Lesson Notes By Weeks and Term - Senior Secondary School 2







  • She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith.
  • Exam Reflection Literature- in-English by Sunday OlatejuFaniyi.
  • Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Prose and Drama) by Sunday OlatejuFaniyi.  
  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole. 




Poetic Devices

Dramatic Monologue: We notice through the use of the first person pronoun ‘I’ and the second person pronoun ‘You’, the poet has through the device dramatic monologue unveil his thought on how the birches have been neglected in the hands of ice storms to bend. Through it, dramatically recaps what his boyhood experience looked like as he is left to swing on birches. Through is also, his frustration is noted as he confesses ‘It’s when I’m weary of considerations/And life is too much like a pathless wood’.

Simile: In order to draw the attention of his readers to his intended point of view, the poet speaker deploys simile in ‘… trailing their leaves on ground/Like girls on hands and knees that throw their hair’ to describe the way the leaves of long forgotten birches bent by ice storms. Also, to communicate his displeasure with affairs of the present society, he says, ‘And life is too much like a pathless wood’.

Imagery: Right from the opening of the poem where the poet recounts, ‘When I see birches bend to left and right/Across the lines of straighter darker trees,’ we recorded the use of imagery. With this device, readers could visualise even the boyhood experience of the poet speaker and internalise his perception of birches. And this device is seen to run through the poem in complementary effort to dramatic monologue.

Personification: This device is employed in the line, ‘But swinging doesn’t bend them down to stay/As ice-storms do.’ As humans, ice-storms bend these birches. Also, in ‘As the breeze rises, and turn many-colored’, the poet speaker personifies the human attribute of rising and turning on breeze.

Onomatopoeia: To fasten the reception and retention of meaning, the poet decides to engage onomatopoeia. Such words like ‘click’, ‘cracks’, ‘crazes’, ‘crystal’, ‘shattering’, ‘tickle’ and ‘lashed’ are utilised as their sound help create meaning.



The simplicity and blissfulness of nature: Due to the complexities and bewilderment that characterise his present modern society, the poet speaker reveals his secret desires as he says, ‘I’d like to get away from earth awhile’. This is because for him ‘… life is too much like a pathless wood/Where your face burns and tickles with the cobwebs/Broken across it’. The bastardised spate of the modern society which is divulged of the touch of nature and known for its suffocating tendencies has ignited the quest for his youthful days characterised by the presence of nature in the lines, ‘So was I once myself a swinger of birches/And so I dream of going back to be.’ He says this, not without extending a reason for such move: ‘It’s when I’m weary of considerations’. Furthermore, the simplicity of nature can be viewed from the lines, ‘Some boy too far from town to learn baseball/Whose only play was what he found himself/Summer or winter, and could play alone.’ Even alone, playing with nature is blissful.


The theme of innocence and purity: The poet persona through the lines of the poem highlights innocency and purity in the attitude of the boy with the birches. No wonder he says, ‘I should prefer to have some boy bend them’. This is because the boy does not bend them that they find it difficult to right themselves. In ‘You may see their trunks arching in the woods/Years afterwards, trailing their leaves on the ground,’ it is observed that the ice storms are mindless of what happens to the birches. Unlike the reckless attitude of the players of the modern society, the concern of the pastoral society is affirmed in ‘He always kept his poise/To the top branches, climbing carefully/With the same pains you use to fill a cup/Up to the brim, and even above the brim.’ His innocence and purity is heightened by his request to fate not to misinterpret his words or desires as noted in ‘I’d like to get away from earth awhile/And then come back to it and begin over/May no fate wilfully misunderstand me/And half grant what I wish and snatch me away/Not to return.’



  1. Highlight on the theme of peaceful co-existence in the poem, “Birches”
  2. Comment on the poetic devices used in the poem, “Birches”



  1. A speech in a play in which a character speaks his or her thought alone is A. a monologue. B. an aside. C. a soliloquy. D. an epilogue.
  2. In Literature, repetition is used essentially for A. rhyme. B. suspense. C. allusion. 
  1. emphasis.
  1. The pattern of a poem without reference to its content is referred to as the A. limerick. 
  1. metre.C. free verse. D. form
  1. The performers in a play constitute the A. chorus. B. character. C. audience. D. cast.
  2. A metrical foot in which a stressed syllable is following by an unstressed syllable is 
  1. iambic.B. spondaic.C. trochaic D. dactylic.



  1. Comment on the issue of unhealthy rivalry in the poem, “Birches”
  2. Assess the diction of the poem, “Birches”

© Lesson Notes All Rights Reserved 2023