- Slides: 11
Nettles by Vernon Scannell
Lesson Purposes • Recap on some poetic terminology. • Explore the meaning of an anecdote. • Analyse the structure of a poem.
Terminology – Anecdote A short amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person. Why would this be effective?
Recap 1. How could the use of enjambment link to the meaning of a poem? 2. Define the term caesura. 3. If the rhyme scheme is inconsistent, how could this link to the meaning of the poem? 4. Why is imagery effective?
Analysing the title! Nettles
What is the poem about? • This is a short poem describing a father’s anger at his son being stung by nettles and his aggressive reaction to the nettles. • Ultimately, the poem is about trying to protect your children, but realising you won’t be able to protect them from everything, all of the time.
Nettles My son aged three fell in the nettle bed. ‘Bed’ seemed a curious name for those green spears, That regiment of spite behind the shed: Look at the It was no place for rest. With sobs and tears use of The boy came seeking comfort and I saw punctuation White blisters beaded on his tender skin. in this poem. We soothed him till his pain was not so raw. How does At last he offered us a watery grin, this have an And then I took my billhook, honed the blade impact on the And went outside and slashed in fury with it meaning and Till not a nettle in that fierce parade tone of the Stood upright any more. And then I lit poem? A funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead, But in two weeks the busy sun and rain Had called up tall recruits behind the shed: My son would often feel sharp wounds again.
Nettles – Punctuation Analysis My son aged three fell in the nettle bed. ‘Bed’ seemed a curious name for those green spears, That regiment of spite behind the shed: It was no place for rest. With sobs and tears The boy came seeking comfort and I saw White blisters beaded on his tender skin. The enjambment creates a sense of continuation, the role as a protector never seems to end for the father. The use of the caesura creates an emotional impact and emphasises the father’s lack of control, especially when reflecting on the fact that there is no ‘rest’.
‘My son aged three fell in the nettle bed. ’ 1. Underline the key words in the sentence. 2. What do you learn from the sentence about what kind of relationship will feature in the poem? 3. Why is the age of the boy important? 4. What emotions does this line make you feel? How does it create these emotions without emotive vocabulary? 5. Why do you think the simplicity of this first line of the poem is effective? 6. How do you expect the poem to continue? Have your expectations changed since you considered the title? If so, what has made a difference?
Developed response – Explore the key emotions in this poem. Write three analytical paragraphs. Use the questions below as prompts for what you could focus on. 1. Which words or phrases in the poem express emotions? Which are the emotions of the child and which are the emotions of the parent? 2. What are the feelings of the poet towards the nettle bed? How do you know? Look for words or phrases that give you these ideas. 3. What is theme of the poem? How do you know? 4. How would you describe the writer’s voice in this poem?
Remember to structure your paragraphs clearly… • Topic sentence • Embedded quotation • Zoomed in analysis Here is an example… The use of the caesura creates an emotional impact and emphasises the father’s lack of control when protecting his son. The father refers to the ‘nettle bed’ as a place for no ‘rest’. The connotations of the noun ‘bed’ link to comfort, safety and calmness. The juxtaposing statement about a lack of rest could be symbolic to the father’s role as a protector, he feels frustrated because he was unable to stop his son from getting stung. The lack of rest could link to the father’s continuous determination to stop his son from experiencing any harm.