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Evaluate the Language Techniques Used in the Poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

In this worksheet, students will evaluate the language devices used in the poem, they will also gain an understanding of the wider context of the poem.

'Evaluate the Language Techniques Used in the Poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred Lord Tennyson.' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Pearson Edexcel

Curriculum topic:   Poetry, Poetry Anthology Collections

Curriculum subtopic:   Power and Conflict: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', Conflict: 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

For this activity, you will need to turn to the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, which can be found in the Power and Conflict section of your Anthology.

 

 

battle

 

 

Tennyson wrote 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' after reading a newspaper report about the Battle of Balaclava in 1854.  

 

On the 25th October 1854, 670 cavalrymen and officers were given a badly judged order to attack Russian troops who were armed with cannons. Tennyson relates how the cavalry (the ‘Light Brigade’) attacked, showing heroic bravery and discipline, despite the other side surrounding them with cannons. They failed to defeat the gunners and were forced to retreat, losing more than two hundred men killed outright, wounded or captured

 

 In the following questions, you will be asked to evaluate the language devices used in the poem.

battle

 

In order to evaluate the language devices in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', we need to understand the meaning of the poem. Read the poem and match the questions to the answers below:

Column A

Column B

Where is the poem set?
For following orders, even though they knew they m...
What is a 'Light Brigade'?
There was a miscommunication in the order they wer...
Why did the men charge head first in to the cannon...
In Russia, during the Crimean War
Why was the 'Light Brigade' so respected afterward...
Men on horses who were lightly equipped

battle

 

Now that you have read the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', choose the summary which you think best explains the poem.

 

The narrator is a soldier rallying the troops as they charge into battle. Despite the odds stacked against them, he convinces the brigade to charge forward

Soldiers charge through a deadly valley and are attacked by the enemy. Although they are attacked from all sides, they are protected. It is implied that God is on their side

A deadly battle is described. Soldiers on horseback advance into a valley that is surrounded by the enemy who have guns and cannons. The soldiers are not as well prepared and many are killed

Let's recap your knowledge of language devices so that we know what to look for in the poem.

 

Match the language device to the definition.

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
Two words placed together with different meanings ...
Simile
Words beginning with the same letter sounds
Onomatopoeia
Direct comparison of two things without using the ...
Metaphor
Words which sound like the effect they describe
Personification
Comparing two or more objects with the words \'lik...
Oxymoron
Describing an inanimate object or animal with huma...

 The following quotation is from 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and uses an allusion to the bible, to describe the horror of the battle.

 

"All in the valley of Death"

 

Allusion = an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

 

Which of the following is a correct evaluation of this language device? Choose one answer.

It creates the impression that the men are courageous and will bring death to the other side

It creates the idea that there will be a lot of death in the valley

It creates the impression that the war is hell and that the men are riding to their death

The poet uses repetition to create the idea that the soldiers did not question the people in charge:

 

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.

 

What is the effect of this repetition? Choose two answers.

It creates the impression that the men are symbols and not individuals

It creates the impression that the soldiers were all in agreement

It creates the impression that the men do not ask questions and simply obey commands

It creates the impression that the men questioned their orders

The poet uses sibilance to describe what happened to the soldiers:

 

Sibilance = a more specific type of alliteration that relies on the repetition of soft consonant sounds in words to create a wooshing or hissing sound in the writing

 

"Stormed at with shot and shell"

 

Soldier leading an army

 

Can you match the words to their evaluations?

 

Column A

Column B

Stormed
An aggressive verb to show the power of the enemy ...
Shot and shell
A description of the powerful weapons from the ene...

The poet uses personification to describe how the soldiers bravely went into a battle they couldn't win.

 

"Into the jaws of Death"

"Into the mouth of hell"

 

Can you underline two words which you think create this personification?

 

 

 

\"Into the jaws of Death\" \"Into the mouth of hell\"

Re-read the quotation from the last question:

 

"Into the jaws of death"

 

soldier leading an army

 

Can you explain the effect of the language device used in this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

The poet uses a rhetorical question to ask:

 

"When can their glory fade?" 

 

 

war memorial

 

Choose one evaluation of this quotation.

People will eventually forget about t he bravery of these soldiers

The incorrect order given should serve as a lesson for the future

Although the order was wrong, these soldiers should always be remembered for their bravery

Re-read the quotation from the last question:

 

"When can their glory fade?"

 

Can you explain the effect of the language device used in this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

  • Question 1

battle

 

In order to evaluate the language devices in 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', 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

Where is the poem set?
In Russia, during the Crimean War
What is a 'Light Brigade'?
Men on horses who were lightly eq...
Why did the men charge head first...
There was a miscommunication in t...
Why was the 'Light Brigade' so re...
For following orders, even though...
EDDIE SAYS
The poem tells the story of a brigade consisting of 600 soldiers who rode on horseback into the “valley of death” for half a league (about one and a half miles). They were obeying a command to charge the enemy forces that had been seizing their guns.
  • Question 2

battle

 

Now that you have read the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade', choose the summary which you think best explains the poem.

 

CORRECT ANSWER
A deadly battle is described. Soldiers on horseback advance into a valley that is surrounded by the enemy who have guns and cannons. The soldiers are not as well prepared and many are killed
EDDIE SAYS
Did you spot the right summary? The poem describes a deadly battle with many casualties.
  • Question 3

Let's recap your knowledge of language devices so that we know what to look for in the poem.

 

Match the language device to the definition.

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Alliteration
Words beginning with the same let...
Simile
Comparing two or more objects wit...
Onomatopoeia
Words which sound like the effect...
Metaphor
Direct comparison of two things w...
Personification
Describing an inanimate object or...
Oxymoron
Two words placed together with di...
EDDIE SAYS
Language devices are a great way for poets to create imagery and tone. They also get you more marks in the exam, if you can identify them! Remember to always look out for language devices and try to use them when you are analysing a quotation.
  • Question 4

 The following quotation is from 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' and uses an allusion to the bible, to describe the horror of the battle.

 

"All in the valley of Death"

 

Allusion = an expression designed to call something to mind without mentioning it explicitly; an indirect or passing reference.

 

Which of the following is a correct evaluation of this language device? Choose one answer.

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the impression that the war is hell and that the men are riding to their death
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "All in the valley of Death, rode the six hundred" is an example of allusion, as it refers to a passage from the bible. It suggests that the British soldiers do not stand a chance of winning and they're riding into death. It also creates the impression that the soldiers know this, but carry on anyway as they are used to following orders.
  • Question 5

The poet uses repetition to create the idea that the soldiers did not question the people in charge:

 

Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and die.

 

What is the effect of this repetition? Choose two answers.

CORRECT ANSWER
It creates the impression that the men are symbols and not individuals
It creates the impression that the men do not ask questions and simply obey commands
EDDIE SAYS
The repetition of "theirs" and "six hundred" objectifies the soldiers as a symbol, rather than just men. It creates the impression that the soldiers did not have a say and were just needed to do the fighting. The words "reply" and "reason" are two things that you would expect to do when given an order that you think is wrong. But the soldiers do not do this - they do not feel it is their place to question their superiors. Instead they "do and die". Would you have done the same in their position?
  • Question 6

The poet uses sibilance to describe what happened to the soldiers:

 

Sibilance = a more specific type of alliteration that relies on the repetition of soft consonant sounds in words to create a wooshing or hissing sound in the writing

 

"Stormed at with shot and shell"

 

Soldier leading an army

 

Can you match the words to their evaluations?

 

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

Stormed
An aggressive verb to show the po...
Shot and shell
A description of the powerful wea...
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Stormed at with shot and shell" is an example of sibilance, as it uses the soft 's' sound to create an impression of how quickly the charge happened. It also describes what the soldiers were met with when they entered the battle. The other side was an incredible force and "shot and shell" describes the force of the weapons that the other side had, whereas the "Light Brigade" only had swords.
  • Question 7

The poet uses personification to describe how the soldiers bravely went into a battle they couldn't win.

 

"Into the jaws of Death"

"Into the mouth of hell"

 

Can you underline two words which you think create this personification?

 

 

 

CORRECT ANSWER
"Into the jaws of Death"
"Into the mouth of hell"
EDDIE SAYS
These quotations are examples of personification as death is given the human characteristic of a "mouth" and "jaws", to show how the soldiers had no chance of surviving. It also creates an impression of the horror of what the soldiers went through. The battle is described as "death" and "hell" before the soldiers have even arrived there, which suggests that they were riding into a battle that they couldn't win. Pretty scary stuff!
  • Question 8

Re-read the quotation from the last question:

 

"Into the jaws of death"

 

soldier leading an army

 

Can you explain the effect of the language device used in this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
You should find a point, an example and an explanation. The paragraph should include a quotation, language technique and some evaluation. Example answer: The poet describes how pointless the battle was, as the soldiers had no chance of winning even before the battle had started. He uses personification to describe how the soldiers rode "into the jaws of death", which implies that the soldiers rode into something that they had no chance of fighting off. It creates the impression that 'death' was just waiting there to swallow them up. [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 a student makes three comparison points throughout the essay), so we will mark this answer out of six. In order to gain full marks on this question, the student should have written an extended paragraph that follows the PEE structure.]
  • Question 9

The poet uses a rhetorical question to ask:

 

"When can their glory fade?" 

 

 

war memorial

 

Choose one evaluation of this quotation.

CORRECT ANSWER
Although the order was wrong, these soldiers should always be remembered for their bravery
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "When can their glory fade?" is an example of a rhetorical question - a figure of speech in the form of a question that is asked to make a point, rather than to gain an answer. The poet uses a rhetorical question to suggest that people should not feel sad about the soldiers that died. Instead, they should respect and remember them for their "glory" and bravery, which he believes should never be forgotten. Do you agree with him?
  • Question 10

Re-read the quotation from the last question:

 

"When can their glory fade?"

 

Can you explain the effect of the language device used in this quotation?

 

For this question, you will have to write your answer using the PEE format - Make a point, give an example, explain with deeper detail.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Example answer: The poet thinks that it is very important that the soldiers are remembered for their bravery and not for the huge military mistake which was made. He uses the rhetorical question "When can their glory fade?", which suggests that he already knows that the men will be remembered for their "glory" and bravery. It creates the impression that the soldiers' "glory" is so great that they will always be more important than the event which led them to battle. [

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 a 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.

]
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