Comparative Question

Report
Edwin Morgan
 A comparing/contrast question
 Ask you to discuss another poem(s) by the same poet.
 The question will select what it wants you to look at, it
might be a common theme, an opening, an effective
ending etc.
 Common themes
 Similar or contrasting beginnings/endings
 ALWAYS READ THE QUESTION THOROUGHLY.
 Quickly establish a ‘real life’ setting
 Are instamatic – brief moments captured in time as
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they unfold
Use present tense to give a sense of immediacy/
instantaneous.
Involve a journey.
Have characters that are observed by strangers and
who have a lasting impact on the narrator.
Create a sensory experience for the reader.
Both contain religious analogies.
Both contain allusions to Greek mythology.
 ‘Trio’ - The three wise men following the star on
journey to Bethlehem with gifts for baby Jesus.
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ - Stranger and persecuted/
disabled man’s journey to toilet reminds us of the
starnger who helped Jesus bear his cross on the road to
Calvary – although this is more like a descent to hell
than Heaven (however toilets are sparkling white)
 ‘Trio’ – “Orphean sprig!” – In Greek mythology
Orphean was a poet and musician who had the power
to move inanimate objects. He rescued his lover from
hell in Greek legend.
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ - The reverse journey reminds us of
the myth of Sisyphus: a sinner condemned in Tartarus
(a Hell-like place in Greek mythology) to an eternity of
rolling a boulder uphill then watching it roll back
down again. Simple things for us are, to the old man
like huge, heroic actions.
ADVICE on how to answer
 Example questions:
 With close textual reference, show how the ideas and/or language
used when presenting the theme of love in this poem are similar
and/or different to the way love is explored in another poem or
poems by Duffy.
 Jackie Kay often explores relationships in her poems. Refer briefly to
the central relationship in this poem and go on to discuss a central
relationship in at least one other poem by Jackie Kay.
 With close textual reference, discuss in what ways this poem is
similar to another poem or poems by Morgan you have studied. You
may refer to ideas and/or language in your answer.
 Choose another poem by Carol Ann Duffy which explores
the theme of love.
Show how the poet explores the theme in your chosen
poem.
 Visiting Hour is a deeply personal and emotional poem.
Choose a similar poem by MacCaig and explain how he
conveys strong emotions in that poem.
 In this poem, Morgan takes an everyday, ordinary
situation and transforms it into something special
and thought-provoking. Choose another poem by him in
which he does the same thing and explain how he adds
significance to an ordinary event.
Comparison Question
Comparison Question
Option 1
Option 2
Identify what both poems have in
common (2)
 Quote from first comparative poem and
explain how it links to question then
explain use of techniques (2)

Identify an area of similarity and explain
briefly how it is conveyed in each poem.

Support this point with evidence from
first poem (from exam) and explain the
technique and its effectiveness.

Support this point with evidence from
the other poem of your choice and
explain the technique and its
effectiveness.
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Quote from second poem and explain
how it links to question then explain use
of techniques (2)
Choose from third comparative poem
and explain how it links to question then
explain use of techniques (2)
OR

(or if you can’t think of third identify
another feature, idea, technique that
both have in common and quote and
explain from each. (2)
Repeat this process for
another area of similarity.
Another Poem(s) Question (PEE X 4)
 Identify a POINT that links to the question.
 Example
 Explain (2)
 Identify a POINT that links to the question.
 Example
 Explain (2)
 Identify a POINT that links to the question.
 Example
 Explain (2)
 Identify a POINT that links to the question.
 Example
 Explain (2)
 Candidates may choose to answer in bullet points in this
final question, or write a number of linked statements.
There is no requirement to write a “mini essay”.
 Up to 2 marks can be achieved for identifying elements of
commonality as identified in the question.
 A further 2 marks can be achieved for reference to the
extract given.
 4 additional marks can be awarded for similar references to
at least one other text/part of the text by the writer.
In practice this means:
 Identification of commonality (2)
 (eg: theme, central relationship, importance of setting,
use of imagery, development in characterisation, use
of personal experience, use of narrative style, or any
other key element...)
From the extract
1 x relevant reference to technique (1)
1 x appropriate comment (1)
 (maximum of 2 marks
OR
1 x relevant reference to idea (1)
1 x appropriate comment (1)
 from at least one other
OR
1 x relevant reference to feature (1)
1 x appropriate comment (1)
OR
1 x relevant reference to text (1)
1 x appropriate comment (1)
only for discussion of
extract)
text/part of the text:
 as above (x 2) for up to 4
marks
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ explores important social
issues. With close textual reference, discuss in
what ways this poem is similar to another poem or
poems by Morgan you have studied. You may refer
to ideas and/or language in your answer.
 Step 1
 Mention the specific area of commonality and include
what poem(s) you will be discussing. (2 marks)
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ and ‘Good Friday’ by Edwin Morgan are
both poems which explore the lack of concern society has
for those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ follows a severely disabled man in his
attempt to navigate a Glaswegian snack bar, ignored by
most around him.
 ‘Good Friday’ shows the lack of assurance even the narrator
can give a man as he drunkenly asks about the nature of
religion during Easter.
 Step 2
 Make a specific reference to the poem in front of you
(quote) and link to the question – mention techniques and
effect. (2 marks)
 In ‘In the Snack Bar’ Morgan portrays the infirm man who is
mostly ignored by those around him. Only “a few heads turn”
when the man knocks over a cup in his efforts to stand up.
 Here, Morgan’s use of the contrast of the word “few” in the
“crowded” snack bar emphasise the lack of notice or care the
patrons have for the man, even in his “long blind, hunchback
born, half-paralysed” state, as Morgan draws our attention to
with his list of the man’s ailments later in the poem, clearly
indicating how vulnerable and weak this man is.
 Step 3
 Make a reference to another poem and link to the question
– again, mention techniques and their effect. (2 marks)
 In ‘Good Friday’, the man who “flops” down beside our narrator
is also vulnerable, in the sense that he is drunk during the day
(“3pm”) and is self-conscious over his lack of education (“he’s jist
bliddy ignorant”).
 The repetition used in some of his questions, such as “ye
understand – ye understand?” emphasise his need for
understanding and acceptance from this stranger on a bus.
 Morgan also uses parenthesis here to break up this line,
indicating the man’s broken language due to his drunken state,
as well as inferring that the narrator, and others he may address,
have not given him the reassurance that he needs.
 Step 4
 Make a reference to another poem and link to the
question – again, mention techniques and their effect.
(2 marks)
 Despite repeated questions from the man, such as “I’m no
boring you, eh?”and “see what I mean?”, the narrator never
appears to reply to him – unlike the narrator who actively
helps the old man in ‘In the Snack Bar’.
 The constant questions highlight the man’s need for
reassurance, but in providing no response, Morgan
highlights how society is willing to ignore the desire
 Potential introduction (but not required)
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ and ‘Trio’ are both poems that establish
use techniques effectively to create setting, capture a
moments in the present tense and involve a journey of the
poem.
 ‘In the Snack Bar’ takes place in a crowded café, as an old,
disabled man attempts to make his way to the downstairs
toilet, amidst the ignorance of those around him. Moran
uses this incident to make a comment on the apathy of
society in relation to the vulnerable.
 ‘Trio’ observes the journey of three friends travelling
through Buchannan Street at Christmas time under the
Christmas lights, as they are observed by an unknown
narrator who takes joy from the event.
 Both ‘In the Snack Bar’ and ‘Trio’ have a sense of
immediacy through use of the present tense.
 In the Snack Bar: “A cup capsizes along the formica” this
makes the falling cup seem more urgent and allows the
reader to feel involved in the action. The use of alliteration
here helps us to picture the cup rolling and we can almost
hear the hard ‘c’ sound, which grabs the readers attention.
“Capsizes” make the action seem quite dramatic, although
ironically nobody seems to care. This represents the lack of
care that society has for what is happening around them,
which is the point Morgan is making.
 Similarly, in Trio: “Coming up Buchanan St” makes the
reader seem involved as you feel as though you are there
witnessing the bustling city centre crowds. We can relate to
the setting as it is a well known, commercial street. The
inverted word order places emphasis on ‘coming up’
depicting the action first and giving the sense that the trio
are moving up through the street and are excited to be in
this setting, as reinforced by the adverb ‘quickly.
 Another technique that is used in the opening on In
the Snack Bar and Trio is effective word choice to
describe the setting. In In the Snack Bar…
 Both poems also contain journey for each of the main
characters. ‘In the Snack Bar’ depicts…
 THIS IS TO FOLLOW…

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