Comparing Poems
Using the chocolate method!!
Learning Objectives
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To understand how to compare two
poems effectively.
To be able to use comparative
vocabulary to show the similarities and
differences between two poems.
Do-it-yourself comparisons
Or how not to do it!
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The main mistake that students make
when comparing poems is that they
write about one poem then they write
about the next and expect the reader
to do the comparing for them.
So instead of this…
Look at the poems vertically
not horizontally…
from
‘Search
for my
Tongue’
Subject
Matter
Language
Tone
Structure
Meaning
from
’Unrelated
Incidents
Half
Caste
Love
After
Love
This
Room
Presents
from my
Aunts in
Pakistan
Hurricane
Hits
England
First look at the wrappers…
(or the titles of the poems)
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Look at the material the wrapper is made
from plus the colours and fonts used.
How are they similar?
How are they different?
The Wrappers
Both chocolate bars are wrapped in foil
which is sealed on both sides but can be
ripped open easily. The main colour used for
the Twix bar is gold whereas the main colour
for the Mars Bar is black. Both wrappers use
red for the name of the product to attract the
purchasers’ attention. The font used by both
products is very distinctive and if a Mars Bar
or Twix is ever advertised then the same
font is always used.
The titles of poems
Both ‘Presents form my Aunts in Pakistan’
and ‘Hurricane hits England’ feature names
of countries in their titles which suggests
that place is going to be an important
feature in the poems. They are both very
straightforward introductions to the subject
of the poems, in comparison to from
‘Unrelated Incidents’ which is a more
enigmatic title.
Now look at the appearance of the
actual bar…(or the structure).
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Look at the shape
and colour?
How is it similar?
How is it different?
The appearance of the two
bars of chocolate
The main difference between Twix and
Mars Bar is that there are two bars of
chocolate in a Twix and just one Mars
Bar. However, apart from this their
appearance is very similar with both
bars being covered in a smooth rippled
chocolate effect.
The structure of the poems
The poem ‘ Not My Business’ has used a regular
structure so the poem has a clear pattern on the
page. The first three stanzas use a quatrain
followed by a three-lined chorus which emphasises
the point he is making about choosing not to help
others until it is too late. He asks,
‘What business of mine is it’
that other people’s lives are being destroyed. In
comparison, Agard uses a long short-lined stanza to
replicate an autocue because he is making the
point that, when he was writing, people who had
regional accents were not accepted in the media.
The smell and the taste…or
how it makes you feel
Smell the bars – compare the
feelings that are evoked

How are they similar?

How are they different?
Taste the bars – compare
the taste and texture of
the chocolate

How are they similar

How are they different
The smell and the taste
Both the bars smell the same because they
are both covered in a similar type of milk
chocolate. However, they taste quite
different. The Mars Bar has a generally
smooth texture because it contains light
mousse topped with caramel whereas the
Twix Bar is much crunchier because it
contains a biscuit. The size also makes a
difference because a Mars Bar is quite
filling whereas each Twix Bar can be eaten
at different times.
How the poet uses different
techniques to make you feel different
emotions
The poet Osundare uses similes to create a vivid
picture of the violent attack endured by Akanni,
describing he had been beaten ‘soft like clay’. This
creates a very tactile image in your mind; you know
what clay feels like but you also know that when
related to someone’s face it means that all the
bones have been broken. Alvi also uses similes in
her poem but she concentrates on the beauty and
vivid colours by comparing one to the ‘split half of
an orange’. Once again we are all familiar with this
colour and we see the bright vibrant colour in our
mind’s eye.
So whenever you have to
compare…