Unseen poem What do you think the speaker feels about her daughter growing up and how does she present these feelings to the reader? (18 marks)
What got you the marks • Examiners are encouraged to reward any valid interpretations. Answers might, however, include some of the following: A01 • Use of age at the start to create the sense of vulnerability • The idea of bicycle as a metaphor for journey through life • Contrast between the daughter’s enjoyment and mother’s fear • Presentation of life as energy, fun, excitement, contrasted with ideas about danger A02 • Use and effects of vulnerable imagery: ‘wobbled’, ‘smaller’, ‘breakable’ • Use of assonance in ‘rounded’, ‘wobbled’ • Contrast of ‘screaming’ and ‘laughter’ • Use of structure to create sense of journey / distance • Use of present participles to create sense of life force • Effects of last line
To A Daughter Leaving Home Look again: what techniques have been used? When I taught youat eight to ridea bicycle, loping alongbeside youas you wobbled awayon two round wheels,my own mouth roundingin surprise when you pulledahead down the curvedpath of the park,I kept waitingfor the thudof your crash as Isprinted to catch up,while you grewsmaller, more breakablewith distance,pumping, pumpingfor your life, screamingwith laughter,the hair flappingbehind you like ahandkerchief wavinggoodbye.
What went well • Great responses • Generally clear understanding of the poem • Good awareness of AO1 and AO2 • Good attempts to consider other interpretations • Generally accurate SPaG
Even Better If • Use PEE+E+OI structure. Plus introduction and conclusion. • Embed quotations into the flow of your sentence. • Put detail into your explanations. How does your quotation support the point you have made? • Use technical language: learn your glossary. • Write academically: use ‘the reader’ rather than ‘you’. Avoid contractions. • Use a range of connectives and do not forget to use paragraphs. • Quotations should be in single quotation marks. • Poem title should be in single quotation marks and capitalised. • Use the ‘poet’ rather than the ‘writer’. • Analyse systematically and plan your response. • ANSWER THE QUESTION!
Model A* paragraph • In the poem, the parent feels helpless as her child becomes more independent and reluctant to let go. As the girl pedals away on her bike, the mother ‘sprinted to catch up.’This depicts her reluctance to let go has the effect of suggesting the on-going battle that the parent has allowing her child to grow up both physically and metaphorically. Furthermore, as the child ‘grew smaller,’ this helplessness is reinforced and she can now only watch as her daughter gets further away. The poet has used this oxymoron to depict the sense of the bike ride putting physical distance between the parent and child but also the metaphorical distance between them as the daughter grows to maturity. However, there is a suggestion that the parent expects the child to fail and that her inability to protect her will make her ‘more breakable’ rather than believing that her child is equipped to cope with life’s trials.
D.I.T • Read my comments and choose one of the following improvement tasks that is most appropriate to your development: • Rewrite one of your paragraphs ensuring that you use PEE+E+OI • Rewrite your introduction and/or conclusion ensuring that you have addressed the question. • Rewrite a paragraph embedding your quotation.
To A Daughter Leaving Home The poem ‘To a Daughter Leaving Home’ by Linda Pastan, is an emotional poem seemingly about a daughter leaving home. The voice in the poem is that of a parent who remembers special times with her young daughter, and reflects how she was both afraid for and proud of her growing child . In this case the special time is the time when the parent was teaching the daughter how to ride a bicycle when she was eight in a park. This poem’s deeper story is about the life of the daughter and how quick the daughter’s life went by until they say goodbye. This poem is addressed to “a Daughter Leaving Home” and the poem is written to make the daughters that are leaving their homes, reflect upon their own lives, how they have gone through them and how they have kept in touch with their parents. In this poem poetic devices help translate this story into the actual message. In the poem, the parent goes beside the daughter as she rides her bicycle, and the daughter “wobbled away”. This example of imagery has generated an image of the daughter not in full control of how she is riding the bicycle. As she goes, the parent is surprised to see that the daughter has gone down a “curved path of the park”. The poet Linda Pastan has used “curved path” as a symbol to represent life. Linda Pastan has used a “curved path” to symbolise life as a fun, dangerous and unpredictable path, that is not does not go in one straight line. The parent is clearly worried about the daughter’s safety and “kept waiting for a thud of your crash”. Which suggests that they are worried and panicked about the daughter getting hurt, which in this situation seems likely. The parent goes sprinting after the daughter who becomes “smaller, more breakable.” The daughter is fragile in the parent’s eyes and out of reach. But the daughter continues to go independently on her bicycle: “pumping, pumping”. She goes on with her life “screaming with laughter”. This is making the parent feel as if they are the only one that realizes that the daughter is in danger, because the daughter is on a bicycle that she has barley learned how to ride she can easily fall and hurt her self. The deeper meaning in that is, as she got older, she was going through life independently, a life the parent thought she was risking, but to the daughter it was only a joy. The daughter goes on without the parent. The daughter goes with “the hair flapping” which to the parent is a “handkerchief” waving “goodbye”. The simile “the hair flapping like a handkerchief” ties the poem together making the parent left behind sad, and the daughter having to say goodbye. The mood this creates is very emotional. It is very sad that the parent has had to say goodbye and let go both literally and metaphorically of their child. This poem can make daughters who are leaving home reflect and maybe spend sometime with their parents.