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Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Key Themes in 'The Emigree' by Carol Rumens

In this worksheet, students will examine how the key themes are presented, and evaluate their effectiveness, in the poem 'The Emigree' by Carol Rumens.

'Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Key Themes in 'The Emigree' by Carol Rumens' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'The Emigree'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'The Emigree' by Carol Rumens, which can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your Anthology.

 

 

suitcase

 

 

In this poem, the speaker is recalling a place she left many years ago (The place she was born in). She does not remember details, but the place has left a very strong impression with fond memories. She also suggests that she feels threatened in her new city.

 

Emigrants are people who have left the country of their birth to settle elsewhere in the world. The spelling of the word Rumens chooses - "émigrée" - is a feminine form and suggests the speaker of the poem is a woman.

 

The poem focuses on the main themes of living in exile, the passage of time, migration and light.

 

In the following questions, you will be asked about how the poet presents these key themes and evaluate their effectiveness.

 

aeroplane

 

In order to explore how the themes develop in 'The Emigree', we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem and match the questions to the answers below.

Column A

Column B

When did the narrator leave her home country?
It is at war and ruled by tyrants
What is wrong with the country she left behind?
She looks back on it with affection and feels bad ...
Why can't the narrator go back to her country?
It is at war and she has no passport
How does the narrator feel about her country?
When she was a child

Now that you have read the poem 'The Emigree', which summary do you think best explains the poem?

 

The poem is about the happiness that people feel when they get to move to a new country

The poem discusses the sadness of people who are forced to leave their home countries due to conflict

The poem describes the differences between the landscape and cultures of different countries

A main theme of the poem is living in exile (to live away from your home, often by force).

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"There’s no way back at all".

 

 

globe

 

 

What is the effect of this quotation? 

 

This quotation creates the impression that the narrator does not want to return to her country

This makes the reader feel sympathy for the people who are trapped in their home country

This quotation makes the reader feel sympathy for the narrator as she wants to return but is not allowed

The theme of living in exile is again used when the narrator says:

 

"I left it as a child but my memory of it is sunlight-clear"

 

What is the effect of this quotation and theme?

 

It creates the impression that her memories of childhood are fading away

It makes the reader feel sympathy for the children who cannot leave the country

It creates sympathy for the narrator, as it emphasises how long she has been away and how she still remembers

It makes the reader feel angry that the narrator will not return to her home country

The theme of living in exile is closely linked to another theme - the passage of time.

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"As time rolls its tanks"

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

This creates this impression that the tanks are ruining her childhood memories

This creates the impression that even though time has passed, her memories are just as vivid

This creates the impression that the narrator wishes that the tanks would leave her country

This creates the impression that her country is the same, even though there is a war going on

The theme of the passage of time is also explained in the following quotation:

 

"I never saw it in that November"

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

It creates the impression that her memories of childhood are fading away

It creates the impression that she cannot remember what happened during that time

It creates the impression that she remembers everything, even the exact month, even though time has passed

The theme of migration is also presented in the poem.

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree',

 

"That child’s vocabulary I carried here"

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

It creates the impression that her memories of childhood are fading away

It creates the impression that the narrator cannot remember the language she knew as a child

It creates the impression that the language that the narrator knew as a child, was not useful to her when she left the country

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"That child’s vocabulary I carried here
like a hollow doll"

 

 

doll

 

Can you evaluate the effect of this quotation on the reader?
 
 
For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a POINT, give an EXAMPLE, EXPLAIN with deeper detail.

Another theme running throughout the poem is light and shade.

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"The white streets of that city, the graceful slopes
glow even clearer as time rolls its tanks"

 

 

beautiful country

 

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

It creates a positive impression of her home country

It creates an impression that everything was easy to see in her home country

It creates the impression that there is too much darkness in her home country now

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree',

 

"My shadow falls as evidence of sunlight"

 

 

Forrest at night

 

​Can you evaluate the effect of this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain in deeper detail.

 

  • Question 1

aeroplane

 

In order to explore how the themes develop in 'The Emigree', we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem and match the questions to the answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

When did the narrator leave her h...
When she was a child
What is wrong with the country sh...
It is at war and ruled by tyrants
Why can't the narrator go back to...
It is at war and she has no passp...
How does the narrator feel about ...
She looks back on it with affecti...
EDDIE SAYS
This poem has a deep sense of conflict in terms of emotions and memory, the poet is torn between her childhood memory which is of a country she loved and her adult understanding of what her country is like now. She cannot believe that her county is now a terrible place full of war and destruction.
  • Question 2

Now that you have read the poem 'The Emigree', which summary do you think best explains the poem?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poem discusses the sadness of people who are forced to leave their home countries due to conflict
EDDIE SAYS
The poem 'The Emigree' discusses the issue of emigration and how a person might feel when they are forced to leave their home country. There is a great sadness in the poem when the narrator describes how she loves and misses the place where she grew up.
  • Question 3

A main theme of the poem is living in exile (to live away from your home, often by force).

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"There’s no way back at all".

 

 

globe

 

 

What is the effect of this quotation? 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
This quotation makes the reader feel sympathy for the narrator as she wants to return but is not allowed
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "There's no way back at all" tells the reader that the narrator is living in exile. Although we are given the impression that she loves her country and would love to go back, she says there is "no way". This suggests that the new rulers of the country would not allow her which creates sympathy for the narrator.
  • Question 4

The theme of living in exile is again used when the narrator says:

 

"I left it as a child but my memory of it is sunlight-clear"

 

What is the effect of this quotation and theme?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates sympathy for the narrator, as it emphasises how long she has been away and how she still remembers
EDDIE SAYS
The narrator tells the reader that "I left it as a child but my memory of it is sunlight-clear" which tells us that she has been living in exile since she was a child. Despite this, her memories of her country are extremely clear. This creates sympathy in the reader as it is clear that the narrator has been kept from her country for a long time yet remembers everything about it.
  • Question 5

The theme of living in exile is closely linked to another theme - the passage of time.

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"As time rolls its tanks"

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
This creates the impression that even though time has passed, her memories are just as vivid
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "As time rolls its tanks" supports the theme of time as it personifies time, making it seem like it is a menacing person that "rolls" its tanks. It creates the effect that nothing will change the narrator's memories of her home country, not even the tanks that are destroying it.
  • Question 6

The theme of the passage of time is also explained in the following quotation:

 

"I never saw it in that November"

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the impression that she remembers everything, even the exact month, even though time has passed
EDDIE SAYS
In this quotation, the word "November" is a reference to the time that has passed since the narrator had to leave her home country. The fact that she refers to it as "that" November, tells the reader that this was an important time in her life which she remembers vividly - the month will always be significant to her.
  • Question 7

The theme of migration is also presented in the poem.

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree',

 

"That child’s vocabulary I carried here"

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the impression that the language that the narrator knew as a child, was not useful to her when she left the country
EDDIE SAYS
The narrator creates the impression that everything that she knew as a child has been lost and she feels sadness over this. Not only has the narrator lost her country and culture, but she has also lost the language that she innocently brought with her from that country.
  • Question 8

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"That child’s vocabulary I carried here
like a hollow doll"

 

 

doll

 

Can you evaluate the effect of this quotation on the reader?
 
 
For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a POINT, give an EXAMPLE, EXPLAIN with deeper detail.
CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: The narrator gives an insight into the difficulty that she had as a child moving to a different country. She uses the simile "like a hollow doll" to describe how she felt in a country where her language no longer meant anything. The image of her carrying a doll evokes sympathy in the reader as it is associated with childlike innocence. The word "hollow" is used to describe how she felt that her language was "empty" and didn't mean anything in her new country.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one point (AQA recommends that the a student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 6.
In order to gain full marks on this question the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.
You should find a point, an example and an explanation.
The paragraph should include a quotation, language technique and some evaluation.

  • Question 9

Another theme running throughout the poem is light and shade.

 

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree':

 

"The white streets of that city, the graceful slopes
glow even clearer as time rolls its tanks"

 

 

beautiful country

 

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates a positive impression of her home country
EDDIE SAYS
The poet uses the word "white" as it symbolises innocence and purity, which is how she views her country. She also uses the word "glow" to suggest that her country is a light in a world of darkness. The effect of this is to describe to the reader how her country is a beautiful place and will always be full of light in her memory.
  • Question 10

Read the following quotation from 'The Emigree',

 

"My shadow falls as evidence of sunlight"

 

 

Forrest at night

 

​Can you evaluate the effect of this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain in deeper detail.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: Throughout the poem, the narrator uses the imagery of light and shadow to show how she feels about her home country and the one she lives in now. She uses the oxymoron "My shadow falls as evidence of sunlight" to convey her conflicting feelings. This creates the impression that her life is much worse now because she knows what it is to be happy (in her home country).

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one point (AQA recommends that the student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 6.
In order to gain full marks on this question the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.
You should find a point, an example and an explanation.
The paragraph should include a quotation, language technique and some evaluation.

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