New
New
Year 10
Eduqas

Analysing 'Winter Swans'

I can explore how Sheers uses nature to symbolise the couple's relationship.

New
New
Year 10
Eduqas

Analysing 'Winter Swans'

I can explore how Sheers uses nature to symbolise the couple's relationship.

Lesson details

Key learning points

  1. Sheers uses personification of the surroundings to present a fractured emotional landscape.
  2. Sheers uses pathetic fallacy to subtly imply that the couple are facing trouble in their relationship.
  3. Sheers uses a contrast in colour imagery to signify the hope that emerges from despair.
  4. Sheers uses a simile in the resolution of the poem to convey how the couple are reunified.
  5. Sheers uses the symbolism of the swans to mark a turning point in the tone of the poem - from despair to hope.

Common misconception

Sheers tells us that the couple have been arguing before heading out for their walk.

Sheers doesn't explicitly tell us that the couple have been arguing but subtly implies this using personification and pathetic fallacy in the first two stanzas. He describes how the couple are "silent and apart" to show their fragmented relationship.

Keywords

  • Personification - giving human traits to non-human entities

  • Symbolism - representing abstract ideas using concrete objects or actions

  • Contrast - differences between two or more things used to draw attention to them

  • Simile - using ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare two things with shared qualities

  • Resolution - the conclusion or final outcome of a story or conflict

Content guidance

  • Contains subject matter which individuals may find upsetting.

Supervision

Adult supervision suggested.

Licence

This content is © Oak National Academy Limited (2024), licensed on Open Government Licence version 3.0 except where otherwise stated. See Oak's terms & conditions (Collection 2).

Loading...

6 Questions

Q1.
In 'Winter Swans', the couple are ...
grieving after the death of a loved one.
happy because they have just found out they're expecting a baby.
on a first date.
Correct answer: experiencing trouble in their relationship.
spending time together before their wedding the next day.
Q2.
In the middle of 'Winter Swans', Sheers uses a __________ to indicate a shift in the emotional tone (mood).
ellipsis
anecdote
Correct answer: volta
allegory
rhetorical question
Q3.
Which of these is an example of personification?
The trees towered over the tiny fox.
Correct answer: The trees stretched their bony branches towards the sun.
Crunchy orange leaves fluttered down from the trees like confetti.
Q4.
Complete the missing word in this quote from 'Winter Swans': "we skirted the lake, silent and apart, until the came and stopped us"
Correct Answer: swans, SWANS, Swans, sWANS
Q5.
How many stanzas does 'Winter Swans' have?
4
5
6
Correct answer: 7
8
Q6.
Which language technique occurs in the final stanza of the poem 'Winter Swans'? ("and folded one over the other, like a pair of wings settling after flight")
Correct answer: a simile
a metaphor
personification
alliteration
a rhetorical question

6 Questions

Q1.
Match each of these key words to the correct definition.
Correct Answer:personification,giving human traits to non-human entities

giving human traits to non-human entities

Correct Answer:symbolism,representing abstract ideas using concrete objects or actions

representing abstract ideas using concrete objects or actions

Correct Answer:contrast,differences between two or more things used to draw attention to them

differences between two or more things used to draw attention to them

Correct Answer:simile,using ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare two things with shared qualities

using ‘like’ or ‘as’ to compare two things with shared qualities

Correct Answer:resolution,the conclusion or final outcome of a story or conflict

the conclusion or final outcome of a story or conflict

Q2.
What is pathetic fallacy?
using descriptions of colours to create a particular mood or emotion
giving human qualities to non-human entities
using short, snappy stanzas to show conflict
Correct answer: using the weather or natural landscape to create a particular mood or emotion
a description that makes us feel sorry for the characters
Q3.
What does the following quote from 'Winter Swans' signify about the couple's interaction with the swans: "the swans came and stopped us”?
the swans are intimidating and they block the couple's walk
Correct answer: the swans captivate the couple and they are compelled to stand and watch them
the swans chase the couple away from the lake
Q4.
In the opening stanza of 'Winter Swans', Sheers describes how the ground is "gulping for breath at our feet". We could also argue that this description suggests how the speaker feels about ...
the swans.
winter.
the lake.
Correct answer: their relationship troubles.
their partner.
Q5.
Which two language techniques does Sheers use in this quote from 'Winter Swans': "they halved themselves in the dark water, icebergs of white feather"?
Correct answer: metaphor
simile
alliteration
Correct answer: contrasting colour imagery
oxymoron
Q6.
What do all these words from stanzas 3-4 of 'Winter Swans' have in common: "weights", "bodies", "heads", "themselves", "boats"?
they are all adjectives
they are all symbolic
Correct answer: they are all plural
they all have two syllables
they all appear at the beginning of a line