WJEC lit poetry response – model answer for 10 marks…

Model response: poetry. I am not claiming this to be wonderful, but it should give you an idea of the shape of a WJEC response.

The poem You Will Be Hearing From Us Shortly is a poetic account in free-verse of an interview. The poet presents a study in authority and abuse of power in a dialogue in which the free verse form is used to highlight the weakness of the individual being interviewed: “would you care to defend their relevance Indeed”. Here the voice of the interviewee remains silent, somewhat cowed by the use of the harsh “defend” which carries an immediate presumption of guilt within it. The poet is able to use the verse form to present a visible structure on the page which represents the awkward silence followed by the interviewer’s thoughts or response. As the poem develops, the interviewer becomes increasingly powerful, using the “Royal “we”” in line 7 and becoming increasingly personal as the attack develops.
The poem is, therefore, exploring the potential for society to subdue the individual using the metaphor of the job interview in which the interviewer represents society as a whole. The ideas which are considered move from education, through age, to marital status. As the interview continues, the use of Rhetorical Questions increases as the sentences grow shorter and the syntax more broken, suggesting increased speed and harshness in the attack and a possible sadism becomes evident as this speeding up seems to suggest some latent pleasure.
The mood is one of aggression together with outrage as the reader begins to empathise with the interviewee whose silence becomes ever more disturbing to us. The aggression is shown by the use of language implying dissatisfaction in the interviewee – “how much of a handicap…?”- and there is a persistent feeling that the odds are stacked against the interviewee from the start. The repetition of “So glad we agree” reinforces the smugness of the interviewer and helps to build our sense of outrage that such an interview could be taking place. We patently do not agree, as readers, with this outcome.
Stanza 5 shows some impressive language as the interview increases in passion. The questions are increasingly accusatory: “that is the way /you have always spoken, is it?” implies both disdain and the explicit non-expectation of a reply. The speaker is heated enough to make an error at “ were you educated?” which seems in itself to be a question wholly in keeping with the negative tome and therefore suggests that Fanthorpe is suggesting the true feelings of the interviewer. The short “ and how” looks both forward and backward reflecting both on the education as well as on the potential “handicap” carried by the interviewee.
This is an exciting poem which graphically portrays the potentially callous abuse of the weak in society through an extended metaphor of an interview. The insincere responses of the interviewer render no need for the interviewee to speak and help to reinforce the idea that the individual has no real voice in society.

Mr Peel, SGS 2011