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Explore How the Key Themes Develop in the Poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland

In this worksheet, students will undertake an exploration of how the key themes develop in the poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland.

'Explore How the Key Themes Develop 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.

 

 

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 how these themes develop throughout the poem.

falling plane

 

In order to explore how the themes develop 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?
His family and neighbours ignore him for the rest ...
What is a 'Kamikaze'?
The daughter of the Kamikaze pilot
Why does the pilot decide to turn back?
It is the name for Japanese fighter pilots who wer...
What happens to the pilot when he returns home?
He realises what he is about to destroy and lose

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

A main theme in the poem is conflict, which the poet presents at the start of the poem with the image of war.

 

Conflict = to be incompatible or at variance; clash.

 

plane loading up

 

The following quotations are from 'Kamikaze'. Choose two which you think support the theme of conflict.

"On a green-blue translucent sea"

"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"

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

Let's have a look at how the theme of conflict is developed throughout the poem. Later in the poem, the pilot feels internal conflict about what he is going to do.

 

Internal conflict = A struggle occurring within a persons mind.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which you think makes the pilot question what he is about to destroy?

 

"Enough fuel for a one-way"

"Little fishing boats strung out like bunting"

"And though he came back"

Another theme in the poem is Patriotism.

 

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

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which 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"

Let's have a look at how the theme of patriotism is developed throughout the poem.

 

The pilot's family are also patriotic and never forgive him for not fighting for his country. 

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Choose two which shows how the family reacted when the pilot returned.

"My mother never spoke again"

"The turbulent inrush of breakers"

"They treated him as though he no longer existed"

Another theme of the poem is nature and how it can make people see what is really important.

 

underwater sea

 

Read the following extract from 'Kamikaze' and underline two words which you think shows the value of nature.

 

 

\"The dark shoals of fishes flashing silver as their bellies swivelled towards the sun\"

Let's have a look at how the theme of nature is developed throughout the poem.

 

The pilot also feels the power of nature, which makes him view the conflict as something unimportant.

 

Choose the quotation below which you think shows the power of nature.

"Enough fuel for a one-way"

"Arching in swathes like a huge flag"

"Recounting it later to her children"

Read the following quotation which supports the theme of memories:

 

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

 

pebbles on beach

 

Can you explain this quotation? Fill in the blanks below.

"Enough fuel for a one-way"

"Arching in swathes like a huge flag"

"Recounting it later to her children"

Let's have a look at how the theme of memories develops throughout the poem.

 

Read the following quotation from 'Kamikaze': 

 

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

 

boat

​How does the narrator use the theme of memories to explain how he feels?

 

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

falling plane

 

In order to explore how the themes develop 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
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

A main theme in the poem is conflict, which the poet presents at the start of the poem with the image of war.

 

Conflict = to be incompatible or at variance; clash.

 

plane loading up

 

The following quotations are from 'Kamikaze'. Choose two which you think support the theme of conflict.

CORRECT ANSWER
"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"
"Enough fuel for a one-way journey into history"
EDDIE SAYS
Did you manage to get both? 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'. We know that the pilot is part of violent conflict. The quotation "A shaven head full of powerful incantations" is another reference to conflict, as it relates the pilot's appearance and mindset to that of a military pilot.
  • Question 4

Let's have a look at how the theme of conflict is developed throughout the poem. Later in the poem, the pilot feels internal conflict about what he is going to do.

 

Internal conflict = A struggle occurring within a persons mind.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which you think makes the pilot question what he is about to destroy?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Little fishing boats strung out like bunting"
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

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which 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

Let's have a look at how the theme of patriotism is developed throughout the poem.

 

The pilot's family are also patriotic and never forgive him for not fighting for his country. 

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Choose two which shows how the family reacted when the pilot returned.

CORRECT ANSWER
"My mother never spoke again"
"They treated him as though he no longer existed"
EDDIE SAYS
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 quotation "They treated him as though he no longer existed" shows how the pilot was treated by everyone, even his neighbours, who felt that he had let his country down.
  • Question 7

Another theme of the poem is nature and how it can make people see what is really important.

 

underwater sea

 

Read the following extract from 'Kamikaze' and underline two words which you think shows the value of nature.

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"The dark shoals of fishes
flashing silver as their bellies
swivelled towards the sun"
EDDIE SAYS
Did you find the right ones? The words "flashing silver" are used to describe how astounded the pilot is by the beauty and value of what he views below. The word "flashing" creates the impression of jewels sparkling and "silver" is a reference to precious metal. 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 valuable.
  • Question 8

Let's have a look at how the theme of nature is developed throughout the poem.

 

The pilot also feels the power of nature, which makes him view the conflict as something unimportant.

 

Choose the quotation below which you think shows the power of nature.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Arching in swathes like a huge flag"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Arching in swathes like a huge flag" is linked to the theme of the power of nature, as it once again shows to the pilot the beauty of the world around him. The word "huge" suggests that the pilot is shocked by the amount of fish below him and how powerful they seem in their numbers.
  • Question 9

Read the following quotation which supports the theme of memories:

 

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

 

pebbles on beach

 

Can you explain this quotation? Fill in the blanks below.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? 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

Let's have a look at how the theme of memories develops throughout the poem.

 

Read the following quotation from 'Kamikaze': 

 

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

 

boat

​How does the narrator use the theme of memories to explain how he feels?

 

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: The pilot links the scene below to his own memories of being part of a fishing village as a child. He remembers "Bringing their father's boat safe - yes grandfather's boat - safe" and the repetition of the word "safe" 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 and this creates a feeling of guilt.

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

Try it ---- OR ----

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