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  1. Today we are Understanding the requirements of timed essays Learning how to annotate a poem

  2. TIMED ESSAYS • In the exam you will have to write an essay under timed conditions • You will be given a range of questions to choose from, seperated into different categories: • Prose, Drama, Poetry, Media, Non-Fiction, Language

  3. TIMED ESSAYS • It is up to YOU to select the question that best fits one of your studied texts • …however, you cannot use the same text/author for the timed essay AND the set text questions! • And you have to learn your quotes off by heart

  4. TIMED ESSAYS • The good news is you will have PLENTY of practice on this • You will know your texts inside and out by the time the exam rolls round

  5. SO WHAT IS OUR PRACTICE RUN TEXT? MEDUSA By Carol Ann Duffy

  6. Carol ann who? Carol Ann Duffy!

  7. Carol ANN DUFFY Born in Glasgow, 1955. She is the first female AND the first Scottish Poet Laureate – basically the national poet, traditionally appointed by the queen. Her poems address issues such as oppression, gender and violence in an accessible language.

  8. MEDUSA Taken from “The World’s Wife” –an anthology of poems by Duffy In this anthology mythical and historical female characters are given a new, feminist spin

  9. MEDUSA who?

  10. medusa The story of Medusa is both sad and symbolic. It comes from one of the most famous Greek myths. In Ancient Greece people believed that there were multiple gods living on Mount Olympus. These gods were responsible for everything from the sun rising to the crops growing.

  11. medusa The three ‘main’ gods were Zeus (king of the heavens), Hades (king of the underworld) and Poseidon (king of the sea). Fyi they were not great dudes

  12. medusa Zeus (and many of his family) were also known to forge relationships with mortals, sometimes without their permission. In addition to the gods there were also many monsters for mortals to cope with. Many of these monsters started out as gods and mortals who had been cursed for a mistake or moment of pride and arrogance.  

  13. Medusa was the daughter of two gods and one of three sisters. She was the only mortal of the three and said to be incredibly beautiful. She had many suitors as a result. However Medusa wasn’t interested in marriage. Instead, she wanted to serve as a priestess to the goddess Athena.  

  14. Unfortunately, her beauty caught the eye of the god Poseidon. • Despite Medusa’s pleas, Poseidon violated her inside the temple of Athena

  15. Medusa was devastated. This violation meant that she could no longer serve as a priestess. It was unlikely that any man would want to marry her now either However the worst was yet to come…

  16. Athena was furious that her temple had been disrespected and wanted vengeance • However she did not target her anger at her uncle Poseidon • Instead, her wrath fell upon Medusa

  17. The once beautiful maiden was turned into a hideous, grotesque creature • Venomous snakes grew from her head and anyone who looked directly at her was turned to stone

  18. Medusa soon became ugly on the inside too • Angry and bitter, she became a creature that mortals feared • Enter Perseus, a hero (whose father just happened to be Zeus) on a noble quest. • He was tasked with the job of killing Medusa.

  19. Perseus’ cunning ensured that he won the battle between man and monster • He decapitated Medusa by looking at her in the reflection of his shield –thus avoiding being turned to stone

  20. Perseus was called a hero… naturally

  21. Activity one • Read the poem to yourself • Remember that Duffy often uses a dramatic monologue (taking on a persona) to give us another side to a traditional story

  22. Activity two: analysis • You are now going to work in groups of four to annotate the poem • Each group will be given a specific section of the poem to look at • Use your technique list to help you!

  23. A suspicion, a doubt, a jealousygrew in my mind,which turned the hairs on my head to filthy snakesas though my thoughtshissed and spat on my scalp.

  24. My bride’s breath soured, stankin the grey bags of my lungs. I’m foul mouthed now, foul tongued,yellow fanged.There are bullet tears in my eyes.Are you terrified?

  25. Be terrified.It’s you I love,perfect man, Greek God, my own;but I know you’ll go, betray me, strayfrom home.So better for me if you were stone.

  26. I glanced at a buzzing bee,a dull grey pebble fell to the ground.I glanced at a singing bird,a handful of dusty gravelspattered down

  27. I looked at a ginger cat,a housebrickshattered a bowl of milk.I looked at a snuffling pig,a boulder rolledin a heap of shit.

  28. I stared in the mirror.Love gone badshowed me a Gorgon.I stared at a dragon.Fire spewedfrom the mouth of a mountain.

  29. And here you comewith a shield for a heart and a sword for a tongueand your girls, your girls.Wasn’t I beautifulWasn’t I fragrant and young?Look at me now.

  30. What is the speaker’s attitude to the ideas in the poem?What’s the mood and atmosphere of the poem? What creates this?

  31. Why do you think Duffy chose to write a dramatic monologue from Medusa’s point of view?

  32. Duffy’s Medusa It is for this reason that Medusa makes such a good metaphor for aging, the bitterness of betrayal and the fleeting nature of youth and beauty. If there is one theme or idea that runs through the character of Medusa it has to be loneliness. This poor woman has been forced to live apart from human society for almost the entire span of her life. Her curse did far more than make her ugly, it made her a monster to be feared by all humans. We have to ask ourselves, should we pity Medusa? What is more monstrous, Medusa or the curse?

  33. Duffy’s Medusa The reason Duffy has chosen to breathe new life into Medusa is that this is a character quite simply packed full of fascinating imagery and symbolism. She is woman, after all, who has been persecuted by both men and women and has ultimately been cursed for a combination of her youthful beauty and pride.

  34. Duffy uses groups of threes as a means to build up rhythm from the very first line. Highlights a climax is coming. Demonstrates there is a lack of trust, a bad history –has her trust been broken before? She has low self-esteem / is lacking in confidence. Negative tone/opening! ‘a suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy’ This is what turned her into a Gorgon Conflict > envy > has someone/something to fixate on Unsure of something, more definite A vague idea that something is wrong

  35. Reference to the mythological Medusa –snakes for hair Devious Dangerous Vicious ‘filthy snakes’ The destructive power of jealousy turns Medusa's hair to 'filthy snakes'

  36. Change from good (bride) to bad (soured) Connotations of soured: milk gone off, bitter taste Marriage, connotations of white: purity, innocence, naivety, beauty “my bride’s breath soured, stank” Description of another transformation from good to bad. She is turning into something terrible and monstrous.

  37. Metaphor –she kills with a look the way a bullet from a gun would Turning her own tears to stone? Harsh image which reflects her stony feelings. She is cold, closed off. “There are bullet tears in my eyes”

  38. Directs her question at her ‘perfect man, Greek God’ – reference to her husband/Perseus or possibly Poseidon Linking phase –one stanza to another. First is a rhetorical question. “Are you terrified?Be terrified” Suggestion of a threat, she wants her revenge, she is warning him of it or possibly trying to scare him

  39. Directs her question at her ‘perfect man, Greek God’ – reference to her husband/Perseus or possibly Poseidon Linking phase –one stanza to another. First is a rhetorical question. “Are you terrified?Be terrified” Suggestion of a threat, she wants her revenge, she is warning him of it or possibly trying to scare him

  40. Today we are Analysing “Medusa” Discussing the extended metaphor

  41. THE POEM • This dramatic monologue offers an unusual perspective on the Gorgon Medusa. • She is a byword for terror and ugliness, feared for her terrible looks and breath. • Duffy gives us a fresh take on the story of Medusa.

  42. In giving Medusa a chance to tell her story, Duffy asks us to consider an alternative view. • She asks us to see Medusa as a woman who, fearing betrayal by her husband, developed the terrible physical characteristics for which she is so well known.

  43. Today we are Revising the structure of Critical Essays Planning our timed essay of “Medusa”

  44. The Question!!! Choose a poem in which the speaker’s personality is gradually revealed. Show how, through the content and language of the poem, aspects of the character gradually emerge.

  45. Whaaat? Choose a poem in which the speaker’s personality is gradually revealed. Show how, through thecontent and language of the poem, aspects of the character gradually emerge.

  46. Breaking it down • We need to think about the most important techniques Duffy uses • Once we do that, we can look at individual quotations • Then we can ‘flesh out’ the analysis of each

  47. The Techniques We will focus on: • Tone • Imagery • Rhythm –enjambment