Waking With Russell — The Thread – Essay Plan

From today’s class discussion…
Choose two poems which approach a similar theme in different ways.

Explain the nature of these different approaches and discuss which approach leads, in your opinion, to the more pleasing poem.


  • Name of writer
  • Name of the text(s)
  • Date written
  • The gist of the text
  • Intention (What is your essay going to be about)

 Paragraph One
  • Father worrying about his weak son
  • “All that trouble just to turn up dead”
  • Use of italics to show he is looking at the matter in the past – his worry is now past
  • The weakness of Jamie’s life when he arrived
  • “the thread”/ “they don’t know how it held”
  • “the thread” is a metaphor for Jamie’s life; both are fragile/ easily broken
  • Fear that his son would die
  • “ploughed straight back into the earth”
  • Metaphor to describe the near-death birth – connotations of “ploughed” are destructive; “into the earth” suggests being lowered into a grave

Paragraph Two
  • Jamie makes a full recovery
  • “out-revving every engine in the universe”
  • Hyperbole to emphasise the new power of his son’s lungs
  • The family are united by the terrible experience
  • “now the thread is holding all of us”
  • The metaphor has changed from one of weakness to one of strength
  • Enjoyment of fatherhood – playing with his sons
  • “the great twin-engined swaying wingspan of us, roaring down the back of Kirrie Hill”
  • Onomatopoeia – emphasising his new strength
  • Synecdoche – father and sons making up an aeroplane

Paragraph Three
  • Life lacked purpose before he was a father
  • “the true path was lost to me”
  • Metaphor – sense of life as a journey
  • He became a father in middle age
  • “I was mezzo del cammin”
  • Reinforces previous metaphor (quote is from Dante)
  • He was in darkness before his son arrived
  • “you cut in front and lit as you ran”
  • Imagery of his son showing the way – bringing light

Paragraph Four
  • Son brings joy to father
  • “like lovers”
  • Simile – intimacy/ closeness/ affection
  • Joy of smiling at his son
  • “smiled poured through us like a river”
  • Simile – Flowing/ power of the affection
  • Being in love with his son actually makes him happier
  • “the true gift never leaves the giver, returned and redelivered”
  • “ver” allteration – reflects ongoing and permeating love between father and son

  • The Thread is about fear and love
  • Waking with Russell is about fatherhood giving purpose to the father
  • Which one do you prefer
  • Why?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s