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Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Key Themes in the Poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'

In this worksheet, students will examine how the key themes are presented, and evaluate their effectiveness, in the poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

'Evaluate the Effectiveness of the Key Themes in the Poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'' 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

 

 

The poem tells the story of a brigade 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.

 

The 600 soldiers were assaulted by the shots of shells of canons in front and on both sides of them. Still, they rode courageously forward toward their own deaths: “Into the jaws of Death / Into the mouth of hell / Rode the six hundred.”

 

 

The main themes of the poem include Conflict, Courage, Death and Duty.

 

In the following questions, you will be asked about the poet presents these key themes and evaluate their effectiveness

 

battle

 

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the themes 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?
There was a miscommunication in the order they wer...
What is a 'Light Brigade'?
In Russia, during the Crimean War
Why did the men charge head first in to the cannon...
For following orders, even though they knew they m...
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

The theme of conflict is presented in the following quotation:

 

"Flashed all their sabres bare"

 

 

 

sword

 

 

How does the speaker talk about actual violence in this poem?  Why do you think he doesn't include more blood and gore? Choose two answers from the list below.

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

The theme of conflict is presented with a description of the battle. One of the few lines which describe the Russian army is:

 

"Volleyed and thundered"

 

battle

 

Why don't we hear more about the Light Brigade's enemy in this poem?  Why are there no real descriptions of the Russians?

 

The poet did not know very much about the Russian army

The poet knew that someone else was writing about the Russian army

The poet wants to show respect for the British soldiers by making them the main subject of the poem

Throughout the poem, the theme of courage is linked to the soldiers:

 

"Boldly they rode and well"

 

How does this quotation make the reader feel about the soldiers? Choose two emotions from the list.

Anger

Admiration

Confusion

Respect

Sadness

A sense of the soldiers' courage is also shown in the quotation:

 

"Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred."

 

What effect do you think the poet wanted to create here? Is it braver to die obeying a foolish order or to refuse to obey it?

 

The poet thinks that the soldiers were foolish for obeying a command that would cause their deaths

The poet believes that the soldiers were even more brave for obeying a command even though they knew it might cause their deaths.

The poet believes that the soldiers should always obey the commands of the higher officers

The theme of death is presented in the following quotations:

 

"Into the jaws of Death"

"Into the mouth of hell"

 

Underline the two words that create the effect of death.

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

Can you evaluate the effect of the theme of death?

 

Read the following quotation:

 

"While horse and hero fell"

 

​How does the poet use the theme of death 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.

The poet wants honour to be a main theme of the poem, as he believes that it is important that the soldiers receive it.

 

The poet asks:

 

"When can their glory fade?" 

 

 

war memorial

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

The poet is worried that the men will not be remembered

The poet wants people to learn a lesson from the disaster

The poet suggests that the bravery of the men will never be forgotten

Honour is presented again in the following quotation:

 

"Honour the Light Brigade"

 

​How does the narrator use the theme of honour 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

battle

 

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the themes 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
A deadly battle is described. Soldiers on horseback advance into a valley that is surrounded by the enemy, who have guns and cannons. The advancing soldiers are not as well equipped and many are killed.
  • Question 3

The theme of conflict is presented in the following quotation:

 

"Flashed all their sabres bare"

 

 

 

sword

 

 

How does the speaker talk about actual violence in this poem?  Why do you think he doesn't include more blood and gore? Choose two answers from the list below.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The quotation "Flashed all their sabres bare" supports the theme of conflict as it describes the actual fighting between the two sides. A sabre is a sword and the flash is the sun shining off the metal but also a metaphor for the glory they showed in their bravery which, like a flash, is short.
  • Question 4

The theme of conflict is presented with a description of the battle. One of the few lines which describe the Russian army is:

 

"Volleyed and thundered"

 

battle

 

Why don't we hear more about the Light Brigade's enemy in this poem?  Why are there no real descriptions of the Russians?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet wants to show respect for the British soldiers by making them the main subject of the poem
EDDIE SAYS
The poet purposely kept out details of the Russian army, as he wanted the attention and respect to be kept on the British army. Also, he didn't want to have to describe how the Russians won the battle. The quotation "Volleyed and thundered" relates to the theme of conflict as it again describes the fighting in the battle. The violent verbs used here create an impression of the power. Ultimately, "The Charge of the Light Brigade" is a poem about conflict. It spends a lot of time describing the confusion, the terror, the bloodshed, and, yes, also the heroism and excitement of armed combat. Notice that most of the images and descriptions in the poem relate to warfare: cannon, bullets, smoke, sabres, etc.
  • Question 5

Throughout the poem, the theme of courage is linked to the soldiers:

 

"Boldly they rode and well"

 

How does this quotation make the reader feel about the soldiers? Choose two emotions from the list.

CORRECT ANSWER
Admiration
Respect
EDDIE SAYS
The poet describes the soldiers in this way as he wants the reader to feel admiration and respect for them. The word "boldly" is used to describe the manner in which the soldiers went into battle - it means to move in a confident and courageous way. Even though the soldiers knew that they were facing a stronger army, they still entered the battle with bravery and determination.
  • Question 6

A sense of the soldiers' courage is also shown in the quotation:

 

"Into the mouth of hell
Rode the six hundred."

 

What effect do you think the poet wanted to create here? Is it braver to die obeying a foolish order or to refuse to obey it?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet believes that the soldiers were even more brave for obeying a command even though they knew it might cause their deaths.
EDDIE SAYS
The poet does not seem upset that the soldiers obeyed a foolish command. He is more impressed with their bravery in a battle which they knew they could not win. The quotation "Into the mouth of hell rode the six hundred" supports the theme of courage, as it describes how the soldiers went into battle without hesitation, even though they could see that they were riding into "hell". There's no question that the Light Brigade has guts! Tennyson makes sure to point out that they know exactly how dangerous and hopeless the job is, but they stand up and do it anyway.
  • Question 7

The theme of death is presented in the following quotations:

 

"Into the jaws of Death"

"Into the mouth of hell"

 

Underline the two words that create the effect of death.

CORRECT ANSWER
"Into the jaws of Death"

"Into the mouth of hell"
EDDIE SAYS
These quotations support the theme of death and describe the horror of what the soldiers went through. The battle is described as "death" and "hell" before the soldiers have even arrived there. The tragedy here is that many of the brave soldiers in the Light Brigade die in this battle. The valley where the charge takes place belongs to "Death" who is almost a physical presence, like the Grim Reaper.
  • Question 8

Can you evaluate the effect of the theme of death?

 

Read the following quotation:

 

"While horse and hero fell"

 

​How does the poet use the theme of death 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 poet uses very respectful language to describe how the soldiers lost the battle and died. Even though the soldiers were defeated he still uses the noun "hero" to describe them and uses the verb "fell" as a softer way of describing their deaths. This creates a respectful impression and emphasises the fact that the poet wants to concentrate on the bravery of the soldiers.

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

  • Question 9

The poet wants honour to be a main theme of the poem, as he believes that it is important that the soldiers receive it.

 

The poet asks:

 

"When can their glory fade?" 

 

 

war memorial

 

What is the effect of this quotation?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
The poet suggests that the bravery of the men will never be forgotten
EDDIE SAYS
This quotation encourages the reader to think about what the men deserve for dying so bravely. 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.
  • Question 10

Honour is presented again in the following quotation:

 

"Honour the Light Brigade"

 

​How does the narrator use the theme of honour 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 poem finishes with a reminder of the main point the poet makes. He uses an imperative command to remind the reader that they should "Honour the Light Brigade" which creates a sense of importance and urgency. The word "honour" emphasises how the poet feels about the soldiers and how he believes they are more important than the officer who gave the incorrect command.

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

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