AQA A level English Literature B: Social Protest revision questions

Excuse the messiness and note form: this is purely my own revision. Uploaded to share the questions, and if you can make sense of it, my planning and ideas for what you might respond with. Enjoy.


Tony Harrison Revision Questions

‘Tony Harrison’s social protest poetry is solely concerned with social class issues.’ To what extent do you agree? Remember to include reference to Harrison’s authorial method

“We say us not us T.W” that shut my trap elitism in education etc //poetry’s the speech of kings: feudal etc. contrasted with the Standard English in v “croak doing t’same” instead localising the problem

Patience Kershaw “bald hurryer” the objectification and reification of a woman into a miners task. 1842 commission reveals young girl having to work alongside naked sweating men…subject to abuse etc…not just social class here but GENDER too. More miners objectification in National trust, with the convict winched back “flayed, grey, mad, dumb” monosyllabism shows the exploitation. But also outlines social class issue of how it was the “gentlemen” who carried this out.

Gender also important in ‘Divisions’ ideas of homosociality. “unambigiously male” “brown ale” “makes a man of you”> brotherhood that dominates society. Kind of a social class “one front door orange in a row all blue”…referring to blue collar etc but also this sense of exclusion. Poetry as feminine art?

Concerned with humanity and decent treatment of each other. E.g “north-east skin so sunless white” “hope for jobs for all of you” H outlines in divisions some humour: humanising and abolishing the hard man façade. “diurnal courses” and “coal creating forces” sense of human exploitation of resources and the need for humanity to come back into touch with nature perhaps?

Racisim in v “pakis, niggers, evne yids” this is primarly a race issue…but has soial class issue because of the classes within society that such minorities get conformed to. Also seen to be a working class problem who “blame” such sections of society. Personal example of father used “wobbly on his pins” “tiring trek for tins”…vulnerability and stupidity.

Fatherly example in marked with d also social issue of class: “theres no heaven to reach”. Here harrisno may be criticsing religion “opium of the masses”> or may just be saying how capitalist society enslaves the soul?


‘Tony Harrison’s protest is crude, blunt and ineffective as a tool of protest.’ To what extent do you agree? Remember to include reference to Harrison’s authorial method.

Context: ‘v’ particularly under flak: bolshie poet etc. but even this poem is not ineffective: very reaction proves so. Harrison has a large authorial range and command of many emotions: more personal Marked with D, embodies REAL voices in all his poetry, even Cornish. Social class. Elitism.

Marked with D more personal passion and sensitivity. “when the chilled dough of his flesh”…partially crude and blunt by starting the poem with this line. But when subject is about father…see religious references and overall pitiable tone of poem RELATEDTO SOCIAL CLASS

‘v’ is undoubtedly the poem under flak. “CUNT PISS SHIT AND MOSTLY FUCK” “pakis, niggers, even yids” lists of expletives t shock: create horror etc. crucially uses the language of the racist. OF the working class indivudal to create REAL poetry, not upper class sentimental drivel. He uses this language to break through the silence of the working class, who for too long have been “lost in this poem for the bourgeoisie” (working)…breaking onto channel 4 etc

Subtle nuances of language in them and uz. “we say us not us t.w” that shut my trap. [uz] x3…use of IPA phoenetics to distinguish between upper and lower classes. Exposes the dehabiliastitatng abuse he got at uni leeds. “croak doing t’same”. Use of the very language of the oppressed: Cornish “mes den hep tavas a-gollas y dyr”…how the i.p and verse still lines up etc: repetition makes more oppressive

Can be less poetic, more direct. “most of all I hope for jobs for all of you” “next year your tattooed team gets relegated” “wealth (h changed to w” for all” “price o wales” no prizes for guessing who nicked the missing letters. Yes a little more crude: but still effective in simplifying poetry from complex metaphors to an audience of working class who can understand.


How does Harrison portray the degradation of society and of culture? Remember to include reference to Harrison’s authorial method.

‘v’ focuses superficaully on social issue of graffiti on graves “red tick they’d never marked his work much with at school”…revealing the real degradation concentrated on: CLASS, SOCIAL MOBILITY, gov issues….thatcher government increased unemployment, cutting social support, even trying to play football matches behind closed doors. Working class enemy. “croak doing t’same” use of voice, lack of mobility

National trust: sense of irony in the title. “bottomless pits” sets this negative tone…and the degradation of environment (sharing the diurnal courses and coal creating forces in v)…later transitioning to SOCIAL abuse

Working shows again personal abuse: “patience Kershaw, bald hurryer” objectification and reification of woman…working alongside naked sweaty men who abused here. Reduced to a role…a little like the “dough” that defined harrisons father MWD

Homosociality in divisions: “unambiguously male” “wealth (h to w) for all” brotherhood that dominates society. One front door orange in a row all blue…denoument of poem but also wider collection of harrisons poetry that suggests alienation and disenfranchisement. A man of two worlds postcolonially…in that he does not fit into upper or lower class

Race: “pakis, niggers, even yids” to blame…”wobbly on his pins” “tiring trek for tins”…ridoclousness of racial issues. Working clss issue? Akala argues not…first endorsed by upper class.


Section C Revision questions

‘Social and political protest writing relies on the structuring used by writers.’ Explore the significance of structuring in two texts.

Blake chose to organise the anthology with innocence and experienced: meant to show two contrary states of the mind. However, there is much overlap in the social issues of race, organised religion etc. Within poems structure is the most important in shaping meaning. Meanwhile Hosseini novel structure is very carefully engineered through multiple narrators, extended chronology, with ring composition to help show the bildungsroman format

Hosseini’s use of retrospective narration: bildungsroman beginning “I became what I am today” c1, with two key echoes “come there is a way to be good again” and “for you a thousand times over”, later repeated, by Farid, Sohrab…RK c14..ring comp. Mostly to generate engagement…but used a tool to ruminate over the rape of hassan: key ethnic tension: and the need to act…and the repercussions of not acting.

Blake structure of London: 3 stanza. Heroic couplets. All perfect. No way out. “chartered” poem in terms of structure. “cries” “sighs” all reinforcing and expressing oppression.

Blake use of 3 person narration before holy thurs experience: “a little black thing in the snow” before giving the thing a voice. Reification to become an object, a speck: alienation. But also suggesting that judgeents should not be made so easily.

Blake placing Mother’s speech in 3 stanzas centrality in little black boy. There is “comfort”…but this is the problem because the black boy is becoming indoctrinated: disgust here for modern readers hat black boy must learn to “shade him till he can bear” before “rejoicing like lambs” around gods tent. Suggesting that there is no liberation from oppression till heaven…? Use of “southern wild” in first line immediately structures the poem to reflect the oppression of the ‘other’

Hosseini use of Analepsis and prolepsis. Rape of Hassan b7: 4 moments: ‘Brotherhood’, rupia, slaughter sheep “look of acceptance” and the blizzard. Some ambiguous, some obvious, some discovered later….delays and freezes this rape moment: disgusting. Points out x shaped table in the same chapter as the bolt described is used to hit Assef’s eye “GET IT OUT”

Social and political protest writing champions the idea of a nation or nationality. Explore the significance of patriotism etc in two texts.

Blake’s ambiguous poetry that can be seen as the representation of a nation…i.e Echoing Green promotes the idea of a unified, co-existing nation. “laugh away care” idyllic..” on the echoing green…sense of echo, so repeat etc?

Hosseini comments on two nations: usa vs afghan. “Certainty of turmoil and dropped him into a turmoil of uncertainty”. Here Hosseini seems to show that all nations have their own personal issues. Contrast “no question. No id” patriotic about the moral code of afghans. “like being cured a tumour” food stamps compared to cancer…showing superior afghan survival instinct?

Blake discourages patriotism ad nationalism…use of London to show that there are “mind-forgd manacles”, theses “marks of weakness, marks of woe”…shows corruption of the mind, enslaved to the state. The nation is not celebrated. “every blackening church apalls”. Idea of individualism, separation from state “is this a holy thing to see” the attack on organised religion, the “companies” “Multitudes” and “thousands” that are exploited through marx’s “opium of the masses”

Hosseini seems to attack imperialism and patriotis in the invasions of Russia, Taliban etc. “like discarded toys”. Too much intervention. Too much greed. Disrupts children’s childhood, c.f “generation of afghan children whose ears would know nothing but bombs and gunfire”. “a more afghan way of dying” I.E.D’s.

Blake: little black boy: nationality is suppressed. “I am black, but oh my soul is white” “I’ll stand by him and stroke his silver hair / and be like him, and he will then love me”. Reification of the black boy to “till he can bear the heat”.

Social and political protest writing is a work of fiction in which a prevailing social problem is dramatized through its effect on the characters of a novel. Explore the significance of fictional characters as devices in two texts.

Intro: type and nature of ambiguous blake poetry. Hosseini novel could be read for pleasure, a page turner. However both use characters and figures that are allegory at the very least, or at the most rounded characters that reflect human responsibility. Exposes many problems of identity, happiness, ethnic divides, marginilsation, organised religion

“old john” in echoing green…use of names to create real people and identities. Hwoever here a upoptia is worshipped where he can “laugh away care”. Contrasts with the anonymity and lack of characters in london apart from the narrators’ class consciousness “in every face I meet”. Use of names in chimney sweeper innocent with “dick joe ned jack” all locked up in coffins of black…ordinary working class names…characters yes, but real representation of the children who suffer.

Hosseini’s love story: C13 “we took a few steps together” how the character is interrupted by Pashtun general…and how this sentence implicity implies coercion but without direct reference. Contrasts with the rebellion against power later when he says “you will never refer to him as Hazara boy in my presence again”. Fictional moment…but has ethnic repercussions and ripples.

Voice of the little black boy: a character, “southern wild” ‘OTHER’, “bereaved of light” oppressed racially.

Voice of chimney sweep “I was happy on the heath, so they dressed in clothes of death”… private insight into child’s view…fictional character but actually reflecting and breaking down the oppression of children ni this society. Undermining of org religion in “happy and dance and sing” “gone up to pray to heaven priest and king” “who make up a heaven of our misery”

Hosseini’s autodeigetic narration: “I became who I am today” automatically sets this regert out: bildungsroman format throughout. “come. There is a way to be good again” c14 and c1…but also the “26 years earlier” imp of chornology and planting the bills for WAHID rather than hating on Hassan. Personal story…but has wider world implications by attacking social issues of ethnicity domination…but also a more universal reading of

Social protest novels praise human organisation and the efficiency of government Explore the significance of the human organisation in two texts.

Blake seems to praise it in holy Thursday, but in experience clearly not…”thousands” “multitudes” “companies” sense of joy in all the children singing, with these benevolent beadles “wands as white as snow”. C.f “is it a holy thing to see?” “fruitful lands” “babes” “fed with cold and usorous hand”. Contrast here.

Hosseini critical of usa’s organisation “turmoil of uncertainty” repetition and reversal of concept here. Also qsee “no question. No id” “like being cured of a tumour”…irony in terms of novel…but very critical of the welfare support in this country. Perhaps also the inefficiency of both government and people.

Hosseini seems to uphold afghani worldwide human org…”according to tradition” in USA yet there are “ghazal” “afghan music” use of words such as “khosteep” “lafz”. Hosseini celebrating the international unity of the afghan family. Also shows divsions being put aside. Although contextually: talk about hazara/Pashtun and how only one race gets to get out.

Hosseini seems to use Farid as western response “deny him one, he takes 10” “life savings” of Zaman’s orphanage. Modern middle eastern audiences only send children to private schools: pertitent point of novel.

Blake praises echoing green organisation: the harmony with nature (as also presented in the fly “thy summers play/ my thoughtless hand/ has brushed away) diseppling anthropocentrism…but also harmony of society with old john “laugh away care” sitting by the oak laughing: reflecting the children too “laughter was heard” even nature reflects “echoing green”. Also the natural structure of the day through chronology “sun does descend” “darkening green”.

Harrison exposes criticism of the Thatcherite government yet poses no solution. To what extent do you agree? Remember to comment on Harrison’s authorial method

“doing t’same” “I hope for jobs for all of you” “health h changed to w for all”…use of voice. Solution clearly defined here: employment.

National trust “a better way to plumb the depths of Britain s dangling a scholar” perhaps no realistic…but Harrison satirically attacking the privileged classes of Britain and how for centuries they have been exploiting the lower classes “flayed, grey, mad, dumb”. Reversal of fortunes.

Elitist education: them and uz “we say us not us t.w” that shut my trap. Modern: horrified at calls for grammar schools to be reintroduced- sense of elitism. Ideas of streaming etc. condescending language. Use of voice…to champion people like himself us us us, suggesting that thatcher underrepresents the common people. Flaws also indicated in “red tick they’d never marked his work with much at school”

Standing with the miners Arthur scargill. “price o wales” “forged their fetters” “nicked the missing letters” mining as some kind of bondage…forged so done by another human on purpose to contain and control. Sense of reification here: aggregates of people doing the same job for the same privileged class…and how the government mis uses people. Harrison perhaps does not suggest alternatives here…but perhaps not his job

Criticises age old government: working “patience Kershaw, bald hurryer” again sense of exploitation, reification and abuse in that fact the girl is first introduced by role. And that it is ambiguous that she is a girl. Relies on knowledge of the 1841 parliament commission that revealed the hideious conditonos among naked men etc. “lost in this sonnet in the bourgeoisie” sense of how poetry is for the ruling classes…is this a criticsm of thatcher government in terms of education and perceptions?


Harrison is too focused on his own working class issues to care about the rest of society. To what extent do you agree? Remember to comment on Harrison’s authorial method

Marked with D: “no heaven to reach” “chilled dough of his flesh” “reunited” “Florrie”. Very personal poem use of names…subject is the father. Is he too focused on revealing his own lowly background here? Don’t think so…poetry he writes is for the general working class, and his father’s dough that “no man would see rise” is a symbol of the international class struggle: Marxist. Does care about the rest of society…also how the personal is perhaps not emphasised because of how the father’s body is debased to the very product he is making

Voices in v. “and it was mine” shock twist, sense of narrative in how Harrison’s voice of skinhead is alter ego…perhaps life before uni, or what would have happened without his own individual efforts for education. “red tick they’d never mark” “mad, dumb” convict is stupid?. Them and uz voice very much against the personal abuse from Hoggart, Cortez… “so right, yer buggers then!” although use of “we’ll occupy” suggests a wider understanding of class, and thus he is focused on rest of society.

Working: concentrates on patience Kershaw “bald hurryer” again talk about reification…abuse in mines. How he stands with Arthur scargill leader of NUM- “price of wales” “bottomless pits” NT- exploitation of environment and workers. ‘v’ “worked out pit” “coal creating forces” “diurnal courses”. Thus cares about other people as well as environment, both local and further afield: Cornwall rather than north. “mes den hep tallas a-gollas y dyr”.

divisions: does have some focus on exclusion “one front door orange in a row all blue” talk about use of colour and assigning to class..but human: wider judgement on equality etc. but also the priveildged position “hope for jobs for all of you” condescending? However…does highlight the social issues such as “wealth h changed to w, for all” and cricket played with shovel blade etc…dilapidation as north gets neglected. Even today 25% more likely to die before 65 because of northern life and neglect.





Harrison’s social protest writing is ultimately a beacon of hope for the future To what extent do you agree? Remember to include reference to Harrison’s authorial method.






‘Tony Harrison’s use of the structure of poetry is key in his social protest writing.’ To what extent do you agree? Remember to include reference to Harrison’s authorial method.




Social and political protest writing aims to evoke unease in the reader/audience, to change their ways. Explore the significance of confrontation in two texts.





Social and political protest writing have the power to change society by winning hearts and minds. Explore the significance of how the audience is affected in two texts






Social protest is best done simply, and with maximum appeal to the masses Explore the significance of simplicity in two texts.




Harrison seems at odds with his own heritage in his social protest against elitism. To what extent do you agree? Remember to comment on Harrison’s authorial method




Social protest writing at its best is autobiographical. Explore the significance of the personal context of the writer in two texts.




Political and social protest writing is totally serious, with no room for humour and theatricality to make serious political points. . Explore the significance of the tone of texts

Ironic tone of first holy Thursday vs serious tone of holy thurs experience: “wise guardians of the poor” in the sense that they guard them from riches, escape etc. vs “fed with cold and usurious hand”..”and their son does never shine and their fields are bleak and bare and their ways are filled with thorns.” Anaphora here very dreadful, serious tone. C.f London with “in every” x3 representing widescale oppression etc

Hosseini: “a more afghan way of dying” again use of irony here that ali died to a i.ed. although a very serious topic…and also seemingly subverting intentions to humanise Afghanistan and to destroy the typical perceptions of the country as war torn and full of ieds…”hearing is not the same as seeing”…this idea of generalisation attacked here. Contradictory novel: but through bildungsroman narrator style…so meant to be flawed?

Hosseini use of other humour “tight sugary cunt” at the expnse of Hassan’s mother. Serious though because it reflects the Pashtun hazara tension and the powerless of women and how they are objectified. Expense at jews too…”my mother should know better” assef and reference to hitler, ethnic cleansing etc.

The fly is seemingly a fun poem, the structure representing the small size of the fly…and the fleeting decision to squash it “thy summers play/ my thoughtless hand/ has brushed away”…attempts to dispel anthropocentrism. !”then am I happy fly, if I live, or if I die”…some kind of hopeful tone here, identifying with the fly.

Chimney sweeper has some contrast in tone: coffins of black vs “naked and white” “green”…use of colour here goes hand in hand with tone. But the dream serves as this all important respite from the oppression of the real world….but in this way perhaps condemning the poem even more to sadness etc. use setting- from industrial to country seeming…allusions to utopia of ecohoing green.



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