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Sister Maude

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by

Alice Reeve-Tucker

on 21 November 2012

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Transcript of Sister Maude

Sister Maude by Emma Florence Harrison (1910) Before showing it to students, discuss what a painting with that title might depict. Display the picture. Is it the kind of illustration they expected? Annotate the picture with comments. Use an interactive whiteboard for this if possible. Who was Christina Rossetti? 1830 - 1894 This is an ambiguous poem that raises more questions than it provides answers....

...... but that's ok!

It means that you can come up with INDIVIDUAL and PERSONAL responses, which is GREAT! Narrative Gaps Find the gaps and ask the questions Close language analysis:
Speaker and tone FORM Sister Maude Do students think that it fits the poem? This could develop into a detailed discussion.

Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer. Why did the man die?
How did he die?
•Is the father better than the mother – is he definitely in heaven, while she’s waiting at the gate?
•Why the references to sleep?
•Why will Maude get no sleep? • Why does the father wear a golden crown and why does the mother have to win one?
• Is there a rank order here? What is it?
• Where is Maude heading? In all traditions most ballads are narrative in nature, with a self contained story, often concise and relying on imagery, rather than description, which can be tragic, historical, romantic or comic.

Another common feature of ballads is repetition, sometimes of fourth lines in succeeding stanzas, as a refrain, sometimes of third and fourth lines of a stanza and sometimes of entire stanzas.

Most, but not all northern and west European ballads are written in ballad stanzas or quatrains (four line stanzas) By Christina Rossetti She wrote the lyrics to 'In the Bleak Midwinter' and she was fiercely religious. She was an Evangelical who believed in the Bible, and in the importance of the individual's relationship with God. It was faith rather than 'goodness' that would get you to heaven. STANZA 1 QUESTIONS?????
What might the nature of the speaker’s ‘shame’ be?

What might be Maude’s motives for telling tales on her sister? Spend 2 minutes discussing as many ideas as possible and write them down in a mindmap In today's lesson we will: Read 'Sister Maude' and explore the story behind the poem.

We will understand what 'Dramatic Monologue' means in poetry and we will analyse the changing tone of the poem STANZA 2 Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace. STANZA 3 You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you. What sort of death threatens the soul?
If someone murders you, does your soul go to hell?
If not, then what has Maude done to threaten the man’s soul? Did he commit suicide? STANZA 4 My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late. STANZA 5 My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. Spend 3 minutes noting down 2 or 3 possible stories behind the poem so that you have a record of different interpretations DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE: a poem in which the speaker either addresses the reader or a presumed listener (i.e., is in the middle of a conversation) and in doing so reveals aspects o their character. Remember that
you need EVIDENCE
in the poem to support
your ideas! What would you say about the speaker's TONE in this poem? In pairs, find evidence for the speaker's tone and decide some of the ways in which it changes throughout the poem.

4 minutes STARTER Write down and define the following terms:

1. perspective

2. connotations

3. sibling rivalry

4. euphemism

5. ambiguous THEMES:
What relationships are being explored in this poem?
How would you describe these relationships? Make a notes of these answers in your files Who told my mother of my shame,
Who told my father of my dear?
Oh who but Maude, my sister Maude,
Who lurked to spy and peer.

Cold he lies, as cold as stone,
With his clotted curls about his face:
The comeliest corpse in all the world
And worthy of a queen's embrace.

You might have spared his soul, sister,
Have spared my soul, your own soul too:
Though I had not been born at all,
He'd never have looked at you.

My father may sleep in Paradise,
My mother at Heaven-gate:
But sister Maude shall get no sleep
Either early or late.

My father may wear a golden gown,
My mother a crown may win;
If my dear and I knocked at Heaven-gate
Perhaps they'd let us in:
But sister Maude, oh sister Maude,
Bide you with death and sin. STRUCTURE enjambment? Caesura? end-stopped? line length? repetition? number of lines? rhyme scheme? opening and ending? - what impression do we get of Maude? What do we learn about her?

- How does the speaker feel towards her sister?

- How does the speaker feel towards her parents?

- What could have happened to her lover? In groups, write down some answers to the question that I give you. Use the mini whiteboards. Also, think of a question that you have about the poem so far and write that down as well. You have 4 minutes.
Full transcript