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Miss Carruthers and Miss Wozniak’s Int. 2 Textual Analysis

As you know, the Tetxual Analsyis Nab is looming so in preparation could both classes have a go at the short textual analysis questions on the poem below:


I see her now

in her wheezing grey frailty,

clutching hold of her life at the kitchen sink;

the noise of her breathing like the sound of the sea

sucking back shingle.

Woman of waves was she,

she fought back her asthma,

standing there while I grew up

and the tides came and went.

Her fingers flashed silver,

the gullie terrible in her hand.

She was at home among herring and flounders and cod.

Behind her

the crabs boiled red in the pot,

a stone on its iron lid

to keep them from crawling out

into my dreams.

Eyes that wobbled wickedly on stalks

and claws that tore me to gobbets as I lay

drowning, drowning – she took these terrors away.

She showed me St Peter’s thumb-print

on the side of the haddock.

She gave me the top of my grandfather’s egg.

She washed me in the brine of her tears

that she shed nightly.

She taught me the ways of the sea.


English and Communication: Textual Analysis – Five Poems by Christopher Rush 4


Intermediate 2 Textual Analysis


Answer the following questions. The marks attached to each question will give an indication of the length of answer required.

1.  By referring to lines 1-5, show how the poet uses sound to convey a vivid impression of his grandmother. (4)

2. (i) ‘Woman of waves’ (line 6)

Explain what you think this phrase means in the context of the poem.(2)

(ii) ‘she fought back her asthma’ (line 7)

What does this statement suggest about the grandmother’s personality? Briefly justify your comment. (2)

(iii) Show how lines 8-9 convey the idea of the grandmother’s importance over a long period of time. (2)

3.  By referring to lines 10-20, show how the poet evokes the terrors of childhood and the grandmother’s part in them. (You may wish to refer in your answer to such features as ideas, alliteration, word-choice, sentence-structure, enjambement …) (6)

4. From an examination of sentence-structure and ideas in lines 21- 26, show how the poem builds to a climax. (4)

5.  In this poem, Christopher Rush attempts to convey his feelings about his grandmother and her role in his life. Describe your response to the poem. In your response you should consider:

  • · ideas such as the poet’s feelings about his grandmother and her part in his life
  • · the effectiveness of poetic techniques such as imagery, word-choice and climax. (10)


(30 marks)

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