Kate O'Connor works as Publicity & Outreach Director for Post5 Theatre,
Literary Assistant and Office Manager for the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival, and Dramaturgy Intern for the Profile Theatre. She earned her M.St. in English Literature 1550-1700 at Lincoln College, University of Oxford and a BA in English from Stanford University. As an undergraduate she worked as the research assistant to Prof. David Riggs and as Literary Intern for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
With the last GCSE exam covering Hardy’s poems approaching on Monday morning, here is some advice for last-minute revision.
Annotate blank copies. Try to see what you can remember about the poems without looking at your notes.
Write or outline answers to past questions. You can find a list of past questions, both to practice and to see what the format is for inventing your own questions, on this page. It’s worth noting that both ‘Nobody Comes’ and ‘I Look Into my Glass’ have only had one previous question, so perhaps they are due to come up?
Make a list of what’s important. Since the questions the exam board asks are very general, if you can memorise ten to twelve key things that Hardy does to achieve the overall effect of each poem, chances are you will be able to apply many of those things to whatever essay question arises. Attached is a word document you could use to fill in your own ideas, with two examples for each poem: Hardy ten things
The good news is that since you have a choice of two poems on which to answer, both of which will be printed in the exam, if there’s one poem you hate (‘The Pine Planters’, anyone?), you can choose one poem to completely ignore so long as you can answer with confidence on any of the others.
Which is the poem you like least, that you are hoping will not come up on the exam?
As the exam is right around the corner, some information about this site (and what it does and does not do) may be useful.
Dimofdawn.com was made by a group of Fifth Form students in 2015. We thought it would be nice to share what we’d learned – it was good revision for the pupils themselves – and to offer a place where other students could share their thoughts about the poems. Thank you to every one of you who has contributed their own thoughts, especially those who disagreed with or expanded on the original interpretation; every new perspective is a help!
It is not, however, the gospel according to Hardy- pupils shared their ideas, but of course there are other interpretations and they are not by any means comprehensive. These are simply a starting point; they will hopefully prompt your own ideas or act as a convenient refresher. Nor is it a place to get your questions answered by the students or teachers who made this site. The students who originally made it are now siting their A-level exams, and while as the teacher I am happy to add the occasional update and improve comments, this is a time for frantically helping my own pupils rather than fielding questions from the internet as a whole.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions- I’ll approve comments throughout the weekend, and hopefully other pupils visiting the site can help you!
Good luck, and I hope this site helps with your final push for revision in some capacity.
We have also added a page with a list of past prompts on each of the Hardy poems that may help you in your revision. It can be found here.
For those inquiring about the missing pages, there is a new team of diligent fifth form students at the King’s School Canterbury preparing material, including revision videos, to be uploaded before the exam in May. Watch this space! In the meanwhile, why not share your own observations about the poems in the comment section?
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 38,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 14 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.
We’ve decided to apply a Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license to our site.
What does this mean? It means that you can take our material and use it to create other educational materials, so long as they are not for commercial endeavours (NC) and you release those materials under the same license (SA, Share Alike). You also need to attribute any borrowed material to both this website, http://www.thedimofdawn.com, and the student who wrote the material (listed at the bottom of the article).
So if reusing this resource please attribute as follows: [Name of Article] at http://thedimofdawn.com by [Author], licensed as Creative Commons BY-NC-SA (2.0 UK).
We’re hoping to start a Hardy revolution (ie, not the industrial kind), with everyone creating and sharing new resources about Hardy’s poetry!