11.00 Baldovan notes

taken from http://flickrhivemind.net/Tags/dundee,helmsdaledave/Interesting

The poems title is very appropriate to the central concerns of the poem – them being time and place. The title speaks of the time they will get the bus 11:00. There could also be another reference here to time – the eleventh hour as at the end of the poem the world has become very apocalyptic with everyone dying. The poem also focuses on a journey, with the destination quite clearly being marked out as Baldovan.

The sense of adventure is introduced in lines 1 with the phrase “base Camp” to describe the bus stance. It suggests that this is where they are starting out from and where they will return to after a voyage, like they are scaling Everest or going on an expedition. This idea is further created with the “steel flag” in line two. This suggests they have somehow conquered this land and are claiming it as their own before they go out exploring

The list in lines 5-8 describes the different types of coins the boy has. This creates a sense that the boy feels incredibly wealthy. It is also quite humorous as actually what the boy is carrying around is small change, but he feels he possesses a lot of money.

At the start of the poem there was a tone of excitement and adventure. This has changed to a sense of uneasiness. The word ‘however’ is placed right at the start of the line to emphasise the contradiction about to come. The boys are going on an adventure on the bus, but now they feel apprehensive about getting on it. He describes his worry as ‘obscure’ suggesting that there is no real reason to worry about getting on the bus as it is such an ordinary activity yet they have never done it before and are slightly freaked out about having to do it alone. The speaker also lists the questions he asks, showing he is unsure of what to do.

There is a metaphor in line 19 that conveys the speaker’s fears of travelling to a new place. He describes their destination as “another country”. They are not really travelling to a foreign place but he sees it as being somewhere spiritually different from his home and so associates it with the ‘other’. He then goes on to describe how the streets “suddenly forget their names”. This is a transferred epithet as in actuality the boys have forgotten the name of the streets in this foreign place. There is a sense of aggression in line 22 as the shopkeeper shows hostility in his “shaking” fist when they ask for sweeties he cannot identify. A more sympathetic shopkeeper would have offered the boys help. He then “calls his wife through” suggesting they will now mock the boys or chase them.

The parallel structure and repetition of ‘and’ in lines 21-30 creates a sense of growing panic. There is no break at all in these lines and the sense of terror is created through the lack of breath as much as the growing list of things that could go wrong. The ‘and’ connects a very graphic list of things that are not quite right in this new future world where the boys have found themselves. There is the old apocalyptic looking bus, the physical changes to their own bodies, the “black waves” which will suck them under and the lack of their families.

The sense of being in a nightmare is already established in line 24 when the speaker says ‘ever make it home again’. The word choice here gives a sense that there is a possibility of not returning to where they came from and that they might remain lost forever. The catastrophic image is then introduced with the word choice “charred wreck” to describe the bus. ‘charred’ suggests it has been physically burnt out and there is a possibility that someone has done this to the bus, physically inflicting harm upon it. The word ‘wreck’, short and simple, shows just how badly damaged the machine is. There is a sense that the boys no longer recognise themselves when it read ‘our voices sound funny’ they don’t understand to begin with why they sound so strange. It is of course because they have grown up into men and their voices have broken. The final nightmarish image is introduced in the last line – ‘our sisters and mothers are fifty years dead’. Their family has died and there is no one familiar near them. This last line is particularly significant as the family members singled out are female which could also suggest that the nurturing figures in their life are no longer present, making them feel incredibly vulnerable.

At the start of the poem the speaker seems very self-assured and in control of himself. There is only the slightest hint of worry at travelling without an adult. There is a tone of confidence in the phrase ‘first time ever on our own’. The emphasis on ever and own hint at the pride he feels doing this. There is then a simple statement ‘I plan to buy comics, sweeties and magic tricks’ which show he has a clear line of thought about what he intends to do when he gets to Baldovan. The creeping doubt kicks in nearer the turning point when he begins to list worries and questions – ‘where we should we sit, when to pull the bell’. Here we can see him worrying about what it is he should do when he gets on the bus, he isn’t sure about how to take responsibility for himself. After the turning point there is a genuine feeling of alarm. The speaker describes the streets as ‘wrong’ showing that he feels alienated from them. He reinforces this feeling with the phrase ‘no one will have heard of the sweets we ask for’. The blanket term that everyone in this new world will not have heard of the things they ask for shows that they are in an alien territory. The shop keepers speech to his wife ‘come her and see this’ again suggests that the boys are something to be mocked and that they are different and strangers in a world where nothing is familiar as the locals don’t take kindly to them.

Nil Nil notes

taken from https://www.haemophilia.ie/content.php?id=5&article_id=231&level3_id=232

The poem is about football and this title references a scenario in which both teams lose. Both the stories contained within the poem are about nothingness which is reflected in the title of double zero. Also the fact that the poem deals with two stories that both end in nothing is shown here as there is an idea of two teams (stories) being played.

Both the plane and the football club start on a high but by the end of the poem they are nothing.

In line 18 we find out that Farquhar has died and that he has probably been forgotten about. This is emphasised by the tone and word choice of ‘name-check in Monday’s obituaries’. There is an image here that he has grown old and that he has been forgotten about. The only thing he will be remembered for – name-checked- is his “spectacular bicycle kick”. Farquhar is later portrayed as a villain in the poem. He somehow manages to score an “own-goal” in a later match. He has sabotaged his team’s chances of winning when they are already on a losing streak.

The poet helps us to understand that the clubs fortunes have diminished over time by using a really long list. He lists all the things you can now see at a game “big tartan flasks, open hatchbacks, the half-time Satsuma, the dog on the pitch…” all this suggests that the atmosphere has gone a bit stale and that the team is now only playing at amateur level.
The word choice to describe this decline is also worth noting. Paterson calls it the “fifty year slide”. The decline is taking a long time to happen, and the slide part suggests that they have no control over it and cannot prevent it from happening.

Paterson uses specific word choice in his opening line to establish straight away that the club is experiencing success and glory. He opens with the phrase “from the top”. This suggests that the team is at the height of their game and are doing the best they possibly can. This idea is further reinforced with the phrase “the zenith” again suggesting that these men have reached the peak, no one can beat them. The team are clearly well supported as Paterson speaks of a “plague of grey bonnets”, the word “plague” suggests an epidemic of people so we know the grounds are swarming with supporters. The word “majestic” is also used to describe the skills of one of the players. This word bears connotations of being god-like and great or important. This tells us that the team holds a high position and is doing well.

The epilogue is very effective at summing up the central concern of nothingness in the poem. The speaker in the poem is addressing us directly after telling us the story of the club and plane descending into nothingness. He too is about to disappear into nothingness. He talks of “the failing light”, – the coming night will be complete darkness, “the trail as it steadily fades” – the path disappears, and then eventually mentions “nirvana” the state of non-being. All of this highlights and reinforces the idea that eventually all of us, no matter what, will become nothing.

In lines 19-23, Paterson is describing the decline of the football team. There is sense of humour and irony here as he describes the “spell of giant killing” as a “setback”. He is looking upon the teams short spell of victories as a bad thing because it causes a blip in their steady fall from the top. This is ironic as really this should be something to celebrate, the team are doing well. There is also humour in the mock heroic word choice. “spell of giant killing”. The team are not really knights fighting a deathly battle against huge beings, but a small football team challenging another football team. It makes it sound like the football matches were difficult and epic battles.

The idea of a decline is further established in lines 44-49. The team has been reduced to one wee boy “swanking” home on his own from the field that now acts as the football pitch. The town from which the football club once hailed has also fallen into decline, mirroring the demise of the club. We are told that he walks past “stopped swings, the dead shanty-town/ of allotments, the black shell of Skelly Dry Cleaners/ and into the cul-de-sac”. The “stopped swings” hints that once upon a time this area was lively with children playing but now they no longer come outside. The use of “dead” to describe the allotments also suggests this lack of life, and the “shanty-town” to describe the allotments appearance suggests great dilapidation has taken place. The Dry Cleaners that once sponsored the team has now gone bust as there is only a “shell” left, letting us know they are now empty. The word choice “black” lets us know it is darkness and could hint that it has actually been burned down so the area is now invaded by hoodlums who wreck what is left. Dramatic epithet is also used as the boy trudges home in “rain” which suggests a sad and dreary mood and setting for the poem at this point.

The Feryman’s Arms notes

taken from httptamowicz.deviantart.comartThe-Ferryman-Charon-393146852

An ominous and foreboding atmosphere is created in the first ten lines when the speaker states “I stood with my back turned”. This suggests to the reader that there could be something behind the speaker, waiting to attack or approach him. It is reminiscent of the horror scene in which the attacker can be seen lurking behind the victim.

There is a very clear sense of duality in the first ten lines of the poem. This begins in the phrase “with ten minutes to kill”. This is a double agent. The speaker is saying that he has a lot of spare time before the ferry comes and he needs something to fill it. However in reality it is time that kills us, as we age or get ill. The duality is continued with “I took myself on for the hell of it”. There is a clear image here of a man in a pub playing himself at pool. There are two of him – there is even a hint that he could be playing for his life further on in the poem.

The first image of death in the first ten lines appears when the speaker states “I was magnetized by a remote phosphorescence/and drawn, like a moth, to the darkened back room.” Here the speaker compares himself to a moth and the back room of the pub to a light which attracts the moth. However, given that there is an overtone of Greek mythology and death to this poem a deeper reading of this simile shows us that actually it is his soul that is moving towards the light. There are also echoes of the western idea of being pulled towards the light when you have died.
The second image of death appears in the phrase ‘a striplight/ batted awake in its dusty green cowl”. The metaphor which the light fitting becomes a cowl is suggestive of death’s hood and robe.

In lines 11-20 the speaker states that “the black did the vanishing trick”. The word choice here could simply be talking about the ball being pocketed. However it could be a metaphor for the life of the player ending. This is his passage from the real world – the green felt of the pool table – into the underworld – the inner mechanics of the pool table.

The ferry’s arrival is made to sound sinister through word choice. We are told that it arrives from “somewhere unspeakable”. The place from which the ferry has come is unnameable. It suggests through the ‘unspeakable’ that it is physical impossible or painful in some way to utter the name. The sibilance in these two words also adds to that idea, as they are almost hissed out again making it sound like the ferry has arrived from somewhere dangerous or disagreeable.

The light colours in this poem are all associated with life where as the darker colours come to be associated with death. In the first stanza the colours are mostly associated with the pool balls. The coloured balls are used to represent those who are still living, whereas the black ball is eventually potted and is put inside the table – or to use the wider analogy of this poem, the black ball who represents the speaker is taken to the underworld. Even the green felt of the table and light fitting come to represent life as opposed to the blackness of death. There is a clear simile in the final stanza, where the sea is compared to the “black” of the speaker’s guiness. Both the sea and the drink are able to hide things within their depths.

One of the allusions to a Greek myth is when the speaker ‘slots a coin in the tongue’ of the pool table. In Greek times the dead would have had coins placed on their eyes. These were to pay Charon, the ferryman, who would take them along the river Styx and into the Underworld. Here instead the speaker pays the pool table with the coins before he gets on his own ferry.

10 marker sample answer

taken from http://www.catherinetan.com/otherprojects/wama/

Some of you may still be struggling with the ten marker questions at Higher. Below is a reminder of how to complete it with a sample answer.

First 2 marks – identify the commonality, the thing that links both the poems you are using. Make it very clear how it is shown in both poems.

Next 2 marks – show how this commonality is demonstrated in the poem in front of you. Do this by quoting a relevant section or phrase and then analyse it in detail.

The remaining 6 marks are best split into 3 lots of 2 marks OR 2 lots of 3 marks. Referring to the other poem you are using, show how it demonstrates the commonality by quoting a relevant section or phrase and then analyse it in detail. The amount of detail in your analysis will determine whether you get 3 or 2 marks in this section.

In this poem, Paterson uses an apparently ordinary experience to explore a deeper truth about humanity. By referring to this and another poem or poems by Don Paterson you have studied discuss how he uses poetry to explore the deeper truths behind ordinary experience.

The Ferryman’s Arms and Nil Nil are two poems by Don Paterson. Each of them take an apparently everyday event and turn it into a deeper look at our lives. The Ferryman’s Arms would appear to be about a man waiting in an island pub for the Ferry that will fetch him home, however a deeper reading of the text reveals that it could actually be about dying. A similar truth is revealed in Nil Nil when Paterson suggests that everything will fade to nothing through the tale of a declining football team and a devastating spitfire crash during WW2. Both poems then could be read as teaching us about death or nothingness.
In The Ferryman’s Arms there is a clear reference to death when Paterson writes about being drawn to the pool room “like a moth”. This simile is effective on two levels. First of all he is comparing himself to a moth and the pool room to a light. This suggests that he can’t help himself in finding something to fill ten minutes. On a deeper reading though, the poem has multiple references to Greek mythology and we see that here as a moth represents the soul and we could read it as his soul being taken somewhere. There is another idea of death here as well as the moth is being ‘pulled towards the light’ just like the western euphemism for death.
In Nil Nil there is an idea of nothingness or death introduced straight away in the phrase “plague of grey bonnets”. Here Paterson has used a metaphor and word choice to shape his idea. The “plague” of grey bonnets is the spectators’ hats but the word “plague” suggests they are a disease which will eradicate the football. There are connotations of a “plague of locusts” which leave nothing behind when finished. The colour “grey” is also nondescript again hinting at the nothingness to come.
At the end of Nil Nil there is a definite image of nothingness or death as the speaker addresses us directly in the phrases “failing light,” the trail that “steadily fades” and eventually “nirvana” and “the plot thinning down to a point so thin not even angels can dance on it”. Paterson carefully selects specific words here to hint at the nothingness. “failing” tells us that the light is no longer there, that it is dying out. “steadily” again repeats this idea that it is definitely declining into nothing. Nirvana is the state of non-being, it is a passive nothingness. The final image shows us that there is nothing left of the story as not even the delicate angels are able to do anything on it as it no longer exists.

Sample Questions 11:00 Baldovan

taken from http://www.classicbuses.co.uk/dundd2.html

These questions are like the ones you will find in the Scottish Text section of the exam. You can have a go at them now or have a go later.

1. Identify how a sense of adventure is established in the first four lines. (2)

2. Identify and explain how the atmosphere is created in lines 24-30. (4)

3. Show how the theme of time is explored in this poem. (4)

4. In this poem, Paterson uses an apparently ordinary experience to explore a deeper truth about humanity. By referring to this and another poem or poems by Don Paterson you have studied discuss how he uses poetry to explore the deeper truths behind ordinary experience. (10)

Macbeth – a little headstart on the plot

taken from http://school.devoteddvd.com.au/macbeth-shakespeare-retold-dvd.html

Later in the year we will be studying Macbeth as our Drama. A few years ago the BBC adapted the story into a modern setting, transposing Macbeth and Duncan into an award-winning restaurant. If you are just wanting to get a rough idea of the plot of Macbeth without having to deal with the Shakespearian language this should be an easier way of getting to grips with it. The link below will take you to the

Sample Questions ‘Nil Nil’

taken from http://www.english-online.at/history/world-war-2/world-war-2-introduction.htm

These questions are like the ones you will find in the Scottish Text section of the exam. You can have a go at them now or have a go later.

1. The main themes of the poem are introduced in the title and first seven lines
Identify one main theme and show how poetic technique is used to introduce this theme. (3)

2. By referring closely the rest of stanza 1, analyse the use of poetic technique to establish and maintain the tale of the football clubs decline. (4)

3. Evaluate the effectiveness of the second stanza as a conclusion to the poem. (3)

4. In this poem, Paterson uses an apparently ordinary experience to explore a deeper truth about humanity. By referring to this and another poem or poems by Don Paterson you have studied discuss how he uses poetry to explore the deeper truths behind ordinary experience. (10)