Putting a Poem on Trial: At the Cenotaph and Futility

As part of their preparation for the AQA Lit B4 Critical Essay, Year 13 are about to put two poems on trial. The format will be that of a MACE debate (2 speakers per side and comment from the floor) and a vote will be taken.
The idea is to develop their understanding of Section C of the Critical Anthology. Beauty and Value in Literature.
Each student needs to prepare both sides of the following motion: THBT At the Cenotaph is more worthy of a place in an A level anthology than is Futility.

All the argument should be based on the poems themselves and the Critical Anthology, using the passage that begins on P29 and breaks down the criteria by which value is often established. Students should remember that their own POV is vital in this task.

The essays that are written at A2 require debate within them – there is no clear and simple answer to any question. My intention is that be externalising that debate, students will quickly see the relevance and power of “alternative viewpoints” when discussing literature. It seems obvious that there can be no clear answer to this question, thus the students will have to fall back onto the debate generated by the use of complex language, of metaphor, of complex ideas and onto the contexts of creation of both poems.

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1 Comment

Filed under AQA LitB 4, coursework, debating, poetry, teacher training

One response to “Putting a Poem on Trial: At the Cenotaph and Futility

  1. Pingback: Poems on Trial 2 | English teaching resources

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