Hello small children with brain cells of astronomical growing ability,
On the off-chance that you do bother your bums to look at this website over the season of wintery joy, here is your checklist of pertinent activities to help build architecturally beautiful brain bridges:
complete discursive draft and put on USB
complete creative draft and put on USB
Learn your Great Expectations quotes
Practice at least three Great Expectations essays using the past papers on the SQA
Notes on the first four poems – The Ferryman’s Arms, Nil Nil, 11.00 Baldovan and Waking with Russell
ALL poems annotated
Practice Scottish Set Text BY CLICKING HERE to open Practice Questions
RUAE Past Papers (the passwords are obvious!)
- Explain how the title ‘Nil Nil’ corresponds with the two ‘stories’ told within the poem. 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.
2.In your own words, explain the connection between the football club and the plane crash.
Both the plane and the football club start on a high but by the end of the poem they are nothing.
Look at line 18. How does the poet’s language emphasis how far Farquhar’s fortunes have declined? Explain how Farquhar is further characterised in the story of ‘the Cup’?
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.
Look at lines 19–31. With close reference to the text, how does the poet help us understand the way the club’s success has diminished?
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.
Look at lines 1–7. With close reference to the text, explain how the poet’s language establishes the level of the club’s success and glory.
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.
How effectively does the epilogue sum up the central concerns of the poem?
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.
Look at lines 19–23. Explain how the poet’s language creates humour and irony as he describes the club’s ‘spell of giant killing’.
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.
How does the poet further establish the idea of decline in lines 44–49? You may comment on the poet’s use of language or his ideas.
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.