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Comparing Before You Were Mine and Mother, any distance

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Comparing Before You Were Mine and Mother, any distance Before you were mine and Mother any distance both explore range of themes relating to a mother and child bond and their love and affection. This poem is written by Simon Armitage in which he talks about the relationship between him and his mother and the great affect she had on his life. "you come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors...". This shows how his mother helped him a lot whenever he needed someone to help him through his life as a child. ...read more.


and he shows that he still feels attached to her even though he is moving away. Before you were mine was written by Carol Ann Duffy who writes about her mother before the poet was born after seeing a photo of her when she was a teenager. She is inspired to write the poem because she thinks her mother was happier then. She begins the poem by setting the scene and portraying her to be romantic and attractive, the poet does this by comparing her to Marilyn Monroe in her 'polka-dot dress' that 'blows round your legs'. ...read more.


Before you were mine has 4 stanzas and mother any distance has 3 stanzas, although they both do have long sentences. The structure in 'Before you were mine' makes me realize the regularity of the time passing as the poem keeps reminding us that ten years after the photo was taken, the happy, bold teenager had become a mother. Mother, any distance has 3 stanzas, the first sketches the context of the mother helping the poet to measure up in his new home; the second extends this idea to the metaphorical meaning of children moving away from their parents; the third indicates the relationship as the child breaks away, reaching for independence, but still partly tugged back by his mother who still pinches "the last one-hundredth of an inch". ...read more.

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Response to the question

Because the question is reasonably generalised, there is scope for any kinds of ideas and answers and the candidate can take their answer in any direction they choose. While there are some clear points made, especially in the third paragraph, ...

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Response to the question

Because the question is reasonably generalised, there is scope for any kinds of ideas and answers and the candidate can take their answer in any direction they choose. While there are some clear points made, especially in the third paragraph, there are many holes. This is because the candidate tends to use a quote and then discuss the meaning of this. While these ideas are original and completely valid, the student needs to use terminology to label the quote and discuss the effect and why that particular attitude comes across not just what it is. The sentence about 'unreeling the years between us' is an example of this limited development, because the candidate could show off their knowledge by labelling it a metaphor, and saying that this is why the effect comes across, drawing attention to this for any reason they can come up with. This does improve as the essay progresses; the candidate writes much better about 'mother, Any Distance' using terminology like 'onomatopoeia'. First impressions are crucial to an examiner, and it is important that the essay appears at a consistent standard throughout to show good points are not just flukes.

Level of analysis

The quotes are generally used well, in short sections, but more can always be used, as long as they can be developed specifically and in a detailed way in the time period, to show the examiner that the candidate is familiar and knowledgable about the text. The paragraph on structure is superficial, and does not have any particular relevance really, or terminology expected again. For instance, by including enjambment when talking about the regularity of time in 'Before you were mine' would instantly boost marks.

Quality of writing

The essay is written structurally and gramatically well, although it could be longer and a conclusion and more extensive and detailed introduction would improve the essay by blatantly setting out attitudes, ideas, and a basic plan, as well as personal opinion or interpretation if included. The candidate would probably get more marks from comparing directly as well, by making a point about one poem then instantly comparing this with the other. Comparison is only really done on a small level in the last paragraph, and is of crucial importance, especially considering the question.

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Reviewed by happy_giggles 29/03/2012

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