Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19

Suggested tasks for students

Questions on the poem

  1. How is each animal characterised? Comment on any poetic techniques used.
  2. How does the wagtail respond to each animal?
  3. Comment on Hardy’s use of rhyme.
  4. Explain the reaction of the wagtail in the final quatrain. Why might this be significant?
  5. What does Hardy have to say about the relationship between man and nature?

Areas for discussion

The concept of the ‘perfect gentleman’: ironically it is this gentleman who causes the disturbance in nature

The impact of using a naïve baby as an observer of this profound theme

The relationship between man and the natural world