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A dramatisation of William Wordsworth's poem 'The Affliction of Margaret'. Set in a contemporary suburban kitchen and shot as though Margaret is sometimes speaking to a friend or interviewer and sometimes pleading with her son in her head. Her mental state deteriorates as the poem goes on and she becomes more hopeless of him returning.
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First broadcast:
17 March 2010

Classroom Ideas

Can be used to explore the themes, form, language and structure of the poem. Students, in groups, can be asked to focus on a different aspect of the poem: picking out lexical sets for loss and love or for earthly and spiritual images; noting where the camera shots bring out a sense of narrative structure (and explaining it). They could also consider the relationship of the form (the ballad or nursery rhyme influence) to meaning (eg making ordinary everyday suffering universal). Students can consider the context of the poem (what kind of person Margaret would have been and the reasons for her son’s departure) and the significance of Wordsworth’s choice of subject matter, as well as the choice of narrative style (using a character’s voice rather than reporting the story). What effect does this have on the clip, on the poem, on the meaning?

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