In 'Love's Philosophy', with its cheeky and sexual tone, the contrast heightens the fact that nature is balanced. You have 'sunlight/moonbeam' and 'single/mingle' which work to convey the persuasive, yin/yang qualities within nature. On the other hand, 'Winter Swans' uses contrast - 'dark/white', 'righting/rough' - to convey a sense of change in tone, from sad to happy, as the couple progress from separate to unified. The personification of nature is also used in both poems! Think about the effect of personification; usually this device is used to showcase the power of an inanimate object, it's capacity to mimic humanity and reflect mood or emotion. Do you think both poems portray the natural world as powerful and influential? Yep, they both do!
  • Question 5

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Neutral Tones'

 

 

Which idea would you use to compare these two poems?

 ​

CORRECT ANSWER
The idea that nature reflects the speaker's attitudes towards love, whether positive or negative
EDDIE SAYS
Both poems use the natural world to reflect the speaker's attitude towards love. Now, this was a tricky question, because we've discussed the way 'Winter Swans' uses nature as an influence and a reflection of the speaker's attitudes. However, remember that we need to consider both poems; Hardy's poem definitely doesn't see nature as much of an influence, as there's no real change of attitude within the poem. So, for both poems, the natural world reflects love. Once you've established this, you can go on to discuss how the natural world reflects love and in what kind of ways love is presented.
  • Question 6

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Neutral Tones' and 'Walking Away'.

 

 

What themes, language/structural/form features and ideas does each poem have?

 

Hint: in the column for changing attitudes take note that this means attitudes which change WITHIN the poem.

 

Some themes are shared between the three poems.

CORRECT ANSWER
 'Winter Swans''Neutral Tones''Walking Away'
Metaphor
Simile
Changing attitudes
Same attitudes
Romantic love
Consistent theme of separation
Unity
Love between parent and child
Caesura
Enjambment
EDDIE SAYS
Hopefully, this has got you to look at shared ideas and devices across the three poems! Jot down any inspirations you find. Think about how these ideas/devices convey certain themes/attitudes, too.
  • Question 7

Think about comparing 'Winter Swans' to 'Follower'.

 

What themes, language/structural/form features and ideas does each poem have?

 

Some of these are shared between the two poems.

CORRECT ANSWER
 Changing attitudesContinuous verbsEnjambmentRomantic relationshipImagery of natureSimileNature as an influence
'Winter Swans'
'Follower'
EDDIE SAYS
Hopefully, this table has helped you spot shared ideas and devices across the three poems! Jot down any new links you discover and find quotes to support them.
  • Question 8

Pick one poem, out of the eight options below, that you think would be best to compare 'Winter Swans' to according to the theme.

 

 

Consider the idea: unity.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'Sonnet 29'
EDDIE SAYS
Both 'Sonnet 29' and 'Winter Swans' present the idea of unity in romantic relationships, and both use natural imagery to do it. Success!
  • Question 9

How do 'Winter Swans' and 'Singh Song!' present the theme of peace?

 

 

Write two sentences on how the theme of peace is presented similarly. Make sure to include your evidence (two marks).

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
With questions like these, try and think as logically as possible. how are the two themes presented and what devices do the writers use to get the themes across? So, thinking about the subject's attitudes, the speaker's attitudes and what's actually going on in the poem (which is more straight forward than you might think) is a great idea. Then, think about how these attitudes are presented. Is it through passionate adjectives, symbolism/metaphor, maybe short sentences? Lastly, you've detailed out all the important bits, now structure your answer in a simple paragraph. I.e Sheers' poem presents the theme of (x) as (x), Nagra's poem presents the theme of (x). In Sheers, this is done by (x), which presents the theme of (x) as (x). On the other hand, Nagra uses (x) to present the theme of (x) as (x).
  • Question 10

How do 'Winter Swans' and 'Neutral Tones' present the theme of separation?

 

 

Write two sentences on how the theme is presented similarly (think about the devices both poems use). Make sure to include your evidence (2 marks).

 

Then, write two sentences on how the theme is presented differently. Make sure to include your evidence (2 marks).

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
With questions like these, try and think as logically as possible. How are the two themes presented, and what devices do the writers use to get the themes across? So, thinking about the subject's attitudes, the speaker's attitudes and what's actually going on in the poem (easier done than you might think) is a great idea. Then, think about how these attitudes are presented. Is it through passionate adjectives, symbolism/metaphor, maybe short sentences? Lastly, you've detailed out all the important bits. Now structure your answer in a simple paragraph. I.e Where Sheers' poem presented the theme of (x) as (x), Hardy's poem presents the theme of (x). In Sheers, this is done through (x), which conveys the theme of (x) as (x). On the other hand, Hardy uses (x) to present the theme of (x) as (x). Incredible focus, this was not an easy activity but your consistency will be rewarded in your exam.
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