The smart way to improve grades

Comprehensive & curriculum aligned

Affordable pricing from £10/month

Evaluate and Compare the Writer's Ideas in both 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London'

In this worksheet, students will compare the ideas expressed in both poems 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London' and evaluate their effectiveness.

'Evaluate and Compare the Writer's Ideas in both 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'Checking Out Me History'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'Checking Out Me History' by John Agard and  'London' by William Blake. Both poems can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your anthology.

 


Both 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London' are poems that express the poet's anger towards the misuse of power by those with authority, but the main difference is that while Agard presents a solution, Blake does not, showing how they have different viewpoints on the possibility of change. Both poems create a sense of unfairness to those who are less powerful or wealthy and show that the place where you live can have a huge impact on your happiness. 

 


In the following questions, you will compare and evaluate the ideas expressed in both poems.
 

 

BeachHouses of Parliament

 

In order to compare the writers' ideas in 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London', we need to understand their meaning. Read the poem 'Checking Out Me History' and match the questions to the correct answers below.

Column A

Column B

What is the poet at conflict with?
The poet is at conflict with the way he was taught...
What is noticeable about the style of the poem?
His own cultural identity and history
Who are "dem"?
People in authority
What does the poet want to "check out"?
The poet has written in a way that shows his accen...

London tower

 

 

Now read the poem 'London' and match the questions to their answers below.

Column A

Column B

What is the narrator doing in the poem?
That it is supposed to help, but does not
What does he notice about every face he looks at?
How weak and sad they look
Why does Blake believe that people stay in London?
They believe that they have no way out
What does Blake suggest about the Church?
That the people in authority do not care about tho...
What does Blake suggest about power?
Wandering through the streets of London

Both poets criticise the effect of authorities (people in power) on poorer, weaker people.

 

In Checking Out Me History the narrator says,

 

"Dem tell me".

 

soldier

 

How does this quotation create the idea of authority?

 

It creates the idea that they did not want to teach him

It creates the idea that the people teaching him were separate or different

It creates the impression that he wanted to learn as much as he could

English church

 

The poem 'London' also criticises the effect of authority in the following quotation:

 

"Every black'ning church appals"

 

 

How does this quotation create the idea of authority?

 

It creates the impression that the church does not have the power to help people

It creates the impression that people do not want the help of the church

It creates the impression that the church has power and authority, but does not use it to help people in need

Both poems create the idea that children suffer especially when those in power do not consider them.

 

In 'Checking Out Me History', the poet explains that as a child he was given the right education. He asks,

 

"But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too"

 

How does this quotation create the idea of children suffering? Choose two emotions that you think the narrator is feeling.

Happy

Confused

Determined

Angry

The poem 'London' also creates the idea of children suffering in the following quotation:

 

"How the chimney-sweeper's cry"

 

chimney sweeper

 

Can you underline one word in this quotation which tells us that children suffered?

\"How the chimney-sweeper\'s cry\"

Read the following quotations from 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London'. How do they create the idea of children suffering?

 

"But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too"

 

"How the chimney-sweeper's cry"

 

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of TWO poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

Both poems convey the idea of conflict.

 

In 'Checking Out Me History' the poet describes a man who was used to fight battles for those more powerful:

 

"Toussaint de thorn to de French"

 

thorn

 

How does the poet create the idea of conflict?

 

It creates the impression that Toussaint was a difficult person

It creates the impression that Toussaint was someone to be admired and remembered

It creates the impression that Toussaint had a very difficult life

The poem 'London' also creates the idea of conflict in the following quotation:

 

"Runs in blood down palace walls"

 

Underline one word which suggests that there has been conflict.

\"Runs in blood down palace walls\"

Read the following quotations from 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London'. How do they create the idea of conflict?

 

 

"Toussaint de thorn to de French" 

 

"Runs in blood down palace walls"

 

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

  • Question 1

In order to compare the writers' ideas in 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London', we need to understand their meaning. Read the poem 'Checking Out Me History' and match the questions to the correct answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

What is the poet at conflict with...
The poet is at conflict with the ...
What is noticeable about the styl...
The poet has written in a way tha...
Who are "dem"?
People in authority
What does the poet want to "check...
His own cultural identity and his...
EDDIE SAYS
'Checking Out Me History' is an assertive, and justifiably angry poem which links the history taught in school to the poet's own cultural identity. The poet talks of "dem" (those who taught him history) and it's clear that he feels a sense of separation and anger, as he feels "blinded" from his own history. He explains how, as an adult, he is only now learning about his own cultural identity.
  • Question 2

London tower

 

 

Now read the poem 'London' and match the questions to their answers below.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

What is the narrator doing in the...
Wandering through the streets of ...
What does he notice about every f...
How weak and sad they look
Why does Blake believe that peopl...
They believe that they have no wa...
What does Blake suggest about the...
That it is supposed to help, but ...
What does Blake suggest about pow...
That the people in authority do n...
EDDIE SAYS
Published in 1794, 'London' is a poem by British writer William Blake. The poem has a sombre, morbid tone and reflects Blake's unhappiness and misery with his life in London. Blake describes the poverty and harshness of living in London and reflects on the people there who feel like they have no way out.
  • Question 3

Both poets criticise the effect of authorities (people in power) on poorer, weaker people.

 

In Checking Out Me History the narrator says,

 

"Dem tell me".

 

soldier

 

How does this quotation create the idea of authority?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the idea that the people teaching him were separate or different
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Dem tell me" is repeated throughout the poem and is a reference to the people in authority during the poet's childhood. The pronoun "dem" suggests that he felt separate from the people teaching him, or that he was different from them. He is angry that he was only allowed to learn what they "told" him to and that because of this, he missed out on studying his own Carribean history.
  • Question 4

English church

 

The poem 'London' also criticises the effect of authority in the following quotation:

 

"Every black'ning church appals"

 

 

How does this quotation create the idea of authority?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the impression that the church has power and authority, but does not use it to help people in need
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Every black'ning church appals" shows the power of the church, and the people within it. The poet is criticising the fact that, despite being powerful, the church does not do enough to help the poor and vulnerable people of London.
  • Question 5

Both poems create the idea that children suffer especially when those in power do not consider them.

 

In 'Checking Out Me History', the poet explains that as a child he was given the right education. He asks,

 

"But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too"

 

How does this quotation create the idea of children suffering? Choose two emotions that you think the narrator is feeling.

CORRECT ANSWER
Confused
Angry
EDDIE SAYS
In this quotation, the narrator conveys the confusion he felt as a child. He knows that the "Caribs" and the "Arawaks" existed in the period he was studying but had no real understanding of their culture and history. As a child, he did not understand why he was not also learning about them. As an adult, he now feels resentment as he has learned that they were not considered as important as Western European history.
  • Question 6

The poem 'London' also creates the idea of children suffering in the following quotation:

 

"How the chimney-sweeper's cry"

 

chimney sweeper

 

Can you underline one word in this quotation which tells us that children suffered?

CORRECT ANSWER
"How the chimney-sweeper's cry"
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation refers to that extremely difficult and dangerous job that many poor Victorian children would've had to do. A chimney sweeper would be required to climb high up a chimney and sweep away the soot and dirt from the fire. For this reason, the child had to be small, so that they would fit. The word "cry" reflects the difficulty of this job which would often result in injury and sometimes death.
  • Question 7

Read the following quotations from 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London'. How do they create the idea of children suffering?

 

"But what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too"

 

"How the chimney-sweeper's cry"

 

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of TWO poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: Both poets convey the idea that children suffer when people in power have ulterior motives whether that be greed or ignorance in recognising all cultures and histories. In 'Checking Out Me History' the poet uses the rhetorical question "but what happen to de Caribs and de Arawaks too" to suggest that his education was not inclusive and he was left confused and alienated. Similarly, children in the poem 'London' suffered when the poet used the verb to describe "How the chimney-sweeper's cry" suggesting that children were made to work difficult and dangerous jobs. Both poems include children that were not thought about and suffered as a consequence of the greed of people in power.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one comparison point (AQA recommends that the student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 10.
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 which links both poems together.
The paragraph should include quotations, language techniques and some evaluation.

  • Question 8

Both poems convey the idea of conflict.

 

In 'Checking Out Me History' the poet describes a man who was used to fight battles for those more powerful:

 

"Toussaint de thorn to de French"

 

thorn

 

How does the poet create the idea of conflict?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the impression that Toussaint was someone to be admired and remembered
EDDIE SAYS
A metaphor is used to describe Toussaint as being a "thorn" to the French which creates the impression that he was strong enough to cause such an economically dominant nation (as France) great trouble during battle. The narrator is clearly proud of what Toussaint achieved. Notice how the poet uses italics when describing the Caribbean figures? This is to signify a change of tone in the poem, a sense of importance and perhaps pride to the narrator.
  • Question 9

The poem 'London' also creates the idea of conflict in the following quotation:

 

"Runs in blood down palace walls"

 

Underline one word which suggests that there has been conflict.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Runs in blood down palace walls"
EDDIE SAYS
In this quotation, the word "blood" conveys the idea of conflict as it draws on the link to war at this time. The blood running down palace walls signifies their sacrifice to protect the power of those who live in the palaces. It is a symbolic metaphor.
  • Question 10

Read the following quotations from 'Checking Out Me History' and 'London'. How do they create the idea of conflict?

 

 

"Toussaint de thorn to de French" 

 

"Runs in blood down palace walls"

 

 

In this part of the exam, you will be asked to write a comparison of two poems from the Power and Conflict cluster. For this question, you will have to write your own answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: Both poems use the idea of conflict to explain how battles were fought in order to protect and benefit those in power. In 'Checking Out Me History' the poet uses the metaphor "Toussaint de thorn to de French" to describe a Haitian man who was so successful in battle that he considered a danger to the powerful French. Similarly in the poem 'London', the metaphor "Runs in blood down palace walls" is used to describe how many soldiers lost their lives in order to fight for their country. Both poets create the impression that it was people who were considered less important or wealthy, that lost their lives in conflict.

Although the whole of this question is marked out of 30, for this answer the student will only be making one comparison point (AQA recommends that the student makes 3 comparison points throughout the essay) so we will mark this answer out of 10.
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 which links both poems together.
The paragraph should include quotations, language techniques and some evaluation.

Try it ---- OR ----

Sign up for a £1 trial so you can track and measure your child's progress on this activity.

What is EdPlace?

We're your National Curriculum aligned online education content provider helping each child succeed in English, maths and science from year 1 to GCSE. With an EdPlace account you’ll be able to track and measure progress, helping each child achieve their best. We build confidence and attainment by personalising each child’s learning at a level that suits them.

Get started
laptop

Start your £1 trial today.
Subscribe from £10/month.