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Comparing and Evaluating the Effectiveness and Presentation of ideas in 'Climbing My Grandfather'

In this worksheet, students will be able to practise their comparison and evaluation skills, between 'Climbing My Grandfather' and other poems in the 'Love and Relationships' cluster. This activity is a mixed activity and requires some manual marking near the end. The marking criteria will be clearly detailed for your ease.

'Comparing and Evaluating the Effectiveness and Presentation of ideas in 'Climbing My Grandfather'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Love and Relationships: 'Climbing My Grandfather'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to practice your comparative and evaluation skills between 'Climbing My Grandfather' 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 to compare and evaluate ideas, attitudes and themes - all at the same time. It's just a bit of multitasking and 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 'Climbing My Grandfather', Waterhouse presents the relationship between the speaker and his grandfather through the extended metaphor of the speaker climbing his grandfather like a mountain. The quote "traverse along his belt to an earth-stained hand" emphasises a close connection with nature, through the symbolic mountain climbing, but also through the adjective "earth-stained", which suggests that the grandfather also had a close relationship with nature. 

 

2. Link to another poem!

 

Similarly, in 'Sonnet 29', the extended metaphor which alludes to natural is used to symbolise the close relationship between the speaker and her lover. Barrett Browning writes "my thoughts do twine and bud about thee", symbolically linking her thoughts with the twining and budding of vines. Natural imagery is used to portray the sexual relationship between speaker and her lover as natural and instinctive.

 

3. Compare!

 

Both poems present the close connection between emotions and nature. Nature is used to enhance and add depth to the relationships. However, where 'Sonnet 29' uses nature to symbolise the speaker's thoughts, 'Climbing My Grandfather' uses nature to represent the developing closeness between speaker and grandfather. 

 

4. Evaluate

 

So, where 'Sonner 29' presents nature through the speaker's thoughts and feelings, 'Climbing My Grandfather' uses nature to represent the emotional bond between the grandfather and speaker. 

 

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

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' with 'Sonnet 29'.

 

 

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

 

1. Metaphors

2. Alliteration

3. Stanza length

4. Imagery

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' with 'Neutral Tones'.

 

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

 

1. Repetition

2. Personification

3. Motif of love

4. Motif of nature

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Mother, Any Distance'.

 

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

 

1. Rhetorical questions

2. Familial love

3. Death/grief

4. Alliteration

 

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Mother, Any Distance'.

 

 

Which features would make the most sense to compare the two poems with?

 

Write down the correct two numbers.

 

1. Contrast

2. Motif of familial love

3. Similes/metaphors 

4. Rhetorical questions

5. Motif of sexuality/femininity

1

2

3

4

5

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' with 'Follower'.

 

Which idea would you use to compare these two poems?

 

The idea that love conquers all

The idea that family is important

The idea that both speakers spend most of the poem looking up the the subject i.e: father/grandfather

The idea that both speakers spend most of the poem trying to get to know the subject better but can't

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Eden Rock' and 'Love's Philosophy'.

 

 

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

 

Some themes are shared between the three poems.

 'Climbing My Grandfather''Eden Rock''Love's Philosophy'
Metaphor
Simile
Romantic love
Unity
Familial love
Caesura
Motif of nature

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Porphyria's Lover'.

 

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

 

Some of these are shared between the two poems.

 UnityRomanceBitternessMotif of natureMotif of deathMotif of possessivenessAdjectivesSimiles of naturePossessive pronouns
'Climbing My Grandfather'
'Porphyria's Lover'

Pick one poem, out of the 8 options below, that you think would be best to compare 'Climbing My Grandfather' to according to the theme.

 

 

Consider the idea: familial love and unity

 

'Follower'

'Love's Philosophy'

'When We Two Parted'

'Porphyria's Lover'

'Neutral Tones'

'Farmer's Bride'

'Sonnet 29'

'Eden Rock'

How do 'Climbing My Grandfather' and 'Winter Swans' present the idea of unity?

 

Think about at which point in the poem the themes are presented.

 

Two sentences for how the theme is presented similarly. Make sure to include your evidence (two marks).

 

How do 'Climbing My Grandfather' and 'Before You Were Mine' present the theme of closeness?

 

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

 

Two sentences for how the theme is presented differently. Make sure to include your evidence (two marks).

  • Question 1

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' with 'Sonnet 29'.

 

 

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

 

1. Metaphors

2. Alliteration

3. Stanza length

4. Imagery

CORRECT ANSWER
1
4
EDDIE SAYS
Both poems use metaphors, but if you wrote down number four for imagery, you'd also be correct! Look at the way that extended metaphor is used throughout both poems - nature plays a heavy part in both poems in order to emphasise and add depth to a relationship.
  • Question 2

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' with 'Neutral Tones'.

 

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

 

1. Repetition

2. Personification

3. Motif of love

4. Motif of nature

CORRECT ANSWER
4
EDDIE SAYS
The motif of nature is present in both poems. But that's an easy enough thing to pick up on! So, look deeper. How does the motif of nature reflect the relationship in both poems, differently and similarly? In 'Neutral Tones' the motif is of nature dying - we have "God-curst sun", "greyish leaves", "ash" and "grey" - check out the lack of vivid colours and the way Hardy describes nature as something cursed or hopeless. In comparison, the way 'Climbing' portrays nature is through the extended metaphor of mountain climbing. Nature is something more uplifting and rewarding. In 'Climbing', nature doesn't really reflect the nature of the relationship, rather it represents the grandfather.
  • Question 3

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Mother, Any Distance'.

 

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

 

1. Rhetorical questions

2. Familial love

3. Death/grief

4. Alliteration

 

CORRECT ANSWER
2
EDDIE SAYS
Both poems show familial love- but quite differently! Where 'Climbing' shows the speaker try to get closer to the grandfather, through extended metaphor and imagery, 'Mother, Any Distance' presents the separation of the son and mother.
  • Question 4

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Mother, Any Distance'.

 

 

Which features would make the most sense to compare the two poems with?

 

Write down the correct two numbers.

 

1. Contrast

2. Motif of familial love

3. Similes/metaphors 

4. Rhetorical questions

5. Motif of sexuality/femininity

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 the motif of familial love and similes/metaphors! Think about the effect of similes/metaphors in both poems.
  • Question 5

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' with 'Follower'.

 

Which idea would you use to compare these two poems?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The idea that both speakers spend most of the poem looking up the the subject i.e: father/grandfather
EDDIE SAYS
Both poems have a similar idolising aspect to them. Both poems also really connect by using themes of childhood, as both speakers are (supposedly) children who idolise the subject. In 'Follower', this idolisation takes a turn, when, in the last stanza, it becomes clear that the speaker is an adult now, who thinks of his father as a bit of a nuisance (which is so sad!). In 'Climbing', there's a more positive side to this idolisation- it becomes a challenge/adventure that the speaker undergoes in understanding his grandfather isn't so imposing - he has a good heart underneath his slightly intimidating, challenging exterior!
  • Question 6

Think about comparing 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Eden Rock' and 'Love's Philosophy'.

 

 

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

 

Some themes are shared between the three poems.

CORRECT ANSWER
 'Climbing My Grandfather''Eden Rock''Love's Philosophy'
Metaphor
Simile
Romantic love
Unity
Familial love
Caesura
Motif of nature
EDDIE SAYS
Hopefully this has got you to look at shared ideas and devices across the 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 'Climbing My Grandfather' to 'Porphyria's Lover'.

 

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

 

Some of these are shared between the two poems.

CORRECT ANSWER
 UnityRomanceBitternessMotif of natureMotif of deathMotif of possessivenessAdjectivesSimiles of naturePossessive pronouns
'Climbing My Grandfather'
'Porphyria's Lover'
EDDIE SAYS
Just a reminder: a motif is a theme which occurs in a poem, consistently. Usually, a semantic field (a bunch of words which link to one theme) showcases that there is a motif in the poem.
  • Question 8

Pick one poem, out of the 8 options below, that you think would be best to compare 'Climbing My Grandfather' to according to the theme.

 

 

Consider the idea: familial love and unity

 

CORRECT ANSWER
'Eden Rock'
EDDIE SAYS
'Eden Rock' is the only poem which talks about familial love, admiration and unity all in one! So, it would probably be best to compare it with 'Climbing My Grandfather'! Consider the way the themes are presented in both poems - are there any different ways the themes are presented?
  • Question 9

How do 'Climbing My Grandfather' and 'Winter Swans' present the idea of unity?

 

Think about at which point in the poem the themes are presented.

 

Two sentences for how the theme 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 (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 Waterhouse's poem presents the theme of (x) as (x), Sheers' 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, Waterhouse uses (x) to present the theme of (x) as (x).
  • Question 10

How do 'Climbing My Grandfather' and 'Before You Were Mine' present the theme of closeness?

 

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

 

Two sentences for how the theme is presented differently. 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 (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 Waterhouse's poem presented the theme of (x) as (x), Duffy's poem presents the theme of (x). In Duffy, this is done by (x) which presents the theme of (x) as (x). On the other hand, Waterhouse uses (x) to present the theme of (x) as (x). Practice makes perfect - that's another activity done!
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