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Brendan Kennelly for Leaving Cert English: Begin

"Begin" by Brendan KennellyYou may also like: 2019 Guide to Leaving Cert English. Full notes on Brendan Kennelly will be made available to everyone who has the 2019 guide, free of charge, as soon as they are ready.

Summary: a philosophical reflection on starting something new again and again communicated through the description of a morning walk across the Grand Canal in Dublin.

Style features:
anaphora (1) (highlighted in bold) adds a sense of determination as does the repetition of the word “begin” throughout the poemenjambment highlights the never ending need to begin again imperative tone, “begin again” is an encouraging command to never give up alliteration e.g. “dying in dark / determination” enhances the imageryreference to familiar places, “Pembroke Road” near the Aviva Stadium in Dublin 4, make the poem more accessibleimagery appeals to multiple senses: “summoning birds”, “sight of the light”, “roar of morning traffic”, “crying birds in the sudden rain”, “branches…

Philip Larkin Full Notes and Sample Answer for Leaving Cert English

“Larkin’s poems often reveal moments of sensitivity which lessen the disappointment and cynicism found in much of his work.” 

To what extent do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with suitable reference to the poetry of Philip Larkin on your course.

Philip Larkin Leaving Cert notes
"Mounting the lectern, I peruse a few Hectoring large-scale verses" from Church Going by Philip Larkin
I’d heard that Larkin is one of England’s favourite poets before I studied his work. I was therefore quite surprised at Larkin’s tone: dry, intellectual, often cynical, occasionally iconoclastic, sometimes even verging on misanthropic. It didn’t add up to me that he would be so loved if he was truly so negative. Indeed, peeling back his often minimalist, dystopian imagery, I found that there is a gentle empathetic presence in a lot of his work. The theme of transience dominates Larkin’s work. “Explosions” and “Whitsun Weddings” have a forward momentum that culminates in a lyrical metaphor of transcendence that emphasises that death and change are part of life, not the opposite to life. Addressing a difficult matter is different from being negative. In fact, I find Larkin’s views life-affirming. Larkin’s detached tone serves as a bleak baseline that allows his gentler remarks to stand out, most notably in “MCMXIV”, “Church Going” and “At Grass”. For a man who may initially seem to have nothing but contempt for religion, he turns to its powers quite a lot, underlining his how in tune he was with human nature as seen through his Biblical allusions in “Explosions” and “Cut Grass”.

For the full sample answer as well as a comprehensive overview of how to approach this and any other such essay, check out our brand new download covering every one of Larkin’s poems on the course: Wedding-Wind, At Grass, Church Going, An Arundel Tomb, The Whitsun Weddings, MCMXIV, Ambulances, The Trees, The Explosion and Cut Grass.

It is a 28 A4 page (9,300 word) pdf download with only the most relevant material for your English Higher Level H1. 

The notes are deliberately extra long to give you choice and ample food for thought - and most importantly, prepare you for the exam rather than just one essay title.

It also contains a step-by-step detailed deconstruction of the process of writing this particular essay providing you with a toolkit to crack any poetry essay title.

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