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Describe and Explain the Key Contextual Features of the Poem 'Kamikaze' by Beatrice Garland

In this worksheet, students will describe the context of the poem 'Kamikaze' and explain its significance.

'Describe and Explain the Key Contextual Features of 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.

 

.In the following questions, you will be asked about the context of the poem. 

 

 

 

falling plane

 

In order to explore the context of '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?
He realises what he is about to destroy and lose
What is a 'Kamikaze'?
His family and neighbours ignore him for the rest ...
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?
The daughter of the Kamikaze pilot

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.

Think about the title of the poem: 'Kamikaze'.

 

plane loading up

 

 

What is the meaning of this word?

 

It was the name of the pilot's aircraft

It was the nickname given to the pilot

It was a term used for a Japanese fighter pilot

The poet, Beatrice Garland has said: "I spend a lot of the day listening to other people's worlds".

 

 

globe

 

How do you think this is reflected in the poem?

 

The poet creates the idea of travel and experiencing new cultures

The poem is narrated by someone from an unfamiliar place and time

It is clear that the poet is unfamiliar with the background to the poem

'Kamikaze' reflects the immense social pressure on the pilots to carry out kamikaze missions as part of Japan's war effort during World War II.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think explains how the pilots were convinced to carry out such horrific duties?

 

"On a green-blue translucent sea"

"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"

"Recounting it later to her children"

"And though he came back"

The context of social pressure during World War II is also explained through the effect on the family.

 

separated family

 

 

The following quotations are all from Kamikaze. Which do you think shows that social pressure meant that the family had to disown the pilot?

 

"My mother never spoke again"

"Her father embarked at sunrise"

"Green-blue translucent"

In World War II, the fighter pilots were expected to crash their warplanes into enemy warships.

 

war aircrafts

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think supports the context above?

 

"Her father embarked at sunrise"

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

"And his brothers waiting on the shore"

In Japanese military culture, the tradition of death was seen to be valued much more than capture or defeat.

 

The quotations below are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think supports the context above?

 

"And though he came back"

"Was no longer the father we loved"

"Her father embarked at sunrise"

Read the first stanza of the poem 'Kamikaze'.

 

pebbles on beach

 

Underline two words from this stanza which tell the reader that the poem is about a Japanese fighter pilot.

\"Her father embarked at sunrise With a flask of water, a samurai sword in the cockpit, a shaven head full of powerful incantations\"

In late 1944, Japan was beginning to lose the war, so Kamikaze units were created. Men were told that they could die a glorious death for their country.

 

jet

 

The quotations below are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think supports the idea above?

 

"The loose silver of whitebait"

"Which had been the better way to die"

"And though he came back"

"Till gradually we too learned"

  • Question 1

falling plane

 

In order to explore the context of '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

Think about the title of the poem: 'Kamikaze'.

 

plane loading up

 

 

What is the meaning of this word?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It was a term used for a Japanese fighter pilot
EDDIE SAYS
During the Second World War, the term 'kamikaze' was used for Japanese fighter pilots who were sent on suicide missions. They were expected to crash their warplanes into enemy warships. The word 'kamikaze' literally translates as 'divine wind'.
  • Question 4

The poet, Beatrice Garland has said: "I spend a lot of the day listening to other people's worlds".

 

 

globe

 

How do you think this is reflected in the poem?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poem is narrated by someone from an unfamiliar place and time
EDDIE SAYS
This poem is an example of how Beatrice Garland has used her imagination to create a description that is narrated by someone who is living in a different era from the poet. The poem is also set in a different country from where the poet is from and describes a war that she was never involved with. This perfectly shows her interest in other people's worlds!
  • Question 5

'Kamikaze' reflects the immense social pressure on the pilots to carry out kamikaze missions as part of Japan's war effort during World War II.

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think explains how the pilots were convinced to carry out such horrific duties?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"A shaven head full of powerful incantations"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "A shaven head full of powerful incantations" explains the idea of social pressure, as it describes how the fighter pilot would've been convinced that he was doing the right thing for his country. His "shaven head" was part of the army uniform and "incantations" are sayings which would've been repeated to him, to ensure that he understood that he had to do this in order to be respected. At the start of the poem, he is willing to give his life for his country.
  • Question 6

The context of social pressure during World War II is also explained through the effect on the family.

 

separated family

 

 

The following quotations are all from Kamikaze. Which do you think shows that social pressure meant that the family had to disown the pilot?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"My mother never spoke again"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "my mother never spoke again" explains how social pressure shows how important it was to fight for your country. The family that the pilot left behind was proud and the mother was willing to lose her husband for her country, as this is what society told her was the right thing to do. The fact that he returned caused her humiliation and, to show that she valued her country, she never forgave him.
  • Question 7

In World War II, the fighter pilots were expected to crash their warplanes into enemy warships.

 

war aircrafts

 

The following quotations are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think supports the context above?

 

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. 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 8

In Japanese military culture, the tradition of death was seen to be valued much more than capture or defeat.

 

The quotations below are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think supports the context above?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Was no longer the father we loved"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "was no longer the father we loved" supports this cultural idea that death was to be admired, if it was caused by fighting in war. The fact that the family "loved" the pilot when he was willing to die for his country and ignored him when he wasn't, supports this idea.
  • Question 9

Read the first stanza of the poem 'Kamikaze'.

 

pebbles on beach

 

Underline two words from this stanza which tell the reader that the poem is about a Japanese fighter pilot.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Her father embarked at sunrise
With a flask of water, a samurai sword
in the cockpit, a shaven head
full of powerful incantations"
EDDIE SAYS
The reference to the "samurai sword" makes the reader connect the context of the poem to Japanese Army pilots, who often kept the swords in the cockpit with them. The "shaven" head was also a common military style that creates the context of the poem.
  • Question 10

In late 1944, Japan was beginning to lose the war, so Kamikaze units were created. Men were told that they could die a glorious death for their country.

 

jet

 

The quotations below are all from 'Kamikaze'. Which one do you think supports the idea above?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Which had been the better way to die"
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "which had been the better way to die" explains this context of there being glory in death. The narrator is explaining that it might have been better to die on the mission, as at least then the pilot would've had the respect of his family and friends.
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