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How To Write Lit Poetry Essays Sample Intro AH and Sonnet 130

Steph Atkinson | Thursday November 05, 2009

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Compare how attitudes to loved ones are presented in one poem from the Pre-1914 Poetry Bank and one poem by Carol Ann Duffy.

Chosen poems


Anne Hathaway’ (AH) – Duffy
Sonnet 130’ (Sonnet) – Pre-1914

Your sample introductions are a big improvement on the introductions you were writing earlier in the term, so well done.

However, you now need to consider how to improve them further. These are the things to avoid:

  • Don’t tell me what you’re going to do – just do it
  • Don’t spend ages building up to a point – just make it
  • Don’t make general points about the poems – be specific
  • Use evidence to support all your points after the introduction
  • Analyse small, relevant, carefully chosen quotations in as much depth and detail as possible – quality rather than quantity
  • Keep your comparisons brief, relevant and thoughtful – explain why this comparison is relevant to the question, what insight it gives us into the characters, themes, ideas, why the two poems are similar/different…

Task: What does this sample introduction do well? How could it be changed or improved? Save a copy of this document in your area and type your ideas underneath or in comment boxes.

Sample Introduction

Whilst the speaker of ‘Anne Hathaway’ (AH) conveys a sense of longing for her loved one, the speaker of ‘Sonnet 130’ (Sonnet) presents a more pragmatic approach to everyday love. These differing attitudes affect the linguistic and structural choices made by Duffy and Shakespeare. The titles encapsulate these differences: whilst the speaker AH is afforded a name, making her love more personal, Sonnet is just one of a series of love poems narrated by an anonymous speaker, indicating that the application of its ideas about love could be more universal.

AH, like Sonnet, uses an adapted Sonnet form…


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