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Evaluate the Effectiveness of Presentation of Themes in 'Climbing My Grandfather'

In this worksheet, students will be tested on their evaluation of themes in 'Climbing My Grandfather'. Students will be able to practice why certain words are used and the effect of these words on the theme, tone and context of the poem.

'Evaluate the Effectiveness of Presentation of Themes in 'Climbing My Grandfather'' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   English Literature

GCSE Boards:   AQA

Curriculum topic:   Poetry

Curriculum subtopic:   Love and Relationships: 'Climbing My Grandfather'

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Want to revise your theme evaluation skills in 'Climbing My Grandfather'?

 

(Hint, yes you do! Double hint, you've come to the right place to do this!)

 

 

Thought bubble

 

In this activity, you'll be able to practice your evaluating skills concerning key themes in 'Climbing My Grandfather'. This activity should allow you to practice some key skills in detecting how the writer develops key themes and presents them effectively. This is a mixed activity - some of your answers will need to be manually marked!

 

 

An evaluation template:

 

Identifying the theme ie: In 'Climbing My Grandfather', Waterhouse presents the theme of mountain climbing through the extended metaphor of the grandfather being a mountain for the speaker to climb.

 

Example i.e: The beginning of the poem, "I decide to do it for free, without a rope of net" shows this.

 

Effect i.e: The extended metaphor of mountain climbing as the main theme in the poem really emphasises the speaker equating the close relationship with his grandfather as something which requires the same physical effort as climbing a mountain. 

 

Linking the theme to the poem as a whole ie: The fact the this theme is quite prevalent throughout the poem illustrates the idea of emotional closeness as something which requires effort. The theme of mountain climbing, which requires a lot of physical exertion and danger, really highlights the exertion and hard work required to make any relationship work. 

 

 

Don't worry about making your evaluations super complex and don't get too intimidated by the example up there. It's more sophisticated, so that you have a super good example to look up to and work towards!

 

Hopefully (fingers crossed) this makes evaluating themes easier to understand. If it's still tricky, don't worry, because the activity will be filled with helpful hints and explanations that you can jot down as you do it. 

 

Remember, take your time, it's not a race!

Evaluate the theme of nature in line 7 ("to an earth-stained hand..")

 

Fill in the blanks with the correct words from below:

 

Physical

Mountaineering

Childhood memory

Earth

Sun

Metaphor

Natural

Unnatural

Now evaluate the theme of mountain climbing in the poem by filling out the blank spaces below.

 

 

Don't worry about quotation marks when you're filling the blanks.

 

Linking

Distance

Unity

Emotional

Symbolise

Link

Suggesting

Separating

Progressing

Which of the two themes below are present in line 13?

Familial love

Calmness/peace

Humour

Separation

Name one theme/motif in the poem which can only be associated with the speaker:

Familial love

Unity

Adventure

Sex

Romance

..."at his firm shoulder I rest for a while"

 

 

How might this quote present the themes of love and security. Write the one correct number in the textbox below.

 

1. The quote presents love and security as something which is negative and which the speaker rejects.

 

2. The quote suggests, through the climbing metaphor, that the speaker's grandfather is a shoulder to rely on, providing comfort and security for the speaker to rest on.

 

3. The quote suggests that the speaker is resting on his grandfather's shoulders because he is a child who is playing with his grandfather. 

"...then pull myself... to a smiling mouth to drink among teeth"

 

Tick two ways that this quote expresses the themes of peace and familial love.

The quote suggests that the grandfather is a secure and reliable figure for the speaker, through the language of nourishment

The quote uses the metaphor of the speaker being nourished or 'refreshed' by the grandfather's smile, suggesting that the grandfather and the speaker have a good bond and connection

The quote uses the metaphor of drinking to suggest that the speaker is drinking from the grandfather's teeth

The quote showcases how the speaker finds it difficult to climb his grandfather, but attempts to anyway

"...to his thick hair (soft and white at this altitude)"

 

 

Evaluate the two themes of mountain climbing and familial love: 

 

​In this quote

 

In the poem as a whole 

 

 

There are three marks. Write more than three sentences in your answer.

 

 

Hint: think about these in your answer:

 

What can be inferred about the grandfather's personality in this quote by the language used?

 

What device is used in the quote?

 

What language really reflects the imagery of mountain climbing in the quote?

"Watching clouds and birds circle"

 

 

Evaluate the theme of nature in the quote.

 

 

Think about:

 

Where is this quote situated in the poem? Beginning, middle, end?

 

What's the impact of this theme on the poem as a whole? 

 

Think about this theme in relation to the idea of mountain climbing. 

 

What effect does this theme have?

 

 

There are two marks for two sentences.

Pick one theme which remains constant/unchanging throughout the poem:

 

1. Peace

 

2. Familial love

 

3. Mountain climbing

 

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme.

 

You get another one mark for writing why or how you believe this is the unchanging theme in the poem.

Last question! 

 

Pick one theme which does change in the poem:

 

1. Familial love

 

2. Danger

 

3. Mountain Climbing

 

First, identify the correct theme. Second, give an example with two quotes throughout the poem which showcase how this theme has changed.

 

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme and two marks for identifying the two quotes.

  • Question 1

Evaluate the theme of nature in line 7 ("to an earth-stained hand..")

 

Fill in the blanks with the correct words from below:

 

Physical

Mountaineering

Childhood memory

Earth

Sun

Metaphor

Natural

Unnatural

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
How did you do? The theme of nature is an important one in the poem - it really reflects and ties in with many other themes in the poem.
  • Question 2

Now evaluate the theme of mountain climbing in the poem by filling out the blank spaces below.

 

 

Don't worry about quotation marks when you're filling the blanks.

 

Linking

Distance

Unity

Emotional

Symbolise

Link

Suggesting

Separating

Progressing

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Have a read of the summary of the blanks you've filled in and see if you agree with the points made - if so, jot them down. If not, form your own points/opinions!
  • Question 3

Which of the two themes below are present in line 13?

CORRECT ANSWER
Familial love
Calmness/peace
EDDIE SAYS
Think about how the themes in the poem develop and evolve. So, near the beginning, we have a lot of language which suggests adventure and danger. Now, we are beginning to plateau into a more restful, peaceful, loving semantic field.
  • Question 4

Name one theme/motif in the poem which can only be associated with the speaker:

Familial love

Unity

Adventure

Sex

Romance

CORRECT ANSWER
Adventure
EDDIE SAYS
It is the speaker who really displays a keen sense of adventure. When? At the beginning of the poem! What does this suggest about the speaker's age at the beginning of the poem and/or his attitudes towards his grandfather, if he views climbing him as adventurous? This theme develops into peacefulness later on in the poem. Again, what does this suggest about the way the speaker's attitudes change towards his grandfather? Have a last think about this: does the grandfather ever change his attitudes/ideas in the poem? Are the grandfather's attitudes/ideas even important in the poem, or is it all about the way the speaker views his grandfather? And if it is, why do you think Waterhouse chooses to present the poem from the speaker's point of view alone? What does it suggest about progression/change/development? Lot's of questions to get stuck into!
  • Question 5

..."at his firm shoulder I rest for a while"

 

 

How might this quote present the themes of love and security. Write the one correct number in the textbox below.

 

1. The quote presents love and security as something which is negative and which the speaker rejects.

 

2. The quote suggests, through the climbing metaphor, that the speaker's grandfather is a shoulder to rely on, providing comfort and security for the speaker to rest on.

 

3. The quote suggests that the speaker is resting on his grandfather's shoulders because he is a child who is playing with his grandfather. 

CORRECT ANSWER
2
EDDIE SAYS
This was a tricky question, but hopefully it's a valuable one, which got you thinking a little bit about the way that certain quotations represent ideas/attitudes/themes. Hopefully, it also got you thinking about the way themes bounce off each other and how they're presented, not just from the speaker's point of view, but by other voices in the poem.
  • Question 6

"...then pull myself... to a smiling mouth to drink among teeth"

 

Tick two ways that this quote expresses the themes of peace and familial love.

CORRECT ANSWER
The quote suggests that the grandfather is a secure and reliable figure for the speaker, through the language of nourishment
The quote uses the metaphor of the speaker being nourished or 'refreshed' by the grandfather's smile, suggesting that the grandfather and the speaker have a good bond and connection
EDDIE SAYS
Peace and love are implicit in this quote through metaphorical language. Look at the language of nourishment and care - the grandfather's smiling mouth provides the speaker with water, suggesting there is a relationship between the grandfather, who provides sustenance and nourishment, and the speaker. This element of comfort and positivity - the grandfather is "smiling" (look at the use of the continuous verb 'smiling' as well) really establishes a close connection between speaker and grandfather. This close connection has developed, though, Don't forget that, at the beginning, the grandfather is an intimidating and challenging figure to climb! It's only near the middle/end of the poem that the grandfather becomes a more protective and nurturing figure.
  • Question 7

"...to his thick hair (soft and white at this altitude)"

 

 

Evaluate the two themes of mountain climbing and familial love: 

 

​In this quote

 

In the poem as a whole 

 

 

There are three marks. Write more than three sentences in your answer.

 

 

Hint: think about these in your answer:

 

What can be inferred about the grandfather's personality in this quote by the language used?

 

What device is used in the quote?

 

What language really reflects the imagery of mountain climbing in the quote?

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Every time you write an evaluation, try and make sure that you assess exactly what the writer is trying to convey and how this links to the poem as a whole. In this case, Waterhouse is really enhancing the metaphor of mountaineering as we reach our peak (literally!) in the poem. The speaker is at the very top of his grandfather and the emotional connection implicit in the adjectives "soft" and "white", used to describe the grandfather's hair, really suggests that the grandfather is 1) perhaps quite old now (white hair) 2) perhaps quite soft and frail too (soft).
  • Question 8

"Watching clouds and birds circle"

 

 

Evaluate the theme of nature in the quote.

 

 

Think about:

 

Where is this quote situated in the poem? Beginning, middle, end?

 

What's the impact of this theme on the poem as a whole? 

 

Think about this theme in relation to the idea of mountain climbing. 

 

What effect does this theme have?

 

 

There are two marks for two sentences.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the way nature fits into the poem - it's presented as a peaceful summary, but, also, as a symbolic way of showing the speaker's relaxed and calm relationship with his grandfather.
  • Question 9

Pick one theme which remains constant/unchanging throughout the poem:

 

1. Peace

 

2. Familial love

 

3. Mountain climbing

 

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme.

 

You get another one mark for writing why or how you believe this is the unchanging theme in the poem.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
The theme of mountain climbing is the only one which is consistent, because it is more physical, active, and unchanging. This theme is used to symbolise the developing relationship between the speaker and grandfather. It carries other, more abstract, themes such as childhood, love and peacefulness. So: At the beginning, as the speaker is about to embark on climbing his grandfather, this ties in nicely with the theme of childhood - the imposing mountain/grandfather could be seen through a child's eyes. As the speaker climbs, he feels a sense of danger, representing emotional danger or a danger in close connections. However, he continues on and reaches a summit point, where he feels love and connection with his grandfather. No more danger is felt, because he has overcome his fears. Again, the symbolism of mountain climbing represents deeper ideas. At the end, the speaker feels a deep peace and connection with nature, which is symbolised by his physical tiredness at climbing the mountain, This reflects deeper emotions - perhaps the speaker is now an adult and really knows his grandfather, hence the reference to his "soft" and "white hair" which could be a reference to the grandfather's old age.
  • Question 10

Last question! 

 

Pick one theme which does change in the poem:

 

1. Familial love

 

2. Danger

 

3. Mountain Climbing

 

First, identify the correct theme. Second, give an example with two quotes throughout the poem which showcase how this theme has changed.

 

 

You get one mark for identifying the correct theme and two marks for identifying the two quotes.

CORRECT ANSWER
EDDIE SAYS
Think about the way that danger changes and alters as the relationship develops in the poem. At what point does danger turn to peacefulness? What does this symbolise about the relationship?
Try it ---- OR ----

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