English

ENG1501/103/3/2017

Tutorial Letter 103/3/2017

Foundations in English Literary Studies

ENG1501

Semesters 1 and 2

Department of English Studies

This tutorial letter contains important information

about your module.

BARCODE

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CONTENTS

Page

1 LIST OF PRESCRIBED POEMS 2017 …………………………………………………………………………….. 3

2 ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 4

2.1 ‘Stop All the Clocks’ by W.H. Auden ………………………………………………………………………………… 4

2.2 ‘Talking in Bed’ by Philip Larkin……………………………………………………………………………………….. 5

2.3 ‘In the shadow of Signal Hill’ by Essop Patel ……………………………………………………………………… 5

2.4 ‘The Loneliness Beyond’ by Sipho Sepamla ……………………………………………………………………… 6

2.5 ‘From Not Him’ by Wopko Jensma …………………………………………………………………………………… 6

2.6 ‘Men in Chains’ by Mbyiseni Oswald Mtshali ……………………………………………………………………… 7

2.7 ‘A Woman’s Hands’ by Eva Bezwoda ………………………………………………………………………………. 7

2.8 ‘For Don M. – Banned’ by Wally Mongane Serote ………………………………………………………………. 8

2.9 ‘Ingrid Jonker’ by Sally Bryer …………………………………………………………………………………………… 9

2.10 ‘Stolen Rivers’ by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers ………………………………………………………………………… 9

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1 LIST OF PRESCRIBED POEMS 2017

Below is the list of poems you are required to study this semester. There are 20 in total: 10 of

the poems have been discussed in detail in Tutorial Letter 501, and we have included some

guiding questions to assist you when working through the other 10 poems.

Please note that the poems in the question set on Seasons Come to Pass in the

examination in May/June 2017 and in October/November 2017 will come from this list.

South African poetry

Title of poem Poet Anthology

page

number

Discussed

in tutorial

letter

‘The child who was shot dead by

soldiers at Nyanga’

Ingrid Jonker 216 501

‘Alexandra’ Wally Mongane Serote 239 501

‘In exile’ Arthur Nortje 261 501

‘In the shadow of Signal Hill’ Essop Patel 208 103

‘The Loneliness Beyond’ Sipho Sepamla 213 103

‘From Not Him’ Wopko Jensma 228 103

‘Men in Chains’ Mbyiseni Oswald Mtshali 229 103

‘A Woman’s Hands’ Eva Bezwoda 232 103

‘For Don M. – Banned’ Wally Mongane Serote 241 103

‘Ingrid Jonker’ Sally Bryer 244 103

‘Stolen Rivers’ Phillippa Yaa de Villiers 282 103

American and British poetry

‘Let me not to the marriage of true

minds’

William Shakespeare 52 501

‘On his blindness’ John Milton 65 501

‘To his coy mistress’ Andrew Marvell 68 501

‘When I have fears that I may cease to

be’

John Keats 94 501

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‘Dover Beach’ Matthew Arnold 112 501

‘The road not taken’ Robert Frost 134 501

‘Still I rise’ Maya Angelou 200 501

‘Stop all the clocks’ W.H. Auden 169 103

‘Talking in bed’ Philip Larkin 192 103

2 ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES

You will find discussions and activities on 10 of the poems from the prescribed list in Tutorial

Letter 501 on pages 5-51. You should read the discussions and work through these activities

before attempting the activities in this tutorial letter. The activities for the remaining 10 poems

appear in this tutorial letter. Please work through these activities to guide you in studying these

poems in preparation for the examination.

IMPORTANT:

The questions below and the activities in Tutorial Letter 501 should be considered points of

departure for your readings of the poems.

While some of the questions that appear in assignments and exams might resemble some of

the questions and concerns set out below, others might not. In other words, you should be able

to engage in your own critical analysis of each poem. The study of poetry cannot be rushed and

you should be prepared, in some instances, to spend a number of hours working through a

single poem.

Remember to read the section entitled ‘Analysing poetry’ that appears at the beginning of

Seasons Come to Pass (pages 11-29). You should pay particular attention to the ways of

reading poetry that are evidenced on pages 24 and 27 of the anthology.

2.1 ‘Stop All the Clocks’ by W.H. Auden

Read through ‘Stop All the Clocks’ by W.H. Auden on page 169 of Seasons Come to Pass, and

then read through the supporting notes provided below the poem. If you find words and

concepts that you are unfamiliar with, consult a dictionary and Introduction to English Literary

Studies.

1. The first two stanzas of this poem present as images of mourning. How does this set the

tone of the poem?

2. Analyse the rhyme scheme of the poem. What effect does this have on how we read the

poem? (For the second part of this question, you might want to look specifically at the

third stanza, and how the rhythm and rhyme achieve a particular effect in line 12).

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3. The poem explores the intensity and immensity of love, but it seems to be about the very

absence of love. In a brief analysis of the images that appear in the final stanza, explain

how the use of hyperbole develops and emphasises this absence. (Another word for

hyperbole is exaggeration.)

4. Consult a dictionary to find the meaning of the word ‘elegy’. Then, utilise your answers to

questions 1-3 to write a short essay about why ‘Stop All the Clocks’ can be considered an

example of an elegiac poem.

2.2 ‘Talking in Bed’ by Philip Larkin

Read through ‘Talking in Bed’ on page 192 of Seasons Come to Pass, and then work through

the guidelines provided below.

1. Look at the title of the poem. Does this give you any clue as to what the poem is about?

Does what the title suggests occur in the poem? Write a paragraph in which you give

reasons for your answer.

2. Identify an example of repetition in line four and explain its effect.

3. Read the definition of ‘tone’ on page 47 of Introduction to English Literary Studies. What

is the tone created in lines 4 to 7? Identify words in this section that helped you in

determining the tone. Write a paragraph in which you describe how these words relate to

the title of the poem.

4. What is the setting of lines 8 to 12? How do you know this?

5. Look at the last three lines of the poem. What kinds of words does the speaker want to

speak to his or her partner? Why is this difficult?

2.3 ‘In the shadow of Signal Hill’ by Essop Patel

Read through ‘In the Shadow of Signal Hill’ on page 208 of Seasons Come to Pass. Also read

the brief biography of Essop Patel given above the poem and the explanatory note underneath.

Work through the guidelines given below.

1. The explanatory note below the poem gives you a clue as to the title’s significance.

Imagine that you are standing below Signal Hill. Write a paragraph in which you explain

what you see.

2. Read the definition of ‘connotation’ and ‘denotation’ on page 32 of Tutorial Letter 501.

Explain the denotation and connotations of the word ‘Shadow’ in the title of this poem.

3. Look up the word ‘lamentations’ (line 7) in a dictionary. When the speaker instructs the

reader to listen to ‘the lamentations of slaves’ (line 7), does he or she expect the reader

to hear real slaves in the present time of the poem? Why or why not? Write a paragraph

in which you describe what it is that the ‘children of colour’ (line 4) hear.

4. The first three lines of each stanza are the same. What does this tell you about the

setting of the poem? Why is this important?

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5. What image is created in line 14? Write a paragraph in which you describe what this line

means.

2.4 ‘The Loneliness Beyond’ by Sipho Sepamla

Seasons Come to Pass explains that Sepamla is known for writing poetry that ‘described the

lives of black South Africans with uncompromising realism, and was deeply critical of apartheid’

(Moffett, 2013: 213). Bearing this in mind, answer the following questions on the Sepamla’s

poem, ‘The Loneliness Beyond’ (Seasons Come to Pass, page 213).

1. Who or what is being compared to raindrops in the first stanza? What figure of speech is

used? What is the effect of the comparison? (Use page 50 of your Introduction to Literary

Studies text in order to identify the figure of speech.)

2. In the second line of the second stanza, the speaker talks about a ‘single maskless face’.

What is he referring to? Why do you think the poet chose this image (what idea does the

image convey)?

3. Who do you think issues the ‘commands’ that the speaker refers to in the last line of the

second stanza?

4. In stanza three, the speaker talks about ‘grinding complaints’ (line 13). This is a rather

odd choice of diction (or odd choice of words). What tone (mood or atmosphere) is

evoked by this choice of diction? (See page 47 of your Introduction to Literary Studies for

a discussion of tone.)

5. There is another comparison in the fourth stanza of the poem. Identify the figure of

speech, and discuss why the comparison is effective.

6. In stanza 6, the speaker refers to ‘little holes of resting’. What figure of speech is being

used, and what is the speaker comparing to a hole?

7. Consider the denotation and connotations of the word ‘hole’. What is the effect of this

choice of diction? (Use page 54 of your Introduction to Literary Studies for a discussion of

denotation and connotation.)

8. The poet makes use of repetition in the last two stanzas of the poem. How does the

repetition affect the tone of the poem?

2.5 ‘From Not Him’ by Wopko Jensma

Read ‘From Not Him’ on page 228 of Seasons Come to Pass. Also read the short biography of

Wopko Jensma provided above the poem.

1. From whose perspective is this poem written? Who is the poem about?

2. Explain what the statements in lines 1-7 suggest about this person.

3. Lines 9-11 introduce a contrasting view on the subject of the poem. How is this

achieved?

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4. This poem was written and published during apartheid, when people in South Africa were

strictly segregated based on their race. If we read ‘From Not Him’ as a kind of protest

poem, what comment do you think the poem is making about South Africa? Your answer

should be informed by your analysis of the poem.

2.6 ‘Men in Chains’ by Mbyiseni Oswald Mtshali

Read the poem on page 229 of Seasons Come to Pass several times and then answer the

following questions. You should also reflect on the four additional questions that appear on

page 230 of the anthology.

1. What is the poem about? You should be able to describe this in simple terms (that is,

what happens) and you should be able to explain if there are any broader themes that

the poet might be exploring or social commentaries that he may be advancing.

2. Identify the punctuation in line 5 and explain its purpose.

3. A simile is used in lines 6-9 to describe the men. Write a paragraph in which you explain

which two things are being compared. Your paragraph should focus on specific words

and phrases I the poem, and you should explain the effect of the simile and how it

contributes to the broader point being made in the poem.

4. What is significant about lines 10-11? You should take note of the quotation marks at the

beginning of line 10 and the end of line 11: What does this punctuation convey? What is

the effect of these two lines and how do they contribute to our understanding of the men?

How do they support the main idea being advanced in the poem?

5. Identify and explain the figure of speech in line 16. You should be able to name the

particular literary device and then explain what two things are being compared. What

does this figure of speech tell us about the speaker’s fears for what might happen to

these men? How does this comparison advance the main idea in poem?

6. Identify two instances in the poem where the natural environment is described in order to

imagine the feelings of the men in chains. You should be able to discuss each instance

separately and then link them to the main ideas in the poem.

7. While the speaker appears to be describing a particular event, there is very little specific

information about the spatial and temporal contexts, the identity of the speaker, or the

men. What is the effect of this? Remember that this poem formed part of a growing body

of anti-apartheid poetry. How does the lack of specificity support the point that the poet is

trying to make?

2.7 ‘A Woman’s Hands’ by Eva Bezwoda

Read through ‘A Woman’s Hands’ on page 232 of Seasons Come to Pass and then read

through the brief biography of the poet, Eva Bezwoda, provided above the poem.

1. In the first two lines the poet makes a generalisation about women’s hands. She provides

a list of things that women’s hands often hold. Consider each of the items on the list

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provided in line 2. Do these items have a symbolic meaning? Does the list suggest

something about the poet’s or about society’s attitudes towards the role of a woman?

2. In lines three and four the poet moves from a generalisation to something specific. What

is the effect of the contrast?

3. Lines 5-7 provide another juxtaposition (or contrast). This time there is a contrast

between the nun’s hands and the speaker’s hands. What could be implied in the contrast

between lines 6 and 7?

4. The poet uses repetition in lines 3 and 7. How does the repetition affect the tone of the

poem? (See page 47 of your Introduction to Literary Studies for a discussion of tone.)

5. The last three lines make use of strange imagery. Discuss the image. What insight does

this provide into the feelings of the speaker?

6. Consider the items listed in line 10. How do these items relate to the items listed in line

2? What insight does this provide into the feelings of the speaker?

2.8 ‘For Don M. – Banned’ by Wally Mongane Serote

Read the poem on page 241 of Seasons Come to Pass several times and then answer the

following questions. You should read the contextual information on page 242 of the anthology

for more information about both the title and the poem itself. You should also reflect on the four

additional questions that appear on page 242 of the anthology.

1. In no more than three sentences, provide a summary of the poem. You might want to

begin by using the following expression: In ‘For Don. M – Banned’ by Mongane Serote,

the speaker …

2. What does the speaker mean when he/she refers to ‘a dry white season’? You should be

able to identify two different concepts or images that are being suggested. While the one

is obvious from the words of the poem, the other comes into view when we consider why

and when the poem was written.

3. What is the significance of the imagery of leaves and trees? Read the poem again

several times and you will find a line that resonates with the cyclical nature of this image.

Quote this line in your answer.

4. Identify and discuss the figure of speech in line 3.

5. Given what you know about the historical context of the poem and its title, discuss the

significance of line 5.

6. Identify the instances of repetition in the poem and then explain the significance of the

final line. What is being suggested by this line? How does this line change the tone of the

poem? Remember that tone is usually described using adjectives that denote feelings,

such as angry, hopeful, proud, exciting, disappointed etc. (See page 47 of your

Introduction to Literary Studies for a discussion of tone.)

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2.9 ‘Ingrid Jonker’ by Sally Bryer

Read the poem on page 244 of Seasons Come to Pass several times and then answer the

questions that follow. On page 216 of Seasons Come to Pass you will find a short biography of

the poet after which this poem is named. The inscription of Sally Bryer’s poem also provides you

with some context as to why this poem might be named after this poet.

1. Based on this biographical information about Ingrid Jonker, what do you expect this

poem to be about specifically?

2. Who is the ‘you’ the speaker addresses in line 1 (and throughout the rest of the poem)?

3. Why do you think the speaker compares the persona to a ‘hungry bird’ (line 2) and a

‘heron’ (line 3)? What is the significance of comparing her to these types of birds? What

is this type of comparison called?

4. Why do you think the speaker compares the persona in the poem to the Greek goddess

Persephone? (Look at the footnote on page 244 of Seasons Come to Pass to assist you

in answering this question.)

5. Ingrid Jonker wrote a poem called ‘The child who was shot dead by soldiers at Nyanga’

(Seasons Come to Pass, p. 216). Is there a reference to Jonker’s poem in this poem by

Sally Bryer? Explain.

6. In the second stanza of the poem, the speaker refers to ‘we’ (line 15) instead of just ‘you’.

Read this stanza carefully, and explain what the people are busy with here.

7. In this poem, Bryer also makes a number of references to a well-known poem written by

Ingrid Jonker, translated in English as ‘Escape’ (‘Ontvlugting’). The final two lines of

Jonker’s poem ends with the words: ‘Washed out my body lies in weed and grass/ in all

the places where we once did pass’. Do you see a link between these lines by Jonker,

and the final two lines of Bryer’s poem? Explain. (This is an example of an allusion. The

terms ‘allusion’ and ‘intertextuality’ are explained on page 142 of Introduction to English

Literary Studies.)

2.10 ‘Stolen Rivers’ by Phillippa Yaa de Villiers

Read the poem on page 282 of Seasons Come to Pass several times, and then answer the

questions that follow.

1. Read the poet’s biography on page 282 of Seasons Come to Pass. Her style is referred

to as part of the ‘spoken word’ movement. What does this mean? Keeping this in mind,

what type of style do you expect this poem to written in? I

2. Consult a dictionary to the find the meanings of the following words: ‘agenda’ (line 2),

‘consuming’ (line 4), ‘pillage’ (line 5), ‘redress’ (line 8), ‘enraged’ (line 9), and ‘etched’

(line 14). Also find the meanings of any other words in the poem that you may not

understand. Once you comprehend what all these words mean, read the poem again to

see how this affects your understanding of the poem as a whole.

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3. Look carefully at lines 1-9, and give a summary of the events in these lines in your own

words.

4. Line 10 marks a change in the poem with the words ‘And then’. Write a paragraph in

which you explain how the poem changes from line 10, both in terms of its content and its

form.

5. This poem does not have a formal rhyme scheme. Instead, the poet uses recurring

sound devices to create rhythm. Find an example of a recurring sound device used in the

poem, and explain how this sound device is used to add rhythm. (See page 21 of Tutorial

Letter 501 for more information on different types of sound devices.)

6. Write a paragraph in which you explain the speaker’s thoughts as expressed in the final

three lines of the poem. Remember to link these lines to the rest of the poem in your

answer.

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