Write a personal response to the poetry of Paul Durcan. (50)
'Shakespeare's depiction of evil in the play King Lear is far more interesting than his depiction of goodness'. Discuss. (60)
Show how the cultural context influenced the storyline in 'Foster' by Claire Keegan.
The Difficulty That Is Marriage
Q1. What kind of person do you think the speaker is? What would you like to ask him?
Q2. What do you think is the difficulty that is marriage, according to the speaker?
Q3. Is this a poem about the difficulty of marriage or is it a love poem? Or is it both?
Q4. Reread the poem ‘Nessa’. What are the differences and similarities in terms of themes and issues raised, mood and atmosphere, and styles of writing?
Q5. Durcan has been praised by critics for his ‘emotional directness when dealing with family relations’. What was your reaction to his emotional directness in this poem?
Q6. Do you think the conversational style of this poem works well? Explain your views on this.
The Girl with the Keys to Pearse’s Cottage
Q1. If you were to draw a sketch of the girl, what details would you include? Refer to her expression, her clothing, her mood.
Q2. What political point is Durcan making in this poem? Do you think he is making it in anger or in sadness? Explain your thinking.
Q3. Is it not highly ironic that Cáit Killann has the keys to Pearse’s cottage?
Q4. Who is Cáit Killann? Do you think she might represent more than just the girl Durcan met when he was 16? Discuss.
Q5. Does this poem reflect the thinking, attitudes, values and fears of young people in Ireland in present times?
Imagine that you are a journalist sent to investigate the cultural context of the worlds of the three texts from your comparative course.
(a) Write an article on the cultural context that you found most interesting. (30 marks)
(b) In a second article compare the cultural contexts of the other two worlds with each other. (40 marks)
'The theme of blindness is explored in great detail throughout Shakespeare's tragedy King Lear'. Discuss.