Poetry Comparative Essay Guide

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Writing A Good Comparative Essay – GCSE Poetry

You will be asked to compare two or more poems in your exam.
You could be asked to write about the presentation of themes, people or places and the importance of language.
A good comparative essay is like a multi-layered sandwich:
• BREAD - A new point.
• FILLING A - How one of your chosen poems illustrates this point.
• FILLING B - How your other chosen poem illustrates this point.
• BREAD - Your conclusion about this point.
This is what the examiners call cross-referencing - you talk about both poems all the way through your answer.
What the examiner will look for:
When marking your essay, the examiner will look to see whether you have appreciated and explored the:
• ideas
• attitudes and
…show more content…
What is the Examiner looking for in an A* response to the Poetry?

An A* response is characterised by a conceptualised, insightful and imaginative approach to the texts that combines an analytical and exploratory use of detail in each poem individually with evaluative comparison across both poems discussed in the answer.
Essentially, an A* response will set itself apart from the hundreds of other responses because it has an individual and unique approach that shows the writer has developed their own individual ideas about the texts. This approach is characterised by a confident engagement with the themes, ideas, relationships and technical construction of the poems. Equally, the writer of an A* response will show comparative skill; making links and cross referencing the poems using telling detail to form the basis of insightful comparisons between the poems.

At first this may appear daunting but with a ruthless and systematic approach it can be achieved. Essentially, the key to performing at this level is having your own ideas; if you can form your own opinions about each of the poems then you will be able to write this kind of essay. The real skill here is to marry the ideas that you have with a written style that allows you to showcase them in the examination.
You might begin and end your response with some theoretical discussion of the concept in the title question. In the case of this question, the concept is death, therefore you might begin your essay
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