Animal Farm Revision Notes


Attached are revision notes and key events of each chapter for Animal Farm. I hope these are useful for anyone sitting exams this June. Click the links below to download.


Animal Farm Revision Notes


Animal Farm Key Events

To Kill A Mockingbird


Revision notes for To Kill A Mockingbird can be found in the link below. These should help you for your English Literature exam. Its best to learn English Literature of by heart so its basically just recall in an exam essay.


To Kill A Mockingbird Revision Notes

The Field of Waterloo- Revision Notes

The Field of Waterloo – Thomas Hardy



  • The poem’s subject is an epic battle fought on 18th June 1815 in what is now Belgium bringing to an end the Napoleonic Wars which had lasted for 12 years. In the battle a joint Prussian and British force battled Napoleon’s French army.
  • The scale of the battle can be seen from the numbers involved. 190,000 men were involved in the battle in which 47,000 men were either killed or wounded.
  • One army major who visited the battlefield on 22nd January described the sight as “too horrible to behold,” “the multitude of carcasses, the heaps of wounded men with mangled limbs unable to move”


  • Hardy’s poem captures the brutal ferocity and gory outcome of the battle, not by focusing on the battle itself, but by describing it from the perspective of the small animals, insects and finally plant life whose habitat is the field of battle and who are unwittingly caught up in it.


  • The opening word of the poem establishes the conversational tone of the poem.
  • A sympathetic tone develops as he captures the terror of the animals
  • The tone shifts in the final verse to sorrow as he reflects on the premature death of the plants, destroyed before they have grown to maturity. The image, by association, can be interpreted as a sorrowful reflection on the young men killed in battle will never fulfil their promise and potential in life.


Words & Phrases:

  • In each verse Hardy’s references to nature stress its fragility in the face of military onslaught – fleeing rabbits; lark’s eggs; worms; butterflies; burrowing moles. These vulnerable images of nature reflect the fragile nature of life which are then juxtaposed with the destructive forces of war  
  • The first verse uses swift verbs of motion – “their white scuts flash at their vanishing heels” – to capture the panic and terror felt by the rabbits as they try to flee from the advancing cavalry.  These are then juxtaposed with the heavier onomatopoeic “thud of hoofs” which implies its menacing power
  • Onomatopoeia is a prominent method in the poem. In verse 2 & 3 the onomatopoeic “crushed”  and alliterative phrases “terrible tread” and “beaten about” are used to describe how forcefully the wheels of the artillery destroy the landscape – the insects and their habitats. (In the last verse “trodden and bruised”)
  • Hardy’s use of personification to describe the futile attempts of the worm to evade the chaos creates sympathy for the plight of the creatures and hints at the devastating scale of human destruction taking place above it. (It is also used to capture its innocence, using black humour to portray it as it “asks what can be heard overhead”)
  • This effect is reinforced by the hyperbolic metaphor used to describe the bloodshed foul red flood” – which also skilfully exploits alliteration, consonance and assonance to place greater stress on the image and capture the bloody gore of the battle and subtly reflect on the enormous scale of the human loss and suffering
  • The final verse shifts the focus from insects and creatures to the plant life destroyed by the battle. The imagery stresses thwarted potential. He uses two images of plants that have been cut off and destroyed before they have fully grown and reached their prime. The words “greened” and “gold” are counterpointed by alliteration and consonance in the second last line while the keys words “bud” and “bloom” are counterpointed in the final line to emphatically reinforce this brutal reality of war. The repetition of “never” also helps to create this sense of tragic loss and waste.
  • Final verse also employs a metaphor to describe the battlefield as “a miry tomb”



  • The poem is written in tercets (three line verses) which has the effect of condensing the imagery in each verse thereby making it stand out more prominently
  • The poem has a complicated rhyme scheme known as chain rhyme aba, bcb. cdc etc…  Each verse rhymes aba, but the middle line then provides the rhyme for the next verse.
  • This has the effect of allowing each verse to stand out prominently while also linking the verses to capture the relentless process of destruction the battle creates. This effect is also enhanced by the use of enjambment between the third and fourth verses.


In Westminster Abbey- Revision Notes

In Westminster Abbey – John Betjeman



  • The poem is set during the second world war at a time when Britain, was part of an alliance of nations which were fighting against German expansionism in Europe and North Africa
  • England, and London in particular, was subject to regular bombing raids by the German air force.
  • British society of the time was rigidly divided into social classes – the speaker in the poem is a wealthy upper class woman who lives in 189 Cadogan Square, a very affluent part of West London.



  • The poem is a dramatic monologue – a poem in which the poet creates a character who speaks for the entire poem to an audience who does not respond. During the course of the poem, the speaker’s character and attitudes are revealed to the reader.
  • This dramatic monologue is a satirical poem. The more the woman says the more the poet reveals her flaws and exposes her to ridicule and contempt.
  • Through the poem Betjeman satirises, not just this one woman, but the English upper class.



  • Being a dramatic monologue the tone is dominated by the speaking voice of the well-off lady. Her tone throughout is bossy, domineering and  condescending
  • Beyond the speaking voice of the woman, the reader can sense the poet’s contempt for this kind of person



  • In this dramatic monologue the poet creates a situation in which we overhear a wealthy English woman pray in Westminster Abbey. He uses irony throughout, as the woman unwittingly in the process gives her true character away.
  • Her ostentatious use of Latin in the first verse – “Vox humana” – when addressing God suggests a pompous, conceited character
  • The poet uses the conventional language of praise and worship – “Gracious Lord”, “ dear Lord”, the motivation for her prayer is continually shown to be a series of base motives and not in any sense spiritual or noble
  • In the second verse she implores God to –  “oh bomb the Germans” – incorporates a complacent assumption that God is violent and shares her prejudices
  • Her self-centredness appears several times in the rhymed couplets at the end of verses 2 & 4
  • In the third verse her imperial pride shines through when she prays that God “keep our Empire undismembered”
  • As the verse progresses her sense of racial superiority emerges when she asks the Lord to protect the “Gallant blacks” from Britain’s empire who have joined the army but the verse concludes with “Protect them Lord in all their fights / And even more protect the whites.”
  • Betjeman portrays her as more materialist than spiritual. Her selfish materialism is mocked by the rhymed couplet at the end of verse 5 when she prays “So, Lord, reserve for me a crown / And do not let my shares go down.”
  • Her unchristian spitefulness is evident in the pride with which she offers to send “white feathers to cowards.”
  • Her half-hearted Christianity is apparent when she promises to attend “Evening Service / Whensoever I have the time” and even more prominently in the rhymed couplet that ends the poem – “And now dear Lord, I cannot wait / Because I have a luncheon date”.



  • The poem is written in seven sextets. Like An Irish Airman there are eight syllables per line but in this poem the rhythm is trochaic tetrameter rather than iambic. By placing the stress on the first syllable of each “foot” the poet helps capture the speakers bossy tone.
  • The poem has a bouncy / jaunty rhythm which helps convey the insincerity of the prayer as it lacks intensity.
  • Each verse rhymes abcbdd. The rhymed couplet at the end of each is particularly effective for stressing and ridiculing her flaws

Attack by Siegfried Sassoon- Revision Notes

Attack by Siegfried Sassoon


  • One of the most famous of all the war poets. He joined the army initially with enthusiasm as an infantry officer, fighting on the Western Front. The bravery he displayed in the trenches earned him the nickname “Mad Jack” and the Military Cross in 1916.
  • Grew disillusioned with the tactics employed in pursuit of the war, in particular trench warfare in which the combatants fought for disputed territory from a complex system of trenches which were dug into the landscape.
  • These tactics led to massive loss of life. For example in the Battle of the Somme in July 1916, 60,000 men were killed or wounded in the first day. One million soldiers died in the four months of the battle for the gain of a few miles of ground.
  • It was a terrifying theatre of war in which both sides bombarded each other relentlessly with artillery before infantry regiments went “over the top” to try to claim the opposing trench



  • In one of his diary entries Sassoon made reference to the “vile landscape” and “hideous noises” which made “everything unnatural” – a feature of trench warfare he attempts to capture in this poem, together with the terror and heroism of the soldiers.


  • The poem blends a sense of horror with sympathy for the soldiers. The caesural pause in the final line emphasises the desperate cry of despair that brings the poem to a dramatic conclusion

Words and Phrases

  • The poem opens with a rhymed couplet to describe dawn as it breaks over of the battlefield. Daybreak is conventionally a dazzling picturesque scene but Sassoon’s description strips it of any romantic glamour and gives the battlefield  a more threatening, unnatural  aura

–          The use of colour to describe the sun – “wild purple” – creates a dark , sinister intensity

–          The personification of the sun as “glow’ring” transforms the conventional image of sunrise to make the scene seem more menacing

–          Using personification and sibilance to describe the ridge as a “scarred slope” captures the savage destruction of the landscape

  • Use of imagery: Sassoon stresses the dereliction and destruction of the scene by focusing on the smoke  – he uses sibilance in lines 3&4 to perhaps create the hissing sounds of its burning embers and emphasise the harshness of the scene
  • He uses the verb “shroud” metaphorically because of its association with death – bodies are wrapped in a shroud as part of burial ritual – thereby creating a more macabre and gloomy scene
  • Onomatopoeia is used to capture the deafening sound of the artillery fire as they bombard the enemy trench in preparation for the men going over the top – “the barrage roars
  • The visual image of the men as “clumsily bowed”  and the repetition of “and” stresses  the weight of their kit
  • Pity and horror is created when he uses a euphemism to describe that they “climb to meet the bristling fire” implying their heroic sacrifice  and  the terrifying ordeal
  • The image of time ticking “blank and busy on their wrists” helps capture their panic and the meaninglessness of their lives at this time
  • Hope is personified in the last two lines to link the death of hope with the death of the soldiers. The particular choice of adjectives furtive eyes” and “grappling fists” captures the frantic panic of the soldiers as they face certain death
  • The verb “flounders” in the last line confirms the futility of their attack and reflects the poet’s bleak despair at the slaughter of so many men



  • The first six lines describe the “vile landscape”;  the next six lines describe the soldiers as they go over the top
  • Using only one verse gives the descriptions greater intensity
  • It is written in the present tense to create a sense of immediacy as we, the reader, relive the experience with the poet as it happens

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death Revision Notes

An Irish Airman Foresees His Death- W B Yeats



  • The airman of the poem is Robert Gregory who was from Kiltartan, CountyGalway.
  • He was born into the privileged Anglo-Irish aristocracy and lived on the CoolePark estate
  • In 1916 he left his aristocratic lifestyle behind and joined the Royal Flying Corps and became a fighter pilot in the First World War
  • In February 1918 his fighter plane was shot down over Italy and he was killed.
  • Yeats admired Robert Gregory for his versatility as a scholar, an artist and an athlete. He was a very close friend of Robert Gregory’s mother, Lady Augusta  Gregory, with whom he set up the Abbey Theatre



  • The poem is written in the first person with Yeats assuming the persona of Robert Gregory as he contemplates the inevitability of his death in battle and the reasons why he joined the RFC to fight in World War I.
  • Yeats eulogises and praises a man who he greatly admired. In doing so he creates a portrait of the character of the airman, portraying him as heroic figure on account of

–          the uniqueness of his reasons for enlisting

–          the calm , rational detachment with which he confronts his death and contemplates his life



  • Structure and theme are closely interlinked in this poem. It is written almost entirely in iambic tetrameter, the steady rhythm and consistent rhyme scheme (ababcdcdefef) reflect his calmness and composure in the face of his imminent death as well as his detachment from both life and death. The use of the single stanza



  • The opening “foot” of the poem stresses the word “know” which emphasises the airman’s awareness of the inevitability and imminence of his death. The regular rhythm of the line, however, shows that he does not face his death with any sense of anxiety or panic.
  • The use of the euphemism to refer to his death – “meet my fate – plays down the significance of his death and, therefore, reflects his calm acceptance of it.
  • Repetition is used to carefully balance the third and fourth lines against each other to highlight the speaker’s indifference and detachment from the war he is involved in.
  • Paradox is used in lines 5 & 6: Kiltartan Cross is a parish, not a country but the line illustrates his allegiance to his local place and people rather than king or country, something Yeats admired in the Anglo Irish aristocracy
  • Lines 7-8 reflect the airman’s realism that the outcome of the war will not significantly affect the lives of the rural peasants on his parish which separates him from the idealism of most people who joined the war effort who believed that they were fighting for a lofty cause and were making the world a better place.
  • Lines 9-12 directly address his reasons for joining the RFC
  • Lines 9 & 10 both employ double negatives which are given added stress through the use of a caesural pause in each line to stress the uniqueness of his reasons and to separate him from everyone else. Many joined because they were conscripted (“law”); many joined because they thought it was their patriotic  “duty”;  many were inspired by the prospect of glory or caught up on a wave of national enthusiasm (“cheering crowds”) while others were inspired by the rhetoric of politicians (“public men”). This combination of methods strongly emphasise that these were not the factors that influenced Robert Gregory
  • The phrase “lonely impulse” – stresses the individuality of his motives
  • The words “impulse”, “delight” and “drove” highlight that central to his motive was the pursuit of  intense pleasure and joy that he got from doing dangerous things and risking his life
  • The last four lines show that this emotional/irrational motive was then balanced with a rational reflection of his life – this is stressed by the caesural pause in the line “I balanced all, brought all to mind” , portrays his decision as one that blends reason and emotion in perfect balance

Comparing Poems

When comparing poems you need to look for all the features that you look for when studying a single poem.

You need to look at the:

  • content of the poem
  • tone and mood of the poem
  • form in which it is written and structured
  • ways in which language is used

When writing your response, avoid writing an examination of one poem and then the other and comparing them in a final paragraph. Integrate your comments on the poems throughout.

However, you also need to compare these features in both poems.

You will need to look at each poem individually to plan your response, but when writing your response you need to integrate your ideas on both poems.

Here’s one way you could approach this task:

Planning your response

1. Read both poems through carefully and get an overall sense of what each poem is about and how the poets handle their topics.

2. Re-read poem ‘A’ and make brief notes either around the poem, if you are able, or on a separate sheet, noting key words, phrases, images etc. and your response to it. Do the same with poem ‘B’.

3. Note down some brief quotations from each poem that you will use to illustrate your ideas. You could underline or circle these if you can write on the copy of the poem.

4. Make two lists – one headed similarities and one headed differences and list the main points under each heading.

Writing the response

It is important that you avoid writing an essay on each poem and then try to join them together. The best responses are those that integrate the ideas in parallel throughout the essay.

Here’s one way you could approach this:


Introductory paragraph commenting on what each poem is about and capturing the ‘flavour’ of each.


Several paragraphs based on your detailed reading of the poems. It is a good idea to make a point about poem ‘A’ and then a point about poem ‘B’.

It can help you structure your ideas in a logical way, e.g. one paragraph could compare the way each usesimagery, while another paragraph could focus on structure etc.


A concluding paragraph, summing up the main similarities and differences, saying which you find more effective and why, if you are asked this.

Keep both poems at the centre of your focus and don’t be tempted to write all about one and then the other