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Leaving Certificate French Predictions 2018

● As with all subjects, it is impossible to accurately predict what styles of question and topics will come up on the French paper

● It is possible however, to study the past papers and establish the most common features, and to look at current affairs that may have influenced the examiner 
You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert French or French in 90 words opinion piece collection (€)
1. Paper structure
● The French written paper is divided into three sections - aural comprehension, reading comprehension and written comprehension 
● For the aural and reading comprehension sections, the best way to prepare is to listen to and read as much French as possible in the run-up to the exam, and get comfortable with question styles by doing past papers 
● The written comprehension section:  ○ In this section, there are four questions, each with a choice between a part (a) and a part (b)  ○ You must answer one of the parts of question one, and two others out of questions 2, 3 and 4 -…

Eavan Boland's use of symbols and metaphors to deliver truths about society for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

Boland makes effective use of symbols and metaphors to explore personal experiences and deliver penetrating truths about society. (2017)


Another super long essay from someone very knowledgeable, too knowledgeable for their own good! I will show you what to cut out if you suffer from this Ph.D.itis. You may also like: Complete Guide to Leaving Cert English (€) Also, here is a recent article about Boland from the Irish Times.

Eavan Boland is a critical poet of Irish society (does that mean she is critical of Irish society or critical for Irish society? At the moment, it means neither) who allows us to identify with her common themes through quotidian objects and life experiences. She gives everyday objects and events universal significance through her profound use of metaphors, similes and symbols. Her cinematic and descriptive style allows the reader to engage and understand complex themes, as she makes her poems accessible through the use of insignificant objects. (Too repetitive, nothing new.) Boland uses distinctive expression throughout her poetry to convey a sense of urgency, responsibility, reality and truth. Boland believes that “Poetry begins where the language starts: in the shadows and accidents of one person’s life”, and she clearly uses this method, by delving in real and memorable moments and objects to display a global idea. 

Boland makes effective use of symbols and metaphors to explore personal experiences and deliver penetrating truths about society

In, “The War Horse”, Boland greets us with a gallant and unapologetic horse, who has escaped from a local tinker camp (a lot of people would consider this pejorative - and I don't think the author intended this, so be careful), to display and convey the brutality and severity of the troubles in Northern Ireland that were happening at the time. This poem consists of 30 lines sectioned in 15 rhyming couplets, which represent the uniformity and orderly way of suburban life. (Boom! Excellent.) Her specific title firstly portrays a specific object, which is a common theme in her poetry. The poem opens again with a specific scene, “This dry night”, which launches the reader into the scene of destruction. The alliterative ‘c’ in “clip clop”, echoes a cacophonous sound of the horse trotting, which mirrors the repetitive sound of soldiers moving through war stricken streets. As the horse “stamps death” into the ground, “like a mint on the coinage of earth”, he distastefully and dismissively tramples on innocent plants and flowers who just happened to be in the way, much like the innocent bystanders who get in the way of crossfires and battles. Boland uptakes the role of the observer, who watches from the window, “the ambling feather”. Boland’s observatory stance represents the thousands of southern Irish who stood back and watched the paramilitary groups of the north destroy lives, towns and the cities of Belfast and Derry through malicious and violent attacks. (Again, be careful as southern Irish may offend some people.) The poet again mentions a specific place, “Enniskerry Road”, which gives the reader a deeper insight into Boland’s location, which at the time was in the suburbs at the foot of the Dublin Mountains. The short sentences as the horse passes her house, “his breath hissing, his snuffling head/Down. He is gone.” shows the communal sense of relief as the horse moves down the road leaving very little chaos behind him. This indifferent attitude represents how people were dismissive of wars brutal reality if it did not directly affect them. War terminology is introduced in the sixth couplet, where a leaf is torn like a “maimed limb”. She uses the specific language to liken the plants the horse has destroyed to the innocent people who were killed unapologetically in Northern Ireland. The use of the word, “Only”, in the next line produces an air of finality, and how death is an eye opener to the unjust and frantic life in war stricken areas. She mentions three times different kinds of plants, a “leaf”, a “rose” and a “crocus”, who represent the men, women and children who have been brutally killed. (just say this instead of this plus She uses the specific language to liken the plants the horse has destroyed to the innocent people who were killed unapologetically in Northern Ireland.) The “screamless dead” are the voiceless victims who have had their lives viciously taken from them. Boland the divides the observers and the participants by the pronoun, “we”.

The feeling of safety is evident through the “unformed fear” of bystanders, and here, I think Boland is criticising the complacent attitude of society at the time. In the following couplet, “If a rose, a hedge, a crocus are uprooted/Like corpses, remote, crushed, mutilated?”, Boland uses malicious and harsh words, which represent the unjust murders of the innocent.(This doesn't really add anything new.) The “neighbours use of subterfuge of curtains”, this is exactly how many Irish reacted the intrusion of the IRA and the loyalists to the Northern cities. The gratitude of the complacent neighbours, as the horse was “thankfully passing” through the neighbourhood allows Boland to transition into a personal response, as her “blood is still with atavism”. The honestly in her writing shows us, the readers, that Boland is not hiding behind a false pretence of being an active participator in the war effort, but that she too took the bystander approach. By the end of her metaphorical portrayal of the “Troubles”, Boland begins to understand the colonialism of Britain in Ireland, and how a “world betrayed” has become clear through the “Troubles”. Boland finally depicts the Irish argument, and comprehends how British rule for centuries has caused this brutal war, the killings of innocent civilians and the reality of the guilt of the passive neighbour. (Try not to labour the point.) This poem is a direct reminder of the carnage of war and the fear caused by conflict. The relatable and specific event in which a horse breaks loose invites us to understand and empathise with the sudden shattering of peace and tranquillity through violence.

Not all of Boland’s poetry deals with bleak and upsetting themes, as seen in “The War Horse”.(Implicit.) In “This Moment”, Boland dives into the world of suburbia, celebration and motherhood. She has repeated her technique of using specific events or objects as the title, and it immediately engages the reader to see what this moment could entail. She sets the scene in “A neighbourhood.” The short sentences in the first few lines launch us into an atmosphere of anticipation, and mystery. As “Things are getting ready”, there is a calm sense of expectancy and curiosity. The beginning of the next stanza, “Stars and moths”, portrays uses the technique of sibilance, which adds calmness and stillness, even though we are anticipating that something is going to happen. The images of night represent the setting, and regulatory of urban living, as Boland lived in the suburb of Dundrum outside Dublin city. “But not yet.” Conveys yet again the anticipation, as Boland is waiting for her child to return to her, and for order to be restored. The contrast between dark and light in the next stanza, create vivid pictures and realistic images that a reader can relate to. The “window is yellow as butter”, a lovely contrast to the silhouette of the tree previously gives a perfectly appropriate domestic image. A homely and childlike description invites the reader to relate to this simply peaceful setting. Her effective simile of butter allows us to truly imagine the colour, and butter symbolises comfort, the home, and especially Irish homes, as butter is very well known Irish tradition. (The author should try to say all that's in italics in one sentence. It's possible.) The child finally arrives in the following stanza, and the longest verse, and enjambment represent his movement. “A woman leans down to catch a child who has run into her arms” is a beautiful and tender image of parental love, and the affection and innocence of a young child. The repetition of the title, “This moment”, indicates to us that this is the key moment of the poem, it is what the woman has been waiting for. By the end, the natural world has restored its progression, and normality returns. As “Apples sweeten in the dark”, we see the human and natural world harmonise and finally the restoration of peace and order, as the child has come home. “This Moment” is a poem of a celebratory tone, that reflects on a mother’s love. Boland has chosen a very simple moment in her life, and shown us how the simplest of things can represent the most important of things in life, like maternal love. 

Children play an important part in Boland’s life as she herself was a mother. They also play an important role in her poetry, and she deals with the innocence of children in her poem, “Child of Our Time”. However, instead of a peaceful and love provoking story, Boland introduces us to the devastation of the untimely death of children. Boland was inspired by a child who was maliciously killed in a Loyalist bombing in Dublin, and incorporated it with the cot death of friend’s child into a poem of loss, disgust and urgency. Her title includes the reader with the word “our”, which makes us share the responsibility of this vicious death. Aengus was the baby of her friend who suddenly died whilst sleeping, as she feels it is an adult’s responsibility to protect children from death. (This doesn't form part of your argument, so leave it out.) Boland uses the word “lullaby” in the opening line to state her purpose of this evocative poem. She uses the jargon of children to allow the reader to picture a child as they read this “lullaby”. The “final cry” of these children was Boland’s inspiration, and she uses their death to highlight the destruction and unnecessary brutality of war. She is disgusted that the adults of the world let their arguments and differences involve the killing of an infant. The “discord” of this child’s murder has opened up the minds of those responsible, and those who stood back and let it happen. This is a poem of hurt, guilt and prayer as Boland uses these untimely deaths to reinforce the responsibility we have as adults to protect the innocent. The symbolism of the child’s murder in the bombing in Boland’s poem emphasises her anger and disappointment. (The author has already made that clear.) The end rhymes and mostly slant or half rhyme are used to prevent the inappropriate creation of a melody. (Very clever.) The adults “must learn from you dead” and the roles have reversed as the adults are now learning from the child, as opposed to the other way around. The “broken images” are a perception that life has now changed, which it definitely has. A broken reality for the parents whose children have suffered and died due to conflict, carelessness and brutality. The “cradle”, where a child is meant to be safe and secured has killed the child, much like a child who was bombed in his home. As Boland tells these children “sleep in a world your final sleep has woken”, she has evoked a new understanding of a child’s untimely death. The “new language” that Boland wants to bring represents the change that is necessary to ensure that this devastation does not happen again. The final lines which are fragmented by punctuation portray how quickly a life can be shattered. “Child of Our Time”, is a poem representing adult responsibility, guilt and disapproval as an innocent child is thrown into the blaze of a violent war, and the other dies in the undercover monster of his own bed. (It's clear enough from the body of the paragraph.)

Boland’s “The Shadow Doll” again is a specific object representing a much larger idea. A shadow doll was a doll given to a bride on her wedding day, which was wearing a replica of her wedding dress and kept under a glass case. The title suggests a sinister and distorted image, as these dolls were of a creepy and porcelain white complexion. The “they” in the opening line is questionable, as Boland is unclear as to who they are. Society at the time of the custom was very restrictive and women were often considered as possessions rather than humans. “A porcelain bride in an airless glamour” is an oxymoron which represents the cold restrictive view Boland is portraying of marriage. The permanent binding of “neatly sewn” displaces an image of being stuck. “The shadow doll survives the occasion” as a wedding day can be a difficult and challenging day for many women. The doll represents the women who feel and who are forced into marriage. As the doll is “Under glass”, the bride feels like she on show for her husband, and is just on object for a man to show off. The entrapment of marriage is evident as the powerless doll is stuck under the class casing. “She could see herself inside it all”, represents the idea that the bride has finally seen herself in the doll, and has realised she is being trapped by marriage. Boland here allows the doll to represent women worldwide who become overwhelmed and engulfed by loveless marriages. “less than real” represents a falseness in this bride’s life as she realises what she has allowed herself into. In the sixth stanza, Boland finally identifies herself in the doll with the introduction of the word, “I”. She remembers her the night before her wedding, as she is overwhelmed by wedding gifts and everyday objects. (I don't quite grasp all these references to everyday objects. It's like the author is answering a different question. Not one reference to penetrating truths about society though!) These random objects such as “coffee pots and clocks” enlighten us with Boland’s sense of confusion and disarray. The final lines of this poem, “pressing down, then pressing down again. And then, locks” emphasises the finality and entrapment of marriage. The negative resounding sound of a suitcase locking confirms the bride’s feelings of disorientation and loss of individual identity. “The Shadow Doll” represents the women worldwide who become entrapped and suffocated by marriage, and is another example of Boland’s use of metaphors to convey a more universal topic. 

After reading Boland’s poetry, it is evident that she uses metaphors and symbols to display truths of society. She has displayed a profound knowledge of the workings of Irish society, and invites readers to engage with them through her use of accessible language, metaphors and symbols. “Eavan Boland’s poetry offers us a unique perspective on the world in which we live in.” As Boland explores the topical yet sensitive themes of love, marriage and war, she allows us, as the readers to comprehend and understand the importance of these factors in our lives.

Photo by Sarah W on Unsplash

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