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Evaluate Language Techniques in the Extract from 'The Prelude'

In this worksheet, students will be tested on their evaluation of language. Students will be able to practise why certain words are used and the impact of these words on the theme and tone of the poem. This worksheet is a mixed one meaning it will require some manual marking. The marks will be labelled accordingly to ensure accuracy.

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to revise your language evaluation skills in Extract from 'The Prelude'?

 

Thought bubble

 

Hopefully, you know Extract from 'The Prelude' well enough by now to be able to evaluate Wordsworth choices in language in the poem. Now remember, evaluating language is actually quite simple if you break it down into these two points:

 

What attitudes are expressed by the poet, through this language choice?

 

What effect does this word have on you, the reader?

 

 

When we break up our language evaluation into these two points, it is easier to get into the nitty gritty of word choice. It also helps to evaluate language by putting ourselves into the speaker of the poem's shoes. Why does the poet use specific words and what is the impact of this language?

 

 

Here's an example of language evaluation to get you going. Don't worry, you won't have to do anything as long as this in the exercise.

 

Near the beginning of the poem, Wordsworth uses the oxymoron "troubled pleasure", implying that the speaker is bewildered and confused. This suggests that nature's power is so overwhelming that the speaker cannot control his own feelings and instead is left with two contrasting emotions. Perhaps the idea of sexuality is implied, due to the noun  "pleasure" combined with the adjective "troubled". It seems as if the speaker is experiencing something new and different, causing conflicting feelings. A thin line between '"pleasure" and guilt ("troubled") is apparent, and the innocence of the speaker is noticeable. This creates the effect of power and dominance asserted by nature, as Wordsworth highlights his own lack of experience. Nature seems to be strategically manipulating the speaker into a state of conflict and confusion, stripping him of his innocence and initiating him into the confusing world of adulthood, self-reflection and introspection.

"Nor without the voice, of mountain-echoes did my boat move on"

 

 

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct words from below. 

 

sound

emphasises

adjective

overwhelming

imagination

taste

characteristics

"A huge peak, black and huge"

 

 

Tick one box which analyses this quote the best.

 

The repetition of the adjective "huge" describes the mountain as huge and powerful, creating a sense of fear in the reader

The repetition of the adjective "huge" portrays the speakers small range of vocabulary

The repetition of the adjective "huge" reflects how large the mountain is

The repetition of the adjective "huge" represents the speaker's awe and fear as much as it represents the mountain's size. The speaker seems to run out of different adjectives to use which reflects his loss of vocabulary and agency

Check two examples of simile in the poem.

"And measured motion like a living thing"

"Was nothing but the stars and the grey stars"

"She was an elfin pinnace"

"Went heaving through the water like a swan"

"Small circles glittering idly in the moon, until they melted all into one track, of sparkling light"

 

 

Tick the one answer which best explains the quote.

 

This quote portrays the idea that nature is beautiful and calm, creating a sense of balance

This quote creates the idea that the speaker is in control, as he is creating his own "track" to follow

This quote creates the idea that nature is sensually guiding the speaker towards a destination, due to the noun "track"- as if the speaker only has one path

This quote emphasises the theme of solitude in the poem, due to the emotive language used

"...and were a trouble to my dreams"

 

 

What does this quote suggest about nature's influence?

 

Fill in the blank spaces.

 

troubling

happy

trauma

dreams

nightmare

 

This quote portrays the idea that nature is beautiful and calm, creating a sense of balance

This quote creates the idea that the speaker is in control, as he is creating his own "track" to follow

This quote creates the idea that nature is sensually guiding the speaker towards a destination, due to the noun "track"- as if the speaker only has one path

This quote emphasises the theme of solitude in the poem, due to the emotive language used

"With trembling oars, I turned, and through the silent water stole my way back..."

 

Write down the device that Wordsworth uses in this quote, and the effect. 

 

You should be able to get it down in two sentences.

"A huge peak, black and huge"

 

 

How does this quote convey the power of nature?

 

Look at:

The device used

How this device shows Wordsworth's feelings

 

You get two marks for two sentences.

Name one adverb in the poem which convey's Wordsworth's sexuality.

 

Don't worry about typing out quotation marks. 

"...And growing in stature the grim shape towered up between me and the stars".

 

Evaluate the quote.

 

1. What kind of device is used here?

2. What are Wordsworth's feelings?

 

You get two marks for two sentences. 

"There hung a darkness, call it solitude of blank desertion"

 

 Evaluate the quote.

 

1. What kind of emotions are presented?

2. Why are these emotions significant and what do they show about Wordsworth? Think about how he has transformed. Why is this important?

3. Think about nature's significance.

 

You get two marks for two sentences.

  • Question 1

"Nor without the voice, of mountain-echoes did my boat move on"

 

 

Fill in the blank spaces with the correct words from below. 

 

sound

emphasises

adjective

overwhelming

imagination

taste

characteristics

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Practising how to write out language evaluations should help you get into the swing of things. Let's focus on how the power of nature is emphasised in this quote: Nature is starting to embody the human characteristic of producing sound. The word "echo" is really important- it gives us the sense of a sound being repeated over and over again which links to the idea of memory. Wordsworth seems to ruminate on his transformative experience, repeating the incident over and over again in his mind.
  • Question 2

"A huge peak, black and huge"

 

 

Tick one box which analyses this quote the best.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The repetition of the adjective "huge" represents the speaker's awe and fear as much as it represents the mountain's size. The speaker seems to run out of different adjectives to use which reflects his loss of vocabulary and agency
EDDIE SAYS
Option four is correct! The repetition of the adjective reflects the speaker's shock and terror at what was he is seeing.
  • Question 3

Check two examples of simile in the poem.

CORRECT ANSWER
"And measured motion like a living thing"
"Went heaving through the water like a swan"
EDDIE SAYS
The use of simile in the poem (specifically, these two quotes) brings nature to life- essentially Wordsworth is giving human qualities to inanimate objects, making them more relatable, more powerful and more effective in our minds. Nature is already visually larger- when physical grandness is combined with the human quality of action, we begin to view the inanimate object as something which possesses willpower and agency.
  • Question 4

"Small circles glittering idly in the moon, until they melted all into one track, of sparkling light"

 

 

Tick the one answer which best explains the quote.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
This quote creates the idea that nature is sensually guiding the speaker towards a destination, due to the noun "track"- as if the speaker only has one path
EDDIE SAYS
At this point in the poem, (near the beginning, before the climax), nature is portrayed in a very sensual way. When you read the quote, there are very soft and flowing sounds created- this is due to the consonance (the repeated sound of consonants- in this case, the letter 'L'). The consonance of the letter 'L' makes the quote flow as you say it out loud, creating a sense of mystery and sensuality. Remember, a lot of sexual language is used near the beginning and middle of the poem. Nature is guiding the speaker somewhere, especially when the noun "track" is added to the quote. There doesn't seem to be any other route for the speaker to take. The fact that the "moon" is referenced, presents pathetic fallacy. In this case, night-time illustrates a sense of darkness, which could be sinister and scary but could also reflect solitude, quietness and even highlight the sensuality which is implicit in the quote. Imagine night-time as a private and sensual time, where everyone else is asleep and no-one can overhear anything.
  • Question 5

"...and were a trouble to my dreams"

 

 

What does this quote suggest about nature's influence?

 

Fill in the blank spaces.

 

troubling

happy

trauma

dreams

nightmare

 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The fact that Wordsworth uses the contrasting words "trouble" and "dreams" is an interesting one. Refer to the poem- this quote comes at the end of the poem. Remember, near the beginning of the poem when Wordsworth uses a similar contrast of language in the oxymoron "troubled pleasure"? It seems as if there's a feeling of conflict in Wordsworth, after he encounters the scary mountains. Wordsworth's abrupt and pivotal transformation is a positive thing because it ensures that Wordsworth becomes more introspective and self-reflecting, making him the poet who is able to write 'The Prelude' and ruminate on the power of nature and it's sublime effect on mankind. However, the transformation, itself, seems to also have a traumatic effect on Wordsworth, something that he conveys through the language throughout the poem, either by foreshadowing or contrasting language. Wordsworth seems to grow up in the span of a heartbeat- so its no surprise that he might be mourning the loss of his innocent, carefree self. It seems that, in order to become the poet he is today, Wordsworth is stressing that the trauma and transformation he underwent isn't an easy thing to undergo. It's not for everyone, and only the special can go through it. This links to the beginning of the poem, where Wordsworth implies that he is "led" by an unknown force, referred to as "her" (be it a muse, fairy or nature)- Wordsworth seems to highlight that he is picked and chosen by some unknown, strong force to undergo this transformation.
  • Question 6

"With trembling oars, I turned, and through the silent water stole my way back..."

 

Write down the device that Wordsworth uses in this quote, and the effect. 

 

You should be able to get it down in two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the use of personification in this quote- the silent water seems to emphasise the quiet, stillness of the water.
  • Question 7

"A huge peak, black and huge"

 

 

How does this quote convey the power of nature?

 

Look at:

The device used

How this device shows Wordsworth's feelings

 

You get two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Usually, repetition is used to emphasise a point, and this quote illustrates that Wordsworth repeats the adjective "huge" to emphasise his awe and fear over nature. So, bear in mind that Wordsworth is the one relaying the information to us- any vocabulary used is employed purposefully to convey a point about his view of nature. The repetition of "huge" also showcases his loss of vocabulary, further expressing to us how overwhelmed he has become. This is an example of Wordsworth using the sublime to highlight powerful feelings in his psyche.
  • Question 8

Name one adverb in the poem which convey's Wordsworth's sexuality.

 

Don't worry about typing out quotation marks. 

CORRECT ANSWER
Lustily
EDDIE SAYS
The adverb that we're looking for is "Lustily"! As we have mentioned before, this implies Wordsworth's shift from boy to man.
  • Question 9

"...And growing in stature the grim shape towered up between me and the stars".

 

Evaluate the quote.

 

1. What kind of device is used here?

2. What are Wordsworth's feelings?

 

You get two marks for two sentences. 

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The quote used really showcases Wordsworth's fear over the mountain, emphasised by his personification. The present continuous verb "growing" really cements this, portraying the mountain as an alive and moving thing which purposefully attempts to intimidate Wordsworth through its sheer size. Wordsworth gives the mountain more agency, power and control than himself.
  • Question 10

"There hung a darkness, call it solitude of blank desertion"

 

 Evaluate the quote.

 

1. What kind of emotions are presented?

2. Why are these emotions significant and what do they show about Wordsworth? Think about how he has transformed. Why is this important?

3. Think about nature's significance.

 

You get two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
This quote comes at the end of the poem after Wordsworth has realised the significance and power of nature. He remains haunted by its impact and influence. Think of this poem as split up into three different parts- the beginning is Wordsworth as a carefree child being led onto his path, the middle is his transformation (symbolised by sexual innuendo/language and the personification of the fearsome mountain) and the end is Wordsworth as a newly, transformed and troubled poet- the Wordsworth we know.
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