Pupil Analysis – Passion (Anushka Kulkami)

Q: Discuss how the poet uses images and language to portray a change in mood and tone of the poem, “Passion”.


“Passion”, written by Kathleen Raine, is a poem that tells the readers the poet’s own story, her emotions, making it a personal poem. It highlights the feelings of desire and love and uses nature’s elements as images to give a beautiful description. (this is an introduction to the poem rather than an introduction to an answer to the above question)

The poem begins with a resigned and despondent state that divulges the poet’s sadness and immense pain (“I lay”). (as a point this is fine, but it needs to be explored by locating specific ideas within the text and analysing the reference. The quotation you include makes no sense as you haven’t made any comment about its significance) However, we come across somewhat of an oxymoron that gives the main idea of the stanza – “full of desire I lay”. The words “desire” and “lay” seem to contradict each other (how? Often people who desire each other lie down next to each other… My point is that your analysis doesn’t really explain itself clearly or convincingly); the feeling of energy and inactivity are both conveyed through this line (hmmm, getting there, but I think you need to justify this further and tie it to other aspects of the poem that contribute to building this impression).

(try to ensure that there is some kind of flow from paragraph to paragraph in your essay, even if it is ‘Raine also uses ‘the sky’ to…‘)“The sky” is a very significant image in the poem and is an imperative element in changing the tone of the poem (what does an imperative element mean? ‘The sky’ is definitely not an imperative). In the beginning, the sky is one of the causes of her painful situation (“the sky wounding me”) (integrate quotations into sentences rather than putting them in brackets as they are key to your comments and analysis) and it seems as though it shelters everyone but the poet, leaving her deserted (“each cloud a ship without me sailing”). The same sky, later in the poem, is the one to walk into her loneliness and bring her back to life (“then the sky spoke to me”). It is because of the sky that the poet rejuvenates and gets her light back (“the sky rolls away”). (you need an anchor here as you are running rapidly away from the question. What change has the sky invoked? Recap or restate your ideas clearly to address the question and help the examiner understand your interpretation)

(again no connection) The first three stanzas of the poem delineate the poet’s condition and cause the readers to sympathize with her as she is alone and broken. The pain that pierces through her heart is so grave that she compares it to death—“mortal death, heartbreak”. (good, but now really drill into this. How does her comparing her feelings to death and physical pain demonstrate the power of her emotion?) The language used signifies the absence of her beloved’s company, causing her to be crestfallen, both physically and mentally (“my body grew weak….lacked, tranquillity”). (you’ve got to stop and explain your quotations as otherwise they are pointless – what about telling the examiner about what you think Raine is suggesting about love if it can leave her physically weakened as well as mentally drained?)

(no link) The phrases “longed-for” and “mute telephone” create a subdued and broken atmosphere and it yet again contrasts with her “desire” for love. (how? Stop and explain – analyse the quotations and tell us why you’ve bothered to pick them out – meaning and significance) Moreover, Raine states further in the poem that she is so hurt that she cannot even put it into words—“the language… out of reach”. Thus, the first three stanzas deliver a contrasting idea that seems to oppose the title, “Passion”. (how? Is this not a state of passion – passion is not always a good thing)

The word “then” appears at two places in the poem, becoming the turning point each time. The first “then” brings in the tone of realization and acceptance of the life surrounding the poet. (I am scratching my head as I have no idea what you are talking about) The elements of nature are her everything and “the sky” explains that she is not alone – “know now that… your nature is.” (no idea what this means) The “wounding sky” now gives her refuge and causes her perspective to change and she understands that life just needs to be looked at from a different angle, and it will be beautiful. (how does this relate to the two ‘then’s you mention at the beginning of this paragraph?)

(no connection) “Lift up your heart” is a powerful phrase that completely converts the poem into an inspiration and the focus of the reader’s mind changes from sympathy to support and recuperation. (Why? Stop and explain, analyse and make your ideas clear) The poet compares her sadness to “the tomb”, which is also symbolic of her dead soul; and the passion hiding inside is the “living air”. (so what? Analyse) Hence, Raine personifies passion by giving it life and suggests that man’s life lies inside his passion. This stanza uses strong phrases and impactful imagery to bring out the theme of rejuvenation. (which stanza? How are you answering the question?)

The idea of a “flower” and a “tiger” (two different elements of nature) sharing the world with man is a fact. However, it appears surreal as the three are spoken of in one sentence; underscoring the interdependence and entwined lives of man and nature.

The second “then” brings about a change in the poet’s attitude towards life, and the strength that she gains makes her feel as though she will live forever along with her companion, the nature. (“then I saw….into immortal”).

The poet makes use of the phrase “new cell born” which aptly describes that the desire inside her has not just been reignited, but it has been re-BORN—“burned with the holy fire of passion”. This is an adroit description as the poet equals her pain to “mortal death” earlier in the poem. (this is not an essay, it is just a collection of ideas jumbled together)

The last stanza concludes the poem as a happy one and the readers are convinced and satisfied that the poet’s life has found its track. Raine refers to “war ending” and “sky rolls away” which signifies the peace inside her once again, taking the readers back to the first stanza (“my soul lacked, tranquillity”). The first and the final stanzas are in stark contrast, making the poem unveil the power of nature’s love towards man and highlighting the revelation that life is how you see it.

The poem flows swiftly and the images and language used changes the tone of the poem beautifully. It begins with misery and ends with complacency; thus giving joy to both, the readers and the poet. (you don’t actually answer the question here, how and why does the tone change?)



I am going to be pretty brutal here, but sometimes that is needed to get you back on the right track. Don’t be downhearted by my feedback, but make some sensible adjustments and your ideas will become much clearer and your essays will flow much more convincingly.

Okay, so first thing is first. This is not an essay. Your paragraphs seemingly have no connection to each other and there does not seem to be any sensible order to your comments. You pick up on an idea, run with it for a little while and start with another one. This is a classic sign of someone who has not actually planned what they want to write and how they can answer the question.

So, your first job is to use your introduction to do exactly this. You will probably write 3-4 body paragraphs about different ideas that answer the question. These should be outlined in your introduction. What you are looking for is something that directly addresses the question rather than gives a brief overview of the poem or a background to the poet (that is completely irrelevant).

With this question: Discuss how the poet uses images and language to portray a change in mood and tone of the poem, “Passion”. I would begin by reflecting the key words of the question into my opening sentence (I’ve put them in bold):

In ‘Passion’, Raine’s tone sways from the despair of heartbreak to hope inspired by the beauty of the natural world. (1) Initially the imagery of the clouds’ tranquillity seem to mock the misery of the poetic voice, which is consumed with heartbreak and  (2) as a result has lost all artistic inspiration. (3) However, the majesty of Nature and her observation of its different states, both calm and tempestuous, lead to a more positive tone as she accepts that  (4) the highs and lows of passion are all part and parcel of existence, for humans and for the natural world.

Where I have put numbers in brackets, I have provided a plan for the ideas I am going to discuss in the essay. With this simple structure you could quite easily bring your ideas together and improve the quality of your essay immeasurably.


Introduction – As above, this is to serve as a guide to your examiner for what is to come and also for you.

Analyse quotations – when you include a quotation you really need to explain why you have bothered. Integrate them into your sentences and then explain meaning and significance:

Raine demonstrates the extent of her misery by lamenting the peace and tranquillity in nature that she desires. She says ‘the sky [is]wounding me’ when describing the clouds calmly floating by. This peaceful image of nature would normally be something calming, but to the poetic voice it represents everything she desires, but fears she will no longer possess given her state of heartbreak. The word ‘wounding’ suggests that she feels that even nature seems to be against her and deliberately inflicting pain upon her, which demonstrates just how powerfully she has been affected by her break up.

– Link paragraphs – a good essay should almost sound like a good story. You don’t want it to be disjointed and bitty, but to flow as one whole rather than many different parts. Simple links at the beginning of paragraphs are really effective. Something like ‘Another way Raine does this’ or ‘In addition’ or ‘Later in the poem’ or ‘However’.

– Anchor sentences – when ships face storms they drift off into the ocean to the peril of all, but if they put a firm anchor down they will stay where they need to stay. You are the ship and the storm is the pressure of an exam – you need anchors!

An anchor sentence is a mini conclusion to each paragraph that tells the examiner directly how you have answered the question:

So, initially Raine uses the conflict between the imagery of Nature’s tranquillity and her raging misery to create a tone of bitterness and melancholy.

Band 5 Mark 11/25

You make some relevant points, but all too often they are only partially developed or explored. However, this does demonstrate some understanding of the overall meaning of the poem and uses supporting evidence from the text, albeit without any analytical probing to suggest significance.

In addition, this essay suffers from being disjointed and often losing track of the question at hand.


9 thoughts on “Pupil Analysis – Passion (Anushka Kulkami)

  1. Hello Mr Sir,
    I find your poem anlysis as well as comments on sample answers very helpful.
    I will be writing my boards in the coming year. I would like to know whether you will be accepting more sample answers anytime soon. I would really appriciate comments regarding my answers so that I can improve them before my exams.

    Thank you.


    • Hi P,

      Glad my notes have helped.

      However, unfortunately I am not accepting essays as I am swamped by general life.


      Mr Sir

  2. Hi!
    I admire the advice that you have given to other students and it has given me the courage to seek your advice on my writing. I have written an essay with the question, “In what ways does Kathleen Raine convey to you the powerful emotions of the speaker in Passion?” I was wondering if you could take a moment to review my piece.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Ishika,

      Thanks for the compliment 🙂

      Unfortunately I am not accepting submissions at the moment as I’ve been overwhelmed with them before and at the moment I am pretty busy with life as well.


      Mr Sir

    • Hi Sir,

      Hope you are doing well.

      I need some set of samples material that shows analysis on language and style aspects.

      Thank you.


  3. Dear MrSir,

    I would like to receive your blog emails regularly. Please register me (nkomaesn@hotmail.com) for this purpose. I find your website of much value to me.

    Thank you.



  4. hi Mr Sir I hope you n your family r fine me ask you about 4 weeks ago if you could please sir analyse the poem Ode on Melancholy by John Keats for me so as I could help my students for their forthcoming exams please please please Mr Sir help me Thanking you in advance. God bless

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