Foundation response

Your response will be structured as an essay and you should plan this before you start writing. In your essay, you must write about features of both of the poems as well as making comparisons between them. Throughout your essay, you must use short quotations from both of the poems and focus on analysing the effects of both the quotations and the poems as a whole. For a C grade, you are expected to be able to make specific links between the poems that are related to language, imagery, form or structure, not just what the poems are about; you are also required to make comments about how the writers create effects.

Planning your answer

For foundation tier, you should write about the poems individually and then make comparisons between them.

Plan A

  1. Brief introduction explaining what the poems are about (use the information given to you at the beginning of the question as your starting point for this).
  2. Names – themes and ideas in the poem, linked to language, imagery, form and structure.
  3. Names – the mood and atmosphere of the poem, linked to language, imagery, form and structure.
  4. In Oak Terrace– themes and ideas in the poem, linked to language, imagery, form and structure.
  5. In Oak Terrace– the mood and atmosphere of the poem, linked to language, imagery, form and structure.
  6. Similarities between the poems (including evidence from both poems).
  7. Differences between the poems (including evidence from both poems).
  8. A conclusion explaining your response to the poems.

Writing about individual poems

Sample answer one

Names uses stanzas of different lengths that show that the woman had different stages of her life. The poem has some long stanzas and some short stanzas so these are when her life is hard and when her life is easy. The good parts of her life go quickly and the bad parts go slowly.

Feedback

  • While the point being made here is relevant, it is not specific enough.
  • You must use evidence from the poems to support what you are saying.
  • You must explain how the quotations create different effects.

Sample answer two (improved)

Names uses stanzas of different lengths to reflect the different stages of the woman’s life, changing the atmosphere of the poem at different points: And then ‘my love’, ‘my darling’, Mother. This is from a short stanza of two lines that you read very quickly, which suggests that this part of the woman’s life went by very fast, possibly because she enjoyed it as the names she is called, such as my love suggest close relationships first with her husband and then with her children as she is called Mother. This creates a happy atmosphere as it gives the impression that she would have been happy and loved at this time. This contrasts with the last stanza of the poem when she is very old, which is longer so it is slower to read, showing that her life passed slowly at this point.

Feedback

  • This is much more detailed and specific.
  • Quotations are used to support the points being made.
  • Links are made between different parts of the poem, showing good understanding of the poem as a whole.
  • The mood is linked to the structure and language of the poem, so there is a clear focus on the bullet points given in the question.

Making comparisons between the poems

Sample answer one

Names and In Oak Terrace are similar because both are about it being hard to be old. In Names the woman ends up going to hospital, which is not a nice place to be and in In Oak Terrace the woman in the poem lives on her own so she is lonely. This shows that both of the poets think that getting old can be difficult for different reasons.

Feedback

  • A sensible point of comparison is made but the explanation of this is too brief.
  • When writing about similarities and differences between the poems, it is still important to use quotations from both of the poems to support your ideas.
  • You should still be showing understanding of how the writers create effects in the poems.

Sample answer two (improved)

Names and In Oak Terrace are similar because both are about it being hard to be old. For example, in Names the end of the woman’s life is described as those last bewildered weeks and in In Oak Terrace the woman is described as being old and alone. Both of these descriptions are negative because bewildered shows that the woman in Names is confused and therefore old age has made her lose her mental capacity, while alone in In Oak Terrace suggests that the character is isolated and suffers from loneliness due to her age because it is next to the word old. Although these are different emotions, they both show that the women in the poems are unhappy so both poems want us to think about how hard it can be to be old.

Feedback

  • This is much improved with the use of specific examples from both poems, which are linked.
  • There is a focus on how the writers have used words to create effects and the way that these are connected.
  • There is a more detailed explanation of why the poems are similar, which has been linked to the bullet points of the question (in this case, the part about the ideas of the poems).