AS English Literature – Unit 1 – AQA – Poetry anthology

This paper is called Aspects of Narrative. In Section B of the AQA paper, you will be given the option of two 42 marker questions and you will need to pick one to answer in the recommended time of one hour.

Revision notes or essay plan/ideas for a past paper Section B question

“Write about how the three writers you have studied use symbolism in their narratives”

Symbolism implies an indirect suggestion of ideas. A veiled mode of communication – conveyed through direct or indirect statement.


  • manual labour – actively commune with nature through work
  • nature – his poems often include a moment of interaction between a human speaker and a natural subject. These culminate in epiphanies or realisations.

winter – death/sleep/seasonal metaphor for death?/hibernation

nature is indifferent, people learn from nature because nature allows it.

Actively engaging with nature results in self-knowledge e.g. Apple-Picking, a day of harvesting leads understanding of death

  • community v/s isolation – solitary travelers – Frost has great respect for social outcast or wanderer

Speakers who choose solitude to learn more about themselves or civilation



  • fruit – desire, temptation, religious symbolism (forbidden fruit – Adam+Eve)
  • lilies – sometimes associated with death, innocence, purity, value in the market – virginity (untouched; flowers can be plucked, representing loss of purity)

“new buds” – Laura’s health



  • Dr Eckleburg – the loss of spiritual values, neglected, God’s eyes “God sees everything” looking down on the ruins
  • Valley of Ashes – moral decay, where immoral acts take place (Tom’s visit, Myrtle’s death), the fall of American society due to the desire to become rich, beneath the riches there is poverty, the Wilson’s infidelity, immorality is all associated with the failed American dream; hopelessness, decline in morality
  • the green light – the American dream, unobtainable, Gatsby is driven to get Daisy’s attention, pursuit of wealth, morals ignored to gain wealth (corrupt American dream), sign of hope to Gatsby, the physical and emotional from Daisy

it is the elusive future “minute and far away”, green has connotations of new, natural, un-corrupted, green grass indicates that time has passed. the green light has various connotations throughout the book


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