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Write a reflective commentary of 350 words describing how the feedback from your tutor on your first two assignments will inform your approach to Part 2 of TMA 03.

TMA 03

Remember to put a word count at the bottom of your assignment and to follow academic conventions as set out in Section 4.5 ‘Presentation and academic conventions’ in this Assessment Guide.

There are two parts to TMA 03.

  1. Write a reflective commentary of 350 words describing how the feedback from your tutor on your first two assignments will inform your approach to Part 2 of TMA 03.
  2. In an essay of no more than 1500 words, compare and contrast the role (or figure) of the poet in Home at Grasmere by William Wordsworth (lines 1025 to the end) and ‘To a Skylark’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley (stanza seven/line 31 to the end of the poem.) You should refer closely to the poems/extracts, identifying Romantic characteristics in each during the course of your discussion.

Please note that both parts of the TMA are compulsory. Fifteen per cent of the marks are allocated to your reflective commentary and 85 per cent to your essay.

Home at Grasmere by William Wordsworth

Hearing, I be not heartless or forlorn! 1025
Come, thou prophetic Spirit, Soul of Man,  
Thou human Soul of the wide earth that hast  
Thy metropolitan Temple in the hearts  
Of Mighty Poets; unto me vouchsafe  
Thy guidance, teach me to discern and part 1030
Inherent things from casual, what is fixed  
From fleeting, that my verse may live and be  
Even as a Light hung up in heaven to chear  
Mankind in times to come! And if with this  
I blend more lowly matter – with the thing 1035
Contemplated describe the mind and man  
Contemplating, and who and what he was,  
The transitory Being that beheld  
This vision, when and where and how he lived,  
With all his little realities of life - 1040
Be not this labour useless. If such theme  
With highest things may [ ], then, Great God,  
Thou who art breath and being, way and guide,  
And power and understanding, may my life  
Express the image of a better time, 1045
More wise desires and simple manners; nurse  
My heart in genuine freedom; all pure thoughts  
Be with me and uphold me to the end!  

‘To a Skylark’ by Percy Bysshe Shelley

 What thou art we know not;  
  What is most like thee?  
 From rainbow clouds there flow not  
  Drops so bright to see,  
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody 35
 Like a poet hidden  
  In the light of thought,  
 Singing hymns unbidden  
  Till the world is wrought  
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not: 40
 Like a high-born maiden  
  In a palace tower,  
 Soothing her love-laden  
  Soul in secret hour  
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower: 45
 Like a glow-worm golden  
  In a dell of dew,  
 Scattering unbeholden  
  Its aerial hue  
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view: 50
 Like a rose embowered  
  In its own green leaves,  
 By warm winds deflowered,  
  Till the scent it gives  
Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-wingèd thieves: 55
 Sound of vernal showers  
  On the twinkling grass,  
 Rain-awakened flowers,  
  All that ever was  
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass. 60
 Teach us, Sprite or Bird,  
  What sweet thoughts are thine;  
 I have never heard  
  Praise of love or wine  
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine. 65
 Chorus Hymenaeal,  
  Or triumphal chant,  
 Matched with thine would be all  
  But an empty vaunt,  
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want. 70
 What objects are the fountains  
  Of thy happy strain?  
 What fields, or waves, or mountains?  
  What shapes of sky or plain?  
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain? 75
 With thy clear keen joyance  
  Langour cannot be:  
 Shadow of annoyance  
  Never came near thee:  
Thou lovest – but ne’er knew love’s sad satiety 80
 Waking or asleep,  
  Thou of death must deem  
 Things more true and deep  
  Than we mortals dream,  
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream? 85
 We look before and after,  
  And pine for what is not:  
 Our sincerest laughter  
  With some pain is fraught;  
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. 90
 Yet if we could scorn  
  Hate, and pride, and fear;  
 If we were things born  
  Not to shed a tear,  
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near. 95
 Better than all measures  
  Of delightful sound,  
 Better than all treasures  
  That in books are found,  
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground! 100
 Teach me half the gladness  
  That thy brain must know,  
 Such harmonious madness  
  From my lips would flow,  
The world should listen then – as I am listening now. 105

Guidance notes

Part 1

Part 1 asks you to reflect upon the feedback you have received from your tutor on your two previous assignments. This means that you will need to look carefully at the remarks made on the Assessment Summary (PT3) feedback and the marginal comments on your first two assignments. Begin by summarising what the tutor has suggested as ways you might improve your writing of future assignments, then detail which parts of this advice you intend to work on in the essay, and how you propose to do it. Here is an example of a reflective exercise:

One way feedback from my tutor will inform my approach to TMA 03 is in the writing of introductions. On my second TMA my tutor writes, ‘I’d like to see you step up to writing more informative introductions’. The way I have tried to approach this is to introduce more specific details about the texts I am studying and be clearer about the stages the essay will follow instead of simply re-stating the question.

Another thing kept coming up: the lack of a clear focus on the question. My tutor explained that she knew I had understood the question, and had responded positively to the two passages in TMA 02, but I had ‘spent too little time dealing with the actual demands of the question, which involves close textual analysis’. There were other pointers, but the main issue I need to reflect on is how I sustain my focus on the close reading aspect of the question. This was confirmed when I looked back at TMA 01 and I saw similar comments there. When I looked more closely at my tutor’s comments on both assignments, I could see that although I didn’t do a bad job of identifying different literary techniques used in the passages, I needed to spend a lot more time explaining the effects produced by those techniques.

As I prepare for TMA 03 I am going to go back and look at the way the authors of the module material discuss the effects produced by different literary techniques, making notes on the way the passages are written, trying to be specific about how this affects the way I respond to them. Then I will work my way through the sections of the online skills tutorials, as advised by my tutor on TMA 02. This will help me to gauge whether I have understood the techniques clearly and can identify them in different examples. It should also help me to think about how the two passages are similar to one another and how they are different. (347 words)

Part 2

In preparing your answer for Part 2, you should read the extracts from Wordsworth’s Home at Grasmere and the extract of Shelley’s ‘To a Skylark’ carefully several times, as this is an exercise in close reading and analysis. The extracts from both poems are printed above, but also appear in the Reading Supplement for Romantics and Victorians where you will find explanatory notes which will be important for your understanding of the poems.

The online poetry skills tutorial will be essential for your close analytical readings of the poems, and you should also re-read ‘Reading a poem: formal aspects’ in the introduction to Chapter 1 on Wordsworth (Romantics and Victorians). Above all, remember that detailed attention to poetic techniques such as form, rhyme, rhythm, tone, imagery, caesura, enjambment, alliteration and assonance are important if you are to do well in this assignment.

Before you start, read the subsection on ‘Textual analysis’ in Section 4.2 of this Assessment Guide, which will remind you of what your tutor will expect from this assignment.

All sections of the ‘Skills tutorial: poetry’ will be helpful, and you should aim to have completed these in preparation for writing your assignment; but you will find the sections on structure and form, sound patterns in poetry, rhythm and metre, and figurative language especially helpful. You can find guidance on the role or figure of the poet in the works of Wordsworth and Shelley in Romantics and Victorians, especially Chapter 1, pp. 29–32 (the section entitled ‘Reading a poem: biographical aspects’) and pp. 42–6 (the section entitled ‘Writing the self’) and more generally in the discussions of the role of the ‘poet-speaker’ in Shelley’s poetry in Chapter 2.

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