1. What is the girl doing before she stops to rest? (1)
She is hoeing the fields, preparing the fields to grow crops
2. What kind of mother is the speaker describing in stanza 2? Quote from the poem to support your answer. (3)
“slow caresses” tells us of the mother’s tenderness, the care she is taking with her child
“sharp nails”, “prowl”, “sharp electric clicks” speak of her strength and protectiveness;
a lioness looking after her cub
3.1 Quote two examples of simile. (2)
Stanza 3: Tugs like a puppy
Stanza 5: Like a hill
3.2 Choose one of the quotes from your answer to 4.1 and explain its effectiveness. (2)
Stanza 3: The way the baby pulls at the mother’s nipple is compared to the way a hungry puppy sucks on its mother.
Emphasises the baby’s innocence and helplessness
Stanza 5: The security and shelter that the mother provides her baby is compared to the security and shelter that a hill provides a village.
She stands guard against anyone that would want to hurt him.
4. How does the poet set the scene of unbearably hot environment in stanza 1? Quote to support your answer. (3)
“in the sun” – heat implied from the very first line
“red hot acres smoulder” – vivid image of dusty ground, very little vegetation, mirage-like heat
“sweating” – working hard in the heat
5.1 In stanza 3, the child is feeding from his mother’s breast, but taking in more than just milk. What else is being transmitted to the child? Quote to support your answer. (2)
He is drinking in his mother’s “deep languor”, her tiredness and low energy
Sense of defeat, resignation?
5.2 What else is the child receiving from his mother, as detailed in stanza 4? Quote to support your answer. (3)
“unquenched, unsmotherable heat” – despite her tiredness, there is an energy/strength that nothing can overcome or put out
It is the “The curbed ferocity of beaten tribes” – like the smouldering heat described in stanza 1
The sullen dignity of their defeat” – despite their current depressed state, there is an anger and strength and dignity in the tribes of Africa
6. To whom do lines 15 – 16 refer? (1)
African tribes that were beaten into submission by the colonials.
7. Identify the metaphor in stanza 5 and explain its effectiveness. (4)
“Or the first cloud so terrible and still / That bears the coming harvest in its breast.”
The mother is being compared to a cloud
Just as you cannot predict when a storm will arrive, so is it with this woman and her tribe.
They are gathering strength and one day will release a huge storm on the people, and will bring a “harvest” of war/revolution