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Identify and Explain the Key Themes in the Poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland

In this worksheet, students will identify the key themes in the poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland and understand their significance.

'Identify and Explain the Key Themes in the Poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'Kamikaze'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland, which can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your Anthology.

 

falling plane

 

The poem tells the story of a Japanese Kamikaze pilot who failed to carry out his suicide mission and instead returned home in dishonour. The poem includes the perspective of his daughter, imagining how she told the story in turn to her own children.

 

The main themes of the poem include Conflict, Patriotism, Nature and Memories.

 

In the following questions, you will be asked about the meaning of these themes.

In order to identify the key themes in 'Kamikaze', we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem and match the questions to the answers below:

 

Column A

Column B

Who is the narrator of the poem?
It is the name for Japanese fighter pilots who wer...
What is a 'Kamikaze'?
He realises what he is about to destroy and lose
Why does the pilot decide to turn back?
The daughter of the Kamikaze pilot
What happens to the pilot when he
His family and neighbours ignore him for the rest ...

Now that you have read the poem 'Kamikaze', choose the summary which you think best explains the poem.

 

The poem explores the impact of conflict on innocent people

The poem explores how a person can change their mind, even though the consequences may be bad for them

The poem explores how family is the only thing that really matters

The theme of conflict is presented in the poem with the idea of the violence which will take place.

 

plane loading up

 

Which quotation below tells the reader that the pilot is going to cause destruction?

"On a green-blue translucent sea"

"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"

"Enough fuel for a one-way journey into history"

Read the following quotation:

 

"Little fishing boats strung out like bunting"

 

boats

 

In this quotation, the pilot has a decision to make. Choose one theme below which you think this quotation supports.

 

Patriotism

Internal conflict

Nature

Another theme in the poem is Patriotism.

 

Patriotism = devotion to and vigorous support for one's country

 

Which quotation below do you think supports the theme of patriotism?

"On a green-blue translucent sea"

"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"

"Recounting it later to her children"

"And though he came back"

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Kamikaze':

 

"My mother never spoke again"

 

This quotation explains how strongly the mother felt about the pilot's return. Choose one theme from below which you think this quotation supports.

 

Patriotism

Nature

Memories

Another theme of the poem is nature.

 

underwater sea

 

The pilot is struck by the beauty of the nature below him. Which quotation do you think reflects this theme?

"Her father embarked at sunrise"

"On a green-blue translucent sea"

"And his brothers waiting on the shore"

Read the following quotation from 'Kamikaze':

 

"The dark shoals of fishes flashing silver"

 

What theme would you link this quotation to?

Patriotism

Nature

Conflict

Another theme in the poem is memories.

The pilot looks at the scene below him and remembers a scene from his own childhood.

 

pebbles on beach

 

Which quotation below do you think supports the theme of memories?

"Like a huge flag waved first one way"

"The dark shoals of fishes"

"Till gradually we too learned"

"Remembered how he and his brothers waiting on the shore"

Read the following quotation from 'Kamikaze':

 

"Bringing their fathers boat safe - yes grandfather's boat - safe"

boat

What theme do you think this quotation links to?

Nature

Memories

Patriotism

Conflict

  • Question 1

In order to identify the key themes in 'Kamikaze', 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

Who is the narrator of the poem?
The daughter of the Kamikaze pilo...
What is a 'Kamikaze'?
It is the name for Japanese fight...
Why does the pilot decide to turn...
He realises what he is about to d...
What happens to the pilot when he
His family and neighbours ignore ...
EDDIE SAYS
'Kamikaze', a narrative poem, explores a Kamikaze pilot’s journey towards battle, his decision to return, and how he is shunned when he returns home. The story is told by his daughter to her children and there is a sense that, as the generations have passed, there is now sympathy towards the pilot.
  • Question 2

Now that you have read the poem 'Kamikaze', choose the summary which you think best explains the poem.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poem explores how a person can change their mind, even though the consequences may be bad for them
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? The poem 'Kamikaze' explores the theme of conflict in two ways. Firstly, there is the actual conflict that the fighter pilot is part of and feels a connection to at the start of the poem. Secondly, there is the internal conflict that the pilot feels when he realises the destruction he is about to cause. He knows that if he returns that he will never be forgiven, but he also cannot bring himself to crash the plane.
  • Question 3

The theme of conflict is presented in the poem with the idea of the violence which will take place.

 

plane loading up

 

Which quotation below tells the reader that the pilot is going to cause destruction?

CORRECT ANSWER
"Enough fuel for a one-way journey into history"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "enough fuel for a one-way journey into history" creates the impression that this is a suicide mission that the pilot will not return from. This is what it meant to be a 'Kamikaze'. When he reaches his destination he is expected to crash his plane and cause ultimate destruction. The word "history" suggests that he has been told that he will be remembered with respect for what he has done.
  • Question 4

Read the following quotation:

 

"Little fishing boats strung out like bunting"

 

boats

 

In this quotation, the pilot has a decision to make. Choose one theme below which you think this quotation supports.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Internal conflict
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Little fishing boats strung out like bunting" relates to the theme of Conflict, this time internal conflict. The pilot is torn between his earlier determination to carry out his mission and his new desire to not destroy the beautiful image of nature below him. The pilot links the image to his own memories of his home and family, who also made money from fishing. He has to decide which option to take.
  • Question 5

Another theme in the poem is Patriotism.

 

Patriotism = devotion to and vigorous support for one's country

 

Which quotation below do you think supports the theme of patriotism?

CORRECT ANSWER
"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "A shaven head full of powerful incantations" supports the idea of patriotism as it describes how the fighter pilot felt as he set off on his journey. His "shaven head" was part of the army uniform and "incantations" are sayings which he would have been repeating to show his love for his country as a good luck charm. At the start of the poem, he is willing to give his life for his country.
  • Question 6

Read the following quotation from the poem 'Kamikaze':

 

"My mother never spoke again"

 

This quotation explains how strongly the mother felt about the pilot's return. Choose one theme from below which you think this quotation supports.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Patriotism
EDDIE SAYS
Did you choose the right one? The quotation "my mother never spoke again" is linked to the theme of patriotism as it shows how important it was to fight for your country. The family that the pilot left behind were also patriotic and the mother was willing to lose her husband for her country. The fact that he returned caused her humiliation and, to show that she valued her country, she never forgave him.
  • Question 7

Another theme of the poem is nature.

 

underwater sea

 

The pilot is struck by the beauty of the nature below him. Which quotation do you think reflects this theme?

CORRECT ANSWER
"On a green-blue translucent sea"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "on a green-blue translucent sea" is used to describe how astounded the pilot is by the beauty of what he views below. The violence that he set out with suddenly seems unimportant compared to the sea and wildlife below him. The sea seems much more important than the politics and violence of war, and he is unable to cause destruction to something so amazing.
  • Question 8

Read the following quotation from 'Kamikaze':

 

"The dark shoals of fishes flashing silver"

 

What theme would you link this quotation to?

CORRECT ANSWER
Nature
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "the dark shoals of fishes flashing silver" is linked to the theme of nature as it once again shows to the pilot the beauty of the world around him. He is faced with the fact that the world is full of life that he is about to destroy. He no longer views his war as important as keeping the nature around him intact.
  • Question 9

Another theme in the poem is memories.

The pilot looks at the scene below him and remembers a scene from his own childhood.

 

pebbles on beach

 

Which quotation below do you think supports the theme of memories?

CORRECT ANSWER
"Remembered how he and his brothers waiting on the shore"
EDDIE SAYS
Is this getting easier? The quotation "remembered how he and his brothers waiting on the shore" supports the theme of memories as it describes an image from the pilot's childhood, when he remembers playing on the beach with his brothers. This memory makes him reconsider what he is about to do, as he imagines the innocent people who may be doing a similar thing below.
  • Question 10

Read the following quotation from 'Kamikaze':

 

"Bringing their fathers boat safe - yes grandfather's boat - safe"

boat

What theme do you think this quotation links to?

CORRECT ANSWER
Memories
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Bringing their father's boat safe - yes grandfather's boat - safe" links to the theme of memories, as it is another way in which the pilot links his current scene to that of his childhood. The memory emphasises how lucky the pilot was to have his father return and how unlucky a family will be if he decides to carry out his mission. He is now thinking of the fathers on the boats below him, who might also have families waiting at home. Can he be the one to take their fathers away? You've completed another activity - well done!
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