AQA · literature · poetry

Comparing The Prelude to Storm on the Island

This week, your homework is to compare the two poems we studied in class this week: The Prelude and Storm on the Island. Clearly, these are excellent poems to compare because of their concerns with the relationship between humans and nature. Here is the question:

How is the conflict between humans and the environment revealed in Prelude and Storm on the Island?

In class, we worked on these paragraph headings. These are designed to encourage you to compare as you go along rather than write completely about one poem and then another.


Here is an example of one way to write a paragraph. Notice how it compares the two key elements in the topic sentence – the idea of dramatic imagery first in Storm through the militaristic language and then in Prelude through the dramatic description of the impact the mountain has on Wordsworth. There are two phrases here which show comparison: ‘the threat is LESS physical’ and ‘LIKE Heaney … he is ALSO troubled’. To improve:

  1. Say a little more about the words selected – what about exploring the effects of the words ‘huge and mighty’, for example?
  2. Could this example say anything about A03 – especially when talking about the military metaphors in Storm?


Here is another example:

screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-17-08-32This feels more complete doesn’t it? You might argue ‘sir, this doesn’t zoom in on ‘strafes’ and ‘bombarded’ but to do so might interrupt the fluency of the response. This candidate clearly explores the impact of the words by talking about the storm as ‘a destructive force’ and how it ‘highlights the vulnerability of the islanders’ and they are  ‘victims of nature’s power’. If an examiner can’t see from this that you’ve got a perceptive grasp of the poet’s language then let them do the exam! Look how it connects the adverb ‘invisibly’ to the end of the poem – this counts as an exploration of structure. This also compares:’this intangibility is also reflected’ is pretty good. The sentence at the end draws together the ideas within the paragraph and underlines the comparison in a perceptive way.

Use this simplified mark scheme to help you:screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-17-08-14

Good luck.


2 thoughts on “Comparing The Prelude to Storm on the Island

  1. Prel) drawn in by ‘a little boat’, which is portrayed as innocent. As he is ‘(led by her) with the parentheses indicating perhaps the deceitful nature of the boat. In addition to this, he personifies the boat as a female entity, further demonstrating his attraction to it, as well as suggesting that, as men were generally in charge, this felt unnatural to him, confusing him, and perhaps that he had not perceived nature to affect him previously, and was affected perhaps without realising. Perhaps there is some dramatic irony here, as the reader is given the sense that something feels out of place.
    Storm) His use of the oxymoron ‘exploding comfortably’ enforces nature’s indifference as the storm ‘pummels’ the man’s house. Additionally, Heany’s use of a dramatic monologue gives an impression of a one-sided conversation further highlights nature’s indifference and how he is unable to change his situation, simply attempting to drown out the sounds of the storm with his voice. This could illustrate the narrator’s attempts to keep his identity as he, unlike with the Prelude, realises how the weather is influencing his life, with the repetition of the first person plural ‘we’ creating a contrasting sense of togetherness. Perhaps this shows his desire to fight against the weather, but his fear prevents him from doing this. It symbolises the conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism and how Heany felt powerless to have any effect on it

    another comparison ;0


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