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An Analysis: Winter Swans by Owen Sheers

The poem begins with the weather mimicking the emotion of the couple: ‘The clouds had given their all –’. At a literal level, this image is referencing how the clouds have expended all of their rain. However, at a more symbolic level it reflects how the couple are emotionally exhausted and how the relationship is... Continue Reading →

Teaching Compare and Contrast via Passing References

Most, if not all, English Literature specifications at GCSE and A Level require the student to make points of connection between two texts, something either explicitly stated in the specification or implied through the format of the question. Given its prevalence, making apt and stylistically fluid textual comparisons is an aspect of essay writing that... Continue Reading →

Analysing the News in The Handmaid’s Tale

There are certain moments in a text that could easily be passed by without much thought or attention, but when dwelled over reveal themselves to be surprisingly, teasingly, significant. There is just such a moment in Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, copied below and taken from Chapter 14: First, though, a little context: this takes place... Continue Reading →

An Analysis: When We Two Parted by Lord Byron

Context & Plot Byron's fellow Romantic poet William Wordsworth once remarked that poetry was the ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ and one notices that in this poem the speaker is certainly coming to terms with ‘powerful feelings’.Byron was known to be an especially licentious and promiscuous individual and thus it is no surprise to find... Continue Reading →

An Analysis: Neutral Tones by Thomas Hardy

Context, Plot and Connections Despite being best known as a novelist, Hardy also had a fruitful poetic career. This particular poem is very typical of his general style as evident in other works: it is bleak, melancholy and pessimistic.What is the poem about? The speaker recalls a memory of when he and his lover stood... Continue Reading →

An Analysis: Mother, Any Distance

This poem is from the 1993 collection Book of Matches so titled because each poem is supposed to be read in twenty seconds, the time it takes for a match to burn. This is significant for this particular poem since the collection deals with time passing (hence the match image) as does ‘Mother, any distance’.... Continue Reading →

5 Essential An Inspector Calls Quotations

There are many, many rich and powerful moments in An Inspector Calls that demand detailed analysis and exploration. The below gets to grips with just some of the things we could say about five absolutely key quotations in the play. Number One: When you’re married you’ll realize that men have important work to do sometimes... Continue Reading →

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