Yeats in 2012/2013


A new academic year will see many new (and some old!) students sitting the OCR AS English exam on W.B Yeats. We are here to help your study and we always appreciate your comments on our revision notes. If you have great ideas (or want to challenge some of our ideas!) please leave comments on our pages; your comments will only add to the quality of this resource. All comments are subject to moderation.



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‘Half-hanged Mary’ by Margaret Atwood


Atwood’s poem is about the hanging of Mary Webster, who was hanged for witchcraft, however she survived until the morning and was not hanged again because it was against the law to punish someone twice for the same crime. The poetic voice is that of Mary Webster and her perspective of the situation. The poem is divided into sections that begin with the time of which Mary is dictates her thoughts. 

7:00 p.m: Within the first section of the poem, Mary begins to explain what she was doing when before the decision was made to hang her. ‘Rumour was loose in the air,/hunting for some neck to land on’, the ‘rumour’ is looking for someone to kill. The personification shows the reader that the ‘rumour’ may in fact be a person telling everyone she is a witch. The ‘rumour’ goes around like smoke, blowing in the wind. ‘I was…

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Feminism, Marxism and Post-colonialism in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Simon Joy


In “The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, there is a negative message coming across about women.For example, Lord Henry when he says: 

“My dear boy, no woman is a genius. Women are a decorative sex. They never have anything to say but they paint it charmingly.”

This shows Henry degrading women, saying that they have no intelligence, no real voice, they are only there to look pretty. This insults the female sex. Along with this, the presentation of Sybil as a helpless and powerless woman gives us an idea that she was indeed controlled by outside forces and that she actually had no roles of her own. At first, she is completely consumed by the roles that she would play in Romeo and Juliet, she would have no trace of herself in these roles. When she did come into her own she was controlled by Dorian, she…

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The Picture of Dorian Gray – Marxism


The political and economic philosophy of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in which the concept of class struggle plays a central role in understanding society’s allegedly inevitable development from bourgeois oppression under capitalism to a socialist and ultimately classless society.
Oscar Wildes ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ portrays Gray’s status was gained through his wealth and appearance. Thus do this powerful image was able to gain power and controls over people like Sybil. Gray believed that he could get away with being outrageous because of the immoral behaviour which was reserved to the poor at that time.  ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ gives Marxism an extremely negative by saying that life is revolved around wealth and that society is revolved around money.

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Sorry my internets been down!:(


Feminism is a series of movements and ideologies aimed to establish equal political, economic, and social rights for women.This includes establishing equal opportunities for women in both education and employment. A feminist supports the rights and equality of women.

Feminist theory which emerged from these feminist movements, aims to understand the nature of gender inequality by examining women’s social roles and lived experience; it has developed theories in a variety of disciplines in order to respond to issues such as the social construction of sex and gender. Some of the earlier forms of feminism have been criticized for taking into account only white, middle-class, educated perspectives. This led to the creation of ethnically specific or multiculturalist forms of feminism.

Feminist activists campaign for women’s rights – such as in contract law, property, and voting, while also promoting bodily integrity, autonomy, and reproductive rights for women. E.g  gender neutrality in English, equal pay for women, reproductive rights for women (including contraceptives and abortion) and the right to enter into contracts and own property. Feminists have worked to protect women and girls from domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sexual assault. They have also advocated for workplace rights, including maternity leave, and against forms of discrimination against women.


Thanks for reading.

  Charl 🙂


September 1913

‘September 1913′ is Yeats’ condemning of contemporary Ireland and how it had thrown away its past and lost its way while doing so. I see this poem as a way in which Yeats expresses his frustration, despair and anger towards the way nationalistic dreams and those whom he regards to as the favorable political leaders of the past have been forgotten. These leaders are almost romanticised about, and I think this is most applicable through the repitition of their names,

“It’s with O’Leary in the grave.”

The eight syllable lines make the poem seem brief and adds an almost bitter tone which further adds the idea of frustration. Yeats uses Irish folklaw and fairytales from the past to remind people that they need to seek a better way of life.

In this poem we see that Yeats has used very simple language. I think the reason for this is so that it appeals to everyone including the uneducated. It may also link in to his comment that even children can appreciate the greatness of people of the past.

“The names that stilled your childish play”

The rhythm of this poem has a ‘bounce’ to it, this is created by the short, monosyllabic words. This reflects the passion in Yeats’ message and the way in which he has chosen to convey it to the people of Ireland.

Thanks for reading my post,

    Charlotte 🙂

Today’s Literature Lesson

In today’s lesson we read three Margaret Atwood poems: ‘Spelling’; ‘A Woman’s Issue’; and ‘Christmas Carols’.

Our teacher asked each group to identify the characteristics of Atwood’s poetry. Through this not only did we identify many different ideas, but I also became much more equated with the rest of my group.

In all three poems we identified that Atwood was portraying a very feminist message. The overall theme in each poem is rape in war and Atwood uses strong emotive language to portray this.

Atwood has been very particular with the titles she has given each of these poems and they are used very well. The title ‘A Woman’s Issue’ is a homophone as it addresses the menstrual cycle, as well as this Atwood also uses the word ‘issue’ to address that there is a problem present. This straight away makes the reader assume that the female body is being abused. We see throughout the poem that females are treated very gruesomely.

We see the women being referred to as ‘Exhibit A’, ‘Exhibit B’, and ‘Exhibit C’. This gives us the impression women are viewed as objects rather than people.

Another very clever title is ‘Christmas Carols’. The definition of ‘Christmas Carols’ is ‘joyful religious song celebrating the birth of Christ‘. This has contrast straight away with the first line. ‘Children do not always mean hope. To some they mean despair.

Atwood uses very strong emotional language which creates very graphic, ghastly images in this poem to show us how cruel women were treated. To do this Atwood uses words like ‘broken’, ‘raped’, and ‘extracted’.

I think Margaret Atwood makes the reader experience the thoughts, feelings and attitudes of the victims of the disturbing events to which she writes about in her poems. We see very little emotion within these poems; although, Atwood herself draws forth the emotions from the reader. Which is a very powerful technique to convey the ideas within her poetry.

I am so sorry if this is ‘all over the place’. I’m a little rusty at the moment guys.

Thank you for reading my post,


Welcome !

English Literature Rules

Well done finding our class blog.


We are a Year 12 English Literature class studying the OCR A level syllabus. This blog is administered by one of our English Literature teachers: you can see and follow our individual blogs listed on this page. The best posts will be reblogged here.

Our individual blogs are intended to be online ‘scrap books’ of thoughts, ideas and interesting personal research to enhance our understanding and enjoyment of the novels, plays and poetry we will be studying in class. We hope you enjoy the range of posts and hopefully some lively discussions.

Year 12 Students: to introduce yourselves to each other, please post a few sentences about a novel, poem or play you have read or seen recently. Try to encourage others to read or see this text.

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