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Model Essay

Questions are randomly drawn and systematically selected and model essays written on them to cover all the 3 genre of literature. Students and learners would have ample opportunity to draw inspiration and practically see what an A Advanced Level essay looks like.   1.COMMENT CLOSELY ON  THE POEM ,DISCUSSING WAYS IN WHICH QUEEN  ELIZABETH 1 ...

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Summary : A model essay from the AS-Songs of Ourselves CIE syllabus

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images (2)Questions are randomly drawn and systematically selected and model essays written on them to cover all the 3 genre of literature. Students and learners would have ample opportunity to draw inspiration and practically see what an A Advanced Level essay looks like.

 

1.COMMENT CLOSELY ON  THE POEM ,DISCUSSING WAYS IN WHICH QUEEN  ELIZABETH 1 PRESENTS CHANGE.

2. COMPARE WAYS IN WHICH POETS IN TWO POEMS EXPLORE EXPERIENCES OF SIGNIFICANCE.(This question is from the Cambridge International Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced Level-Paper 3 Literature in English-May/June 2016.

3.BY WHAT MEANS AND  WITH WHAT EFFECTS DOES THE FOLLOWING POEM EXPLORE LOVE.(SONNET 31).

 

MODEL ESSAY 1

Q1.COMMENT CLOSELY ON  THE POEM ,DISCUSSING WAYS IN WHICH QUEEN  ELIZABETH 1 PRESENTS CHANGE.

WHEN I WAS FAIR AND YOUNG-Queen Elizabeth

When I was fair and young, and favour graced me,

Of many was I sought their mistress for to be.

But I did scorn them all, and said to them therefore:

‘Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere; importune me no more.’

 

How many weeping eyes I made to pine in woe;

How many sighing hearts I have not skill to show,

But I the prouder grew, and still this spake therefore:

‘Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere; importune me no more.’

Then spake fair Venus’ son, that brave victorious boy,

Saying: ‘You dainty dame, for that you be so coy,

I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more:

‘Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere; importune me no more”.’

 

As soon as he had said , such change grew in my breast

That neither night nor day I could take any rest.

Wherefore I did repent that I had said before:

‘Go, go, go, seek some otherwhere; importune me no more.’

 

The poem, ‘When I was Fair and Young’ is a sort of personal confession of a lady, chronicling a life of opportunities wasted, but later marked by repentance and a lesson she wants the readers to learn from her. To an extent, one could claim that the poem, epitomizes change as a theme, as could be seen in the imagery, sound effects, form, diction/vocabulary of the poem.

The transition among the four stanzas helps to convey a pungent message of change in the poem. The first stanza sets a foundation of youthful life of exuberance, marked by pride as the persona shuns the display of affection towards her by the wooing men. The tone of pride exhibited here also supports this. The second stanza further cements this sense of pride and even the word, ’grew’ in the third line attests to this. Thus, one could see the intensity of this pride which makes her to reject flippantly, the advances of the men. The difference between this stanza and the previous one is that this is beginning to have a little ingredient of regret. The climax of the poem is actually achieved in the third stanza, where the persona’s encounter with Cupid, who is qualified as ‘Venus’s son’, brings about a turn-around or a character metamorphosis. In seeing the punishment being meted out to the lady, a sort of sympathy is aroused in the readers. The last and the fourth stanza conclusively takes a reminiscing and retrospective view of a past mistake which the persona wants her readers to learn from. This systematic transition in the four stanzas vividly conveys a process of slow process of character transformation. Here again, the tone of regret is consolidated. Thus, one could see the complementary role of form and tone in the poem to effectively present change as a theme.

The poem also explores a highly vivid imagery to present the theme of change. An effective example is found in the first line where the persona confesses how ‘favour graced’ her. This paints a picture of a simple girl, who is beautiful and well endowed, not through her own effort, but later abuses the privilege by torturing men through her aloofness and pride. The attendant effect on men is further highlighted in the second stanza, where the agony of the men is aptly captured in ‘sighing hearts’ and ‘weeping eyes’ and instead of the lady-persona, relenting, she seems to derive some pleasure in her action. One main ingredient of change shown here is her transition from a simple girl to a pompous one. For the men, the use of a continuous tense further accentuates a high depth of suffering, which almost continues indefinitely. In addition, the grass to grace experience of the lady-persona is effectively shown in the third stanza, where she is literally compared to a bird like a peacock, whose flamboyant plumes are plucked to render her ordinary and vulnerable. This is the major character change in her and this marks a turning point in her life.

The transition among the stanzas which also reflects the changes in the persona’s life is also shown in the diction. The first stanza for instance opens with the word, When, which dates the prime of the lady; a point of her youthfulness and full bloom. The second stanza also opens with How, which gives a literal picture of the change she causes in the life of the men that come in contact with her. Instructively, the effect of this is further accented by continuous tense in weeping and sighing. Ironically, the change instigated by the lady-persona in the life of others,   also induces a drastic change of pomposity in her. Then in the third stanza, prepares us for the consequence of the lady’s unwholesome action of pride and this is climaxed with the current state of the persona in the last stanza, where change as a theme is consolidated.

Apart from the above, the sound effects in the poem also support its change concern .The alliteration in the first line of the poem, in fair, favour conveys a a sense of lightness further exhibited through her flamboyance, youthful exuberance and naivety. The contrast is however presented in the ee assonance in the second stanza found in words like weeping, sighing which is symbolic of the pain inflicted on others, while she revels and gloats in self-satisfaction and adulation. The repetition of the refrain at the end of every stanza equally helps to create an effect of seeing life as constant and not all about change. In contrasting change, it draws more attention to it. In addition, it is interesting to note that while all the lines in the poem are marked by end-stops, line one in the fourth stanza is an exception and this is especially used to emphasize the expression, change grew in my breast, which once again draws the readers’ attention to what one could call one of the central themes of the poem; CHANGE.

To an extent therefore, one could vividly see how most of the literary devices employed in the poem help to complement the theme of change, which is central to the poem. The contrast between the arrogance of the first stanza and the repentant one of the last stanza is so compelling that one could not but sympathise with the persona, who is paying for a past failure and doing so, at a point in her life, when she  would probably not be able to make much amend.

MODEL ESSAY 2

Q2.(This question is from the Cambridge International Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced Level-Paper 3 Literature in English-May/June 2016.)

 COMPARE WAYS IN WHICH POETS IN TWO POEMS EXPLORE EXPERIENCES OF SIGNIFICANCE.

The two poems, When I was Fair and Young by Queen Elizabeth and Song; Go ,Lovely Rose by Edmund Waller are perceived to  have been written by an influential lady and a  man respectively and interestingly, the experience of each persona contrasts somehow with the other. When I was Fair and Young is a poem that mirrors the stark realization of a woman having made some past mistakes in her rejection of men that have importuned her for romantic relationships ,the second poem is the plight of a man that has been rebuffed by a lady and in trying to win her over, expresses his frustration thereby  revealing what awaits her if she continues in her obstinacy.

One dominant theme in both poems is the role of love in the personal happiness of the personas. It is so pungent that finding love is akin to their existence and this runs through the two poems. For the lady-persona in the first poem, upon her realization of her error of rejecting men, she loses her peace, that neither night nor day I could take any rest. It is a point where she now realizes that love is equal to existence itself. For the second poem, the driving theme is still love and this is captured in the seriousness the persona employs in wooing his lover. It gets to a point where the love he claims to have for the object of his attention almost turns to outright hatred, due to the lady’s cold attitude.

Though both poems are built round love, the tone at times could give a contrary perspective. The persona in the first poem is so imbued with pride she speaks in anger to her suitors, ‘Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more.’, though later she repents her action. This is different  with the persona in the first stanza, where his tone dilates between admonition, frustration and extreme anger even to the point of death- Then die! For both poems, it must be noted the driving force of the tone is love, though expressed in different ambiguous ways, to reflect their heightened emotional states.

In the same vein, the best way the two poems could probably express themselves is by being rather dramatic. There is the passion with which the lady in the first poem sends her suitors away in  ‘Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more and the impactful words of Cupid who decides to pluck her wings. By making him to speak directly, the realism of the situation is made more  pungent to the reader , that it not merely a speculation or a suggestion, but a sort of pronouncement  from a god-like creature with supernatural influence. For the second poem, the opening tone of Go, lovely rose! sends a rather contradictory tone  of both affection and desperation, with an underlying message of warning to the lady to change her obstinate ways. One could imagine the delicate, inanimate plant being sent on this unpalatable errand to an unwilling lady-lover. The same passion and force is implied, where out of exasperation, the male-persona blurts out: Then die! which is not directly wishing death on the lady-lover, but rather insinuating a psychological situation that would befall her, due to isolation from male attention.

Both poems also employ an array of sensitive imagery to express their thoughts. The point of realization for the lady is where she loses her pride probably due to loss of her beauty ,which is captured thus: I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more: The symbolism of a peacock known for its pride is implied here and with the plumes plucked, the persona is rendered somehow naked and vulnerable. However for the second poem, the symbol of the rose is applied. This flower is known for its beauty, fragility and at the same time its thorns. All these attributes are explored by the male-persona to drive home his persuasion goal. He continually implies that if the young lady whose beauty is currently at its peak does not appreciate her suitor, she may die unappreciated and the fate of the lady in the first poem may befall her.

Some two personas in the poems are also somehow similar in their insensitivity to the feeling of their suitors. The lady in the first poem is carried away by her beauty and youth to the point where her refrain becomes: Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more, to her men. However, there is a change of heart having realized her folly. The other poem also follows the same trend, though this time round, the persona is probably still young and in her prime beauty-wise. She feels she still has all the time in the world to reject men, while the other   lady feels her time is up. This contrast presents the attitude of a typical Victorian lady to her suitors by playing hard -to- get. It also shows varying attitudes of ladies from different age groups.

The two poems, Song: Go, Lovely Rose!  And When I Was Fair And Young reflect the plight of the two genders  and interestingly, shows that the pang of love or its rejection is not peculiar to any sex and while the first poem presents an older lady who realizes her youthful error ,this is not the case with the youthful lady who rebuffs the love advances of her suitor till the end.

Q3.The two poems, When I was Fair and Young by Queen Elizabeth and Song; Go ,Lovely Rose by Edmund Waller are perceived to  have been written by an influential lady and a  man respectively and interestingly, the experience of each persona contrasts somehow with the other. When I was Fair and Young is a poem that mirrors the stark realization of a woman having made some past mistakes in her rejection of men that have importuned her for romantic relationships . The second poem is the plight of a man that has been rebuffed by a lady and in trying to win her over, expresses his frustration and revealing what awaits her if she continues in her obstinacy.

One dominant theme in both poems is the role of love in the personal happiness of the personas. It is so pungent that finding love is akin to their existence and this runs through the two poems. For the lady-persona in the first poem, upon her realization of her error of rejecting men, she lost her peace, that neither night nor day I could take any rest. It is a point where she now realizes that love is equal to existence itself. For the second poem, the driving theme is still love and this is captured in the seriousness the persona employs in wooing his lover. It gets to a point where the love he claims to have for the object of his attention almost turns to outright hatred due to the lady’s cold attitude.

Though both poems are built round love, the tone at times could give a contrary perspective. The persona in the first poem is so imbued with pride she speaks in anger to her suitors, ‘Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more.’, though later she repents her action. This is not the same with the persona in the first stanza, where his tone dilates between admonition, frustration and extreme anger even to the point of death- Then die! For both poems, it must be noted the driving force of the tone is love, though expressed in different ambiguous ways to reflect their heightened emotional states.

In the same vein, the best way the two poems could probably express themselves is by being rather dramatic. There is the passion with which the lady in the first poem sends her suitors away in  ‘Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more and the impactful words of Cupid who decides to pluck her wings. By making him to speak directly, the realism of the situation is made more  pungent to the reader , that it not merely a speculation or a suggestion, but a sort of pronouncement  from a god-like creature with supernatural influence. For the second poem, the opening tone of Go, lovely rose! sends a rather contradictory tone  of both affection and desperation, with an underlying message of warning to the lady to change her obstinate ways. One could imagine the delicate, inanimate plant being sent on this unpalatable errand to an unwilling lady-lover. The same passion and force is implied, where out of exasperation, the male-persona blurts out: Then die! which is not directly wishing death on the lady-lover, but rather insinuating a psychological situation that would befall her, due to isolation from male attention.

Both poems also employ an array of sensitive imagery to express their thoughts. The point of realization for the lady is where she loses her pride probably due to loss of her beauty ,which is captured thus: I will so pluck your plumes as you shall say no more: The symbolism of a peacock known for its pride is implied here and with the plumes plucked, the persona is rendered somehow naked and vulnerable. However for the second poem, the symbol of the rose is applied. This flower is known for its beauty, fragility and at the same time its thorns. All these attributes are explored by the male-persona to drive home his persuasion goal. He continually implies that if the young lady whose beauty is currently at its peak does not appreciate her suitor, she may die unappreciated and the fate of the lady in the first poem may befall her.

Some two personas in the poems are also somehow similar in their insensitivity to the feeling of their suitors. The lady in the first poem is carried away by her beauty to the point where her refrain becomes: Go, go, go, seek some other where; importune me no more, to her men. However, there is a change of heart having realized her folly. The other poem also follows the same trend, though this time round, the persona is probably still young and in her prime beauty-wise. She feels she still has all the time in the world to reject men, while the other   lady feels her time is up. This contrast presents the attitude of a typical Victorian lady to her suitors by playing hard to get. It also shows different attitudes of ladies from the influence of their age.

The two poems, Song: Go, Lovely Rose!  And When I Was Fair And Young reflect the plight of the two genders  and interestingly  it shows that the pang of love or its rejection is not peculiar to any sex and while the first poem presents an older lady who realizes her youthful error ,this is not the case with the youthful lady who rebuffs the love advances of her suitor till the end.

MODEL ESSAY 3

BY WHAT MEANS AND  WITH WHAT EFFECTS DOES THE FOLLOWING POEM EXPLORE LOVE.(SONNET 31).

Sonnet 31

By Philip Sidney

                                              With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb’st the skies!

How silently, and with how wan a face!

What, may it be that even in heavenly place

That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?

Sure, if that long-with-love acquainted eyes

Can judge of love, thou feel’st a lover’s case,

I read it in thy looks; thy state descries.

Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,

Is constant love deemed there but want of wit?

Are beauties there as proud as here they be?

Do they above love to be loved, and yet

Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?

Do they call virtue there ungratefulness?

Sonnet 31 is built round the experience of the persona, a victim of love-sickness who finds company in the Moon, as he observes its movement and countenance .By interrogating the moon, he also uses it to compare his unfortunate love experience in the area of betrayal, unfaithfulness and unrequited love to what is obtainable in the spiritual realm. Through this monologue, he attempts to create a sense of camaraderie with a higher being, the Moon.

The form of the poem aptly captures a systematic step of finding the solution to his own unpalatable love experience. The first quatrain starts what is supposed to be an observation of the moon’s sluggish mien and the consequent speculation of the possibility of the moon having been struck by Cupid’s arrow. The following quatrain presents the somehow rash conclusion on the state of the moon, with the opening word, ‘Sure’ from the symptoms of love, which he himself must be experiencing. The last quatrain follows the trend of the previous one, but this time round with a surer confirmation of the moon sharing the  same love  malady with him and this gives him the confidence to begin to ask questions pertaining to love. This tone continues through the concluding couplet of the persona trying to demystify love from a woman’s perspective.

The varying pervading tone of the poem equally helps to accentuate the theme of love which is central to it. The keen sense of observation of the persona helps to mark the agony of love, which he is experiencing and this is reflected in the tone filled with much agony, especially in  the  impact of the ‘sharp arrows’ which he currently still carries. Having the realisation that the moon shares the same symptoms with him, he seems now confident to open up and this is reflected in the agonising questions  that he has for the moon and this continues till the end of the poem.

The sound effects in the poem effectively complement its tone in the manner that  love is represented. With ample application of ceasuras, exclamations, end-stops and rhetorical questions, the poem is able to successfully create a sense of surprise  the persona feels about the love-struck moon’s condition. Precisely, the slow melancholy mood of the moon and its accompanying shock are effectively depicted in the caesuras and exclamation marks used in the first to the second lines of the poem. These are equally well complemented by a lot of rhetorical questions and end-stops. All these help to present the mysterious nature of love, which is the riddle the persona is trying to unravel and the confusion continues till the last line of the poem.

Apart from the dramatic nature of the poem,it also employs quite a lot of vivid imagery.This is mostly achieved through the apt personification of the moon as seen in its movement, ‘thou climb’st the skies’ and of course its ‘wan face’. All these present the quintessential picture of a man who is truly in love, reminiscent of the middle age lover. Though one may see these descriptions as a portrayal of the condition of the persona, yet he is being indirect about it, but the message for the reader would be that, if a celestial body like the moon could be susceptible to the wiles of love, then one could only imagine the impact it could have on humans. Love as such is presented as a malady that rules over everything ,be it humans or superhuman

In employing a rather simple and accessible diction, the monologue form of the poem is   enhanced. This is further achieved with the apostrophe of the personal addressing the moon, giving a conversational tone. In addition, to create a deep and intense emotional turmoil caused by the vagaries of love, the poem employs quite a lot of epithets which are descriptive and vivid in sad, wan, heavenly, sharp, love-acquainted, lover,languished etc. It is also salient to note the interrogatory tone of the poem, round which one could say the entire poem, is built. The effect of this is that, rather than starkly make the readers to see only the agony of a love- struck personality, they are also made to see a shared-experience of how love affects all, thereby mitigating the harrowing experience of the persona and making it rather tolerable.

Generally, the literary strength of the poem is built round the effect manner in which it tactically shifts attention from the person to the moon and vicariously presents his plight. This style engenders a lot of effects such as downplaying the abuse he suffers from love, by insinuating that after all, no one is immune to the abuse of love.Love is therefore presented as an omnipotent being, capable of subjugating not  only mortals,but also celestial beings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 comments

  1. This is a insightful analysis which touches upon aspects of structure, form and language quite well.

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