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GCSE: Andrew Marvell

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Top tips for writing about Andrew Marvell's poetry.

  1. 1 Marvell was born in 1621 in Yorkshire, England. He studied at the University of Cambridge and whilst he was there begun to publish his first poetry, which was written in Latin and Greek. He died in London in 1678.
  2. 2 Marvell was a metaphysical poet (a group of English poets from the 17th century) and was interested in metaphysical concerns. This meant he thought about the world in a rational way rather than in relation to mystery or intuition.
  3. 3 Marvell’s poems, like other metaphysical poets, often had some of these characteristics:

    Often very witty and enjoyed using original metaphors,
    Often presented a subtle argument,
    Often wrote about issues of the time, or satires,
    T.S. Eliot said their work fused passion with reason.
  4. 4 Although the attitudes and values expressed in his poems may seem like Marvell’s ideas, it is important to recognise that the poet is not the narrator, even when the poem is written in first person.

Writing about Marvell's poetry

  1. 1 The perspective, tone and register of narrator is a good place to start analysis. Remember that these can differ within poems.
  2. 2 Titles, openings and endings can be a good way to analyse the poems.
  3. 3 Look for patterns and oppositions (or lack of) that emerge.
  4. 4 Consider effects of poetic techniques, for example use of imagery or phonological devices (to do with sounds). Marvell enjoyed using metaphor and hyperbole.
  5. 5 Consider the effects of structure (e.g. number of verses, rhythm, rhyme etc.) and form as well as language. For example, Marvell structures To His Coy Mistress as a logical argument, contributing to the persuasive message of the poem.

Things to remember when writing essays

  1. 1 All essays should be well planned with clear points. This will help to create a structured essay.
  2. 2 Introductions should clearly show they are answering the question Each paragraph should ideally begin with a topic sentence which addresses the question, evidence from the poem/s to support the point (with quotes embedded), and detailed analysis using technical terminology. This can be known as P.E.E (Point, Evidence, Explain).
  3. 3 If relevant, some contextual information about Marvell, metaphysical poetry and the 17th century might contribute to an analytical response.

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  1. Compare and contrast how the women are wooed in A.Marvells ‘To His Coy Mistress’ and J.Doones ‘The Flea’

    Also in the seventeenth century, a poet called John Doone also wrote a similar poem about love. John Donne's poem 'The Flea' appears to be a love poem, a dedication from a male suitor to his lady of honour, which renounces to yield to his shameless desires. In this poem, the speaker tries to seduce a young woman by comparing the consequences of their lovemaking with those of an insignificant fleabite. He uses the flea as an argument to demonstrate that the physical relationship he desires is not in itself a significant event, because a similar unification has already taken place within the flea.

    • Word count: 496
  2. Compare and contrast “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell and “The Flea” by John Donne

    The blood is very significant to them and the poet tries to explain how simple and unimportant sex is. The Flea tries to achieve what it wants it with the use if conceits (far-fetched metaphor) and paradox: the flea in the poem. To His Coy Mistress uses a different way of wooing the lady. It is much more argumentative. The poet speaks on a higher level than the lady and mocks her preferred, traditional Courtley Love. The poem is much more aggressive and structured. The poet gives the woman three different ideas that would confuse her. This poem uses the conceit of time.

    • Word count: 1696
  3. Murder Mystery

    Rachel had never quite recovered from finding out about it because she had been with Andrew for five years and it came as a pretty huge shock. Rachel had met Steve in a pub when she was chatting with Andrews younger brother Rob, Steve was his best mate. Steve was younger than Rachel by two years, he worked as a chef in a restaurant in the town. He was quite muscular built with short, black, tight curly hair and gorgeous dark eyes.

    • Word count: 8388
  4. “Holy Sonnet”, “To His Coy Mistress”, and “Sonnet 71”.

    The power of persuasion is very much apparent, throughout the poem he emphasises that time is of the essence, Andrew Marvell aims his work at his mistress. Using three sections in his work, he hopes to convince her to have sex with him and portrays a sensitive and loving image of himself to do this. Marvell uses three sections to give definite structure to his work. The first section is written using the past tense He uses death as a major issue in this poem as in their day they did not live as long as people today "The graves a fine an private place but none I think do there embrace ".

    • Word count: 945
  5. What are the main characteristics of the metaphysical poets? (With reference to ‘The Flea’, ‘The Apparition’ and ‘To His Coy Mistress’)

    Marvell died on the 16th August 1678 of tertian argue, and the negligence of the attending physician. He was buried in the church of St. Giles-in-the-fields. John Donne was born in the Bread Street, London in 1572 to a prosperous Roman Catholic family, a precarious thing at a time when anti catholic sentiment was rife in England. His mother, Elizabeth Heywood, was the daughter of John Haywood the writer, who had married Sir Thomas More's niece. So he was already born into a background of literacy.

    • Word count: 3881
  6. Compare Ideas and Images in the Six Metaphysical Love Poems

    The presence of a beautiful female, lusted after by the poet is prominent in each poem. With the eventual intention, in most cases, of bedding this female in mind, the use of flattery is clearly evident. In To His Coy Mistress, Marvell suggests that at this present time, her youthful attractiveness is potent enough to fulfil his every desire: "...the youthful hue Sits on thy skin like morning dew," Elegy: On His Mistress Going To Bed is similar to To His Coy Mistress in that both poets are prepared to say or do anything in order to achieve their aim.

    • Word count: 2904
  7. Love Hurts

    This was a normal day for Andrew; he would do the same thing almost everyday. When he wasn't working he would visit his mum and dad. Andrew was close to his parents, who were very proud of him. One Wednesday morning, Andrew was having a bad day, his alarm clock hadn't gone off and the whole day had been a rush. He was looking forward to his lunch break, and when it finally came he let off a huge sigh of relief and left his office for the short walk to the restaurant. Tired and hungry he arrived at the restaurant.

    • Word count: 1573
  8. Alone - creative writing.

    Karen approached the lad as though she had known him forever. "Well hello." said Karen. "Um, hi." he replied. "So where are you from." asked Karen. "Italy I've just moved down here and thought I'd take a walk and do a little sight seeing." "On your own." "I don't really know any one yet." "Ok, so what's your name?" "Andrew, you?" "Karen". They talked for a while and arranged to meet each other later, said their good byes and went in opposite directions. Karen went towards her friends and Andrew went towards his grandmother who was sitting in the car at the end of the park.

    • Word count: 2277
  9. Examine the ways in which the poets in “The Flea” and “To His Coy Mistress” try to persuade their mistresses.

    The flea is the subject of much of what the poet talks about, and the imagery used is interesting. He uses the flea to convince his mistress of his love for her, and to persuade her to have sex with him. In "To His Coy Mistress" there is no one object used to symbolise the love, but interesting and significant imagery is used often, and to great effect. Different images are used to persuade the poet's mistress that to sleep with him would be a good thing.

    • Word count: 4910
  10. To His Coy Mistress

    He says if they lived forever then they could wander the world, explore it, and explore each other - they would have so much time it wouldn't matter how reluctant she was. 'Thou, by the Indian Ganges' side, Should'st rubies find: I by the tide of humber would complain.' The mention of exotic places, especially the Ganges, a holy place to Hindus and very beautiful, suggests a paradise surrounding her. She finds rubies, a valuable and attractive gemstone - but she simply acquires them through serendipity.

    • Word count: 1521
  11. Comparing and Contrasting 17th Century Love Poems

    Despite this I still feel that the metaphor is one that is too far fetched, and when pushed into romantic service it destroys the possibility for any loving emotion. Their love is described in these simple, stark terms: "This flea is you and I, and this Our marriage bed, and marriage temple is;" What The Flea lacks in emotion it makes up for in pure intellectual ingenuity. The piece is designed to challenge and puzzle, and forces the reader to figure it out.

    • Word count: 1496
  12. Sonnet 71, Holy Sonnet and To His Coy Mistress

    John Donre ends the passage with this quote. "One short sleep past, we wake eternally, and Death, thou shalt die". The holy sonnet is much different from the sonnet 71. Sonnet 71 is written by William Shakespeare, this poem is about Shakespeare who tells his lover, "no longer mourn for me when I am dead". Shakespeare is basically saying that he loves her and would like her to forget him, as memories will only make her sad.

    • Word count: 548
  13. Andrew says that his wife had ‘killed him’ years ago

    Millie Crocker- Harris is a very cruel and rather false women. She feels her husband is inadequate, 'even Andrew has managed' and that she tries to prove to people that she's better and more superior than him, ' Don't let's talk any more about him- its too depressing.' Millie seems to create an image by dressing ' rather smartly', as if she's trying to be something else. When Millie first enters in the play, the stage directions describe her as 'more smartly' dressed than the other schoolmasters wives, perhaps stating that she believes that the more pleasing her appearance, then the more people will think highly of her.

    • Word count: 647
  14. With close reference to the poems you have studied, show how the poets have approached the theme of romantic love.

    The domestic river Humber contrasts with the exotic Ganges. He says if they had all the time in the world, he would wait for her, 'ill the conversion of the Jews'. In other words he would wait for her forever, as Jews would not be converted to Christianity. He says like a vegetable his love would have time to grow and spread. If he had time he says, he would court her slowly, but he is aware that time is catching up with them.

    • Word count: 1453
  15. “To His Coy Mistress” by Andrew Marvell

    Finally, he draws the conclusion that since his desire to love her slowly and coyly is belied by their mortality, they must resort to a temporary affection: "Now let us sport us while we may . . . Rather at once our time devour / Than languish in his slow-chapped power". The speaker in Marvell's poem carefully controls his imagery to enhance his argument. There is a discernible progression from exotic and luxurious imagery in the first section to lifelessness in the second and to fiery passion in the third.

    • Word count: 1406
  16. ‘To her not so coy boy’ is a response to ‘To her coy mistress’

    It is very wild, rough and almost animal like, 'And while thy willing soul transpires At every pore with instant fires'. The tone is completely different to the first verse, where it is calm and smooth. The third verse has the direct opposite meaning to the second. The two both say of what will happen depending on what decision she makes. If she does not sleep with him then she will die a virgin, but if she does then she will have an exciting, thrilling time, or so he says.

    • Word count: 728
  17. "To His Coy Mistress" Response

    language as you would normally say shy but this sounds as a insult so you use coy as it sounds more of a compliment but it keeps the meaning. Saying we?re no crime tells me that you are feeling quite insistent but it also makes me believe that you think I am nervous of our relationship. The next two lines then start to emphasis slowness as you mention words such as ?walk? and ?sit?, both theses words are usually used when you want something to be slow instead of run as that would give more of a urgent feel.

    • Word count: 1671

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