Sample Exam Questions on Yeats’ poems

REVISION QUESTION ONE 

‘The innocent and the beautiful / Have no enemy but time’

 Discuss ways in which Yeats presents ideas about aging and death in ‘In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz’.

In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

REVISION QUESTION TWO

‘The broken wall, the burning roof and tower / And Agamemnon dead.’

 Discuss Yeats’ presentation of violence in ‘Leda and the Swan.’

In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

REVISION QUESTION THREE

‘Did that play of mine send out / Certain men the English shot?’

 Discuss ways in which Yeats presents past regrets in ‘Man and the Echo’.

In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

REVISION QUESTION FOUR

‘Romantic Ireland’s dead and gone / It’s with O’Leary in the grave’

 Discuss Yeats’ presentation of how Ireland has changed in ‘September 1913’

 In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

REVISION QUESTION FIVE

‘Turning and turning in the widening gyre / The falcon cannot hear the falconer;’

 Discuss ways in which Yeats presents ideas his vision of the future in ‘The Second Coming.’

 In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

REVISION QUESTION SIX

‘The pure cold light in the sky / troubled his animal blood.’

Discuss Yeats’ presentation of troubled relationships in ‘The Cat and the Moon.’

In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

14 thoughts on “Sample Exam Questions on Yeats’ poems

  1. Do you have any questions relating to an Irish Airman? Definitely the one I understand the least… :/

    • Try this:

      ‘Those that I fight I do not hate / Those that I guard I do not love’

      Discuss ways in which Yeats presents Patriotism and heroism in ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Death’.

      In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

      • Thank you so much!! Definitely feeling alot more confident about the exam having read your students notes and doing the study questions. Absolute life saver :D :D

  2. I really don’t understand Man and the Echo!!
    What would you say to answer that question (3 or 4 points/what could you cross reference with)!

    • -Yeats’ feeling of guilt and regret with reagrds to his play ‘Cathleen ni Houlihan’, which he believed may have sparked rebellion in some people, who were then executed as a result of their uprising. Compare to Easter 1916, and also Sailing to Byzantium, with the tone of regret and disillusionment
      -Yeats’ questioning of the issue of life after death, wanting to reconcile his life etc. Regrets not fulfilling his romatic life (Maud Gonne and all the other, frankly creepy stuff he did :P). Link to WSAC, and his resentful attitude towars the swans who have a fulfilled life. Also Broken Dreams, where he wants to mee MG in the afterlife etc.
      -Man and the Echo can be see as him wanting a release from his life, link to Sailing to Byzantium, where he want to be “gathered into the artifice of eternity”. Link to Irish Airman and how death is seen as a release in that poem, but how in this it is not a viable release as the questions still haunt him “No release in bodkin or disease”
      -Then just random points about form, language etc that you could integrate into above paragraphs…signifantly, Man and The Echo has an addition poetic voice, which interrupts his thought, never allows him to finish. contrast to AIAFHD, where it is a stream of conciousness…

      Sorry for the long-ness, kinda got carried away :/
      Got any other ideas?

      • Thank you!!! SO helpful :D good luck tomorrow if you’re sitting the exam

      • No problem :)
        Good luck to you too, hopefully the questions are easy and it’s 10/30 for an A :D

    • Try:

      1)

      ‘…the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand

      Discuss ways in which Yeats presents ideas on innocence in ‘The Stolen Child.’

      In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

      AND

      2)

      ‘…cold and rook-delighting heaven.’

      How does Yeats show things to be strange and unexpected in ‘The Cold Heaven.’

      In your answer explore the effects of language, imagery and verse form and consider how this poem relates to other poems by Yeats that you have studied.

      I hope that helps!

      Charlotte

  3. Found this site by chance when looking Cat &Moon but extremely useful given lack of past papers on Yeats. Find it extraordinary that OCR never told me about it in spite of my repeated requests for help on possible questions. Does anyone know if there is a similar site dealing with A2 -specifically White Devil and Paradise Lost 9?

  4. is there only one question on each poem or can it differ?
    if so, can you give me a question on “in memory of eva gore booth and con markievicz” apart from the one you have already published?

    • An idea maybe when doing essay plans make sure each main point is clear, then when writing make these points into paragraphs but remember to PEEL. Point, Evidence,Explain,Link. For your introduction make sure it is clear and concise BUT don’t repeat the question in your answer, think about writing the context and linking your named poem in the introduction.
      Then your paragraphs; make sure they flow into one another and dont suddenly start off on a whole different section. if you link the paragraphs to the question they are more likely to make sense and contiously keep to the point rather then going off on a tangent. In your paragraphs embed your evidence Example : Yeats uses the fisherman to show that the romantic Ireland is ‘dead and gone’ and instead shows his idealistic ireland one that is simple and innocent as a ‘freckled man’.
      Ideally use around three other poems to link to to help you get as many marks as possible.
      Then write a conclusion that sums up the points and make sure you refer to the question in this as well!!!

  5. Hi, thank you all so much for this website it has been such a help :) I have my Yeats exam next Friday and was wondering if you have any questions relating to ‘The Fisherman’ as I’m not quite sure what kind of question would come up for that. Thank you!

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