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Analyse Language in 'The Prelude'

In this worksheet, students will be able to exercise their analysis of language in an extract from 'The Prelude' by William Wordsworth.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to practise your language analysis in 'Extract from 'The Prelude'?

 

Thought bubble

 

Good! You've come to the right place. All you need to do is refer to the poem Extract from 'The Prelude' in your anthology! 

 

To quickly recap: Written by William Wordsworth, the speaker (who is Wordsworth, himself) describes his relationship with nature, depicting how it has changed over the years. A past experience is described where the speaker has a sublime experience, which then causes the speaker's opinion on nature to change. In the case of this poem, Wordsworth's sublime experience is linked to fear and awe over nature. The poem depicts a life-changing moment for Wordsworth, where he experiences a change from boy to man, after witnessing the power of nature.

 

 

Take notes as you do this activity. It'll definitely help you absorb more information if you're writing all the new things you learn alongside. Take your time and absorb the teacher's explanation- it's full of helpful gems!

 

Looking at the quote:

 

"...like a living thing, strode after me..."

 

Tick two boxes which best explains the language used in this quote.

The quote uses a metaphor to make nature seem daunting and predatory

The quote uses personification to make the mountain seem daunting and predatory

The quote uses a present continuous verb, which shows that nature has everlasting power

The quote uses adjectives

"...nor without the voice of mountain-echoes did my boat move on"

 

 

What does this quote mean?

 

Pick one number out of the options below.

 

1. The quote uses the compound noun (a noun made of two or more nouns put together) "mountain-echoes", to personify the mountain.

2. The quote uses alliteration to depict that the boat is smoothly gliding on the water.

3. The quote uses simile to show that nature has overwhelming power.

Pick one quote from below which expresses the speaker's powerful imagination.

 

Pick one number out of the options below.

 

1. "with trembling oars I turned..."

2. "like living men, moved slowly through the mind"

3. "one summer evening..."

 

"She was an elfin pinnace..."

 

Definition: a pinnace is a small boat

 

 

Which explanation best describes the quote? Write the one correct number.

 

1. The quote shows that nature is like an elf.

2. The quote uses personification and metaphor, which portrays the boat as feminine and delicate.

3. The quote uses metaphor to show how big and bulky and boat is.

Pick out two quotes from below which show a semantic field of sexuality.

"Lustily, I dipped my oars..."

"Back to the covert of the willow tree"

"And were a trouble to my dreams"

"There hung a darkness..."

"It was an act of stealth and troubled pleasure"

Fill out the table with the language devices that are present or not present in the poem

 

"...my boat, went heaving through the water like a swan"

 

 

Fill in the blank with your choice of three words from the selection below.

 

imagery

metaphor

silent

guiding

metaphor

simile

"I dipped my oars into the silent lake, and, as I rose upon the stroke..."

 

Fill in the blanks with three words out of the selection below. 

 

ironic

transformation

field

adjective

semantic

personification

sexuality

Link the correct language device to the quote.

Column A

Column B

Simile
"...a craggy ridge"
Adjective
"And growing still in stature the grim shape"
Repetition
"And measured motion like a living thing"
Personification
"...a huge peak, black and huge"

Last question!

 

 

Fill in the table linking a language device to it's effect.

  • Question 1

Looking at the quote:

 

"...like a living thing, strode after me..."

 

Tick two boxes which best explains the language used in this quote.

CORRECT ANSWER
The quote uses personification to make the mountain seem daunting and predatory
The quote uses a present continuous verb, which shows that nature has everlasting power
EDDIE SAYS
Personification is used in this quote which helps to give life to the mountain, making it seem predatory and alive. The present continuous verb "living" also emphasises this sense of ongoingness- nature has an everlasting power. It's important to realise that personification is a recurrent language device in the poem- Wordsworth personifies nature into many different things in order to express nature's power and influence to the reader. At the same time, nature (the mountain, especially) is personified into something monstrous and beastly- almost anti-personified- to show how terrifying it can be.
  • Question 2

"...nor without the voice of mountain-echoes did my boat move on"

 

 

What does this quote mean?

 

Pick one number out of the options below.

 

1. The quote uses the compound noun (a noun made of two or more nouns put together) "mountain-echoes", to personify the mountain.

2. The quote uses alliteration to depict that the boat is smoothly gliding on the water.

3. The quote uses simile to show that nature has overwhelming power.

CORRECT ANSWER
1
EDDIE SAYS
The quote uses a compound noun- "mountain echoes". The noun "echo" reminds us of something that is ongoing or continuous in the same way an echo repeats itself. So when the climactic incident happens (when the speaker sees the "huge" mountain), it's as if we've already been warned of what's about to come.
  • Question 3

Pick one quote from below which expresses the speaker's powerful imagination.

 

Pick one number out of the options below.

 

1. "with trembling oars I turned..."

2. "like living men, moved slowly through the mind"

3. "one summer evening..."

 

CORRECT ANSWER
2
EDDIE SAYS
Near the end of the poem, Wordsworth makes it clear the extent of his imagination. He starts to picture dark and mysterious things, due to the transformation he encountered. Perhaps Wordsworth is showing us how powerful the mind can be...
  • Question 4

"She was an elfin pinnace..."

 

Definition: a pinnace is a small boat

 

 

Which explanation best describes the quote? Write the one correct number.

 

1. The quote shows that nature is like an elf.

2. The quote uses personification and metaphor, which portrays the boat as feminine and delicate.

3. The quote uses metaphor to show how big and bulky and boat is.

CORRECT ANSWER
2
EDDIE SAYS
We can assume, looking at the adjective "elfin" that the boat is small! But the connotations of "elfin" extend way beyond this- Wordsworth uses the pronoun "she" to describe the boat. The metaphor and personification create a new image of the boat. This is because of the connotations that grant the boat elf-like qualities (it kind of sounds like elf too!). From this, we can gather that the boat is, indeed, being described as small, agile and mystical. If you aren't too sure what a quote means, always try and associate words and phrases you are familiar with (for example- "elf" with "elfin"), in order to make an assumption. As long as you can back your point up with evidence (quotes, context...), you will have made a valid point.
  • Question 5

Pick out two quotes from below which show a semantic field of sexuality.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Lustily, I dipped my oars..."
"It was an act of stealth and troubled pleasure"
EDDIE SAYS
Remember, semantic field is a bunch of words/quotes which all display a theme/motif in the poem! You can also refer to this as a lexical field. Some believe the poem is a reflection of the speaker's sexual awakening, due to the language used. Read the poem again with that assumption in mind and see if you can relate any other quotes to the poet having a sexual awakening.
  • Question 6

Fill out the table with the language devices that are present or not present in the poem

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Hopefully, the table has got you thinking about the significance of certain language devices over others. Why do you think certain devices are used and how do they add to the overall attitudes/ideas in the poem? Specifically, think about how individual techniques may combine together to create an important point.
  • Question 7

"...my boat, went heaving through the water like a swan"

 

 

Fill in the blank with your choice of three words from the selection below.

 

imagery

metaphor

silent

guiding

metaphor

simile

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The technique of simile is used in order to help us visualise how the boat is moving. Linking the boat to a "swan" adds a sense of agency, as if the boat isn't inanimate, but is a living, graceful part of the natural world. The verb "heaving" also makes it seem like the boat has a mind of its own- it's guiding the speaker somewhere. "Heaving" implies the boat is pushing/putting in great effort!
  • Question 8

"I dipped my oars into the silent lake, and, as I rose upon the stroke..."

 

Fill in the blanks with three words out of the selection below. 

 

ironic

transformation

field

adjective

semantic

personification

sexuality

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The personification of nature helps the reader to understand it's power and impact on Wordsworth whilst emphasising Wordsworth's imagination.
  • Question 9

Link the correct language device to the quote.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Simile
"And measured motion like a livin...
Adjective
"...a craggy ridge"
Repetition
"...a huge peak, black and huge"
Personification
"And growing still in stature the...
EDDIE SAYS
There's a lot to unpack in the poem, but it's not as hard as it seems when we pinpoint the key themes of the poem and how they are reflected through language!
  • Question 10

Last question!

 

 

Fill in the table linking a language device to it's effect.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Remember that every device Wordsworth employs needs to be evaluated. Think, what is the effect on the reader and what are the attitudes presented by the poet? Keep this in the back of your mind and be creative when you think about the different possibilities.
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