Bitesize has changed! We're updating subjects as fast as we can. Visit our new site to find Bitesize guides and clips - and tell us what you think!
Print

English Literature

Ted Hughes: Bayonet Charge

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  1. Back
  2. Next

Sample question

Whatever grade you are working towards, the basic structure of any answer will be the same:

  • The introduction will explain the relevance of the question to what feelings the poem expresses and an overview of the story the poem tells.

  • Paragraph that covers form.

  • Paragraph that covers structure.

  • Paragraph that covers language (sound and verbal imagery).

  • Conclusion: You then conclude on the meaning that emerges from this.

For each point, you need to provide evidence (a quote or reference) and an explanation.

Question
How does the poet present the experience of conflict in Bayonet Charge?
Answer

Points you could make:

  • Ted Hughes explores the experience of conflict by writing about a soldier in the middle of a battle.

  • He uses form, structure and imagery to express feelings of noise, violence and confusion.

  • The form looks regular: the stanzas are eight, seven and eight lines long: this suggests the soldier's strong sense of purpose as well as the thick mud he has to run through.

  • The length of the lines, however changes: there are long lines ending in his destination (lines 3 and 19) showing the long distance he has to run; there are also short lines presenting images of violence and fear (lines 4 and 18).

  • The structure therefore shows the changing emotions of the soldier as he runs across towards the hedge. Outside he may look strong, but inside he is in turmoil.

  • Hughes uses alliteration [alliteration: Words strung together with repeated (often initial) consonants, eg 'Max made many men mad'. ] to express the strong feelings of the solider in battle: the 'r' in lines 1 and 2.

  • He also uses strong nouns and adjectives which he pushes together to form expressive images: line 15.

  • He uses similes to express a sense of hell on earth: lines 8 and 16.

  • Finally, he ends with a metaphor [metaphors: Description of one thing in terms of another, implicitly comparing the two, but without using 'as' or 'like' - eg 'sea of troubles', and 'drowning in debt' are metaphors. ] to show how the thinking, feeling man has been transformed into a tool of battle that will kill or be killed.

Page:

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  1. Back
  2. Next

Back to Poetry: Conflict index

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.