Student essay on ‘The Patriot’

A student’s essay: pre-prepared unseen (!)  under timed conditions.  Teacher comments annotated in red

How does Browning tell the story in the Patriot?

The poem, The Patriot is a story of the rise and downfall of a leader in contemporary politics in the period of a year. (Clear opening to the essay)

Browning tells the story through voice. The poem is a dramatic monologue (literary terminology used) and therefore the free speech of The Patriot allows readers to explore the psychological state of mind of the narrator, which is portrayed as optimistic and calm (this tone throughout?). This is reinforced through the ABABA rhyme scheme which is consistent in each stanza with five lines dedicated to each stanza under each roman numeral (poem’s structure).  This therefore is representative of the character who is silently marching to his death , which is foreshadowed by the reference to the ‘mist’, which represents obscurity or an error in judgement being made (analysis with an embedded quote). Other voices (awareness of structure) are heard through speculative speeches, the people’s voice is heard as saying ‘and afterward, what else’, proving that he is a character who was loved and admired by the town (does this particular quote justify the statement?).  This is augmented by the title, ‘the’ referring to something unique and special, whilst the ‘patriot’ has positive connotations of somebody who truly admires their country (consideration of lexis).

Browning tells the story through setting and the contrast (structural point) of settings. The beginning presents a town which is naturally beautiful, with ‘roses’ being repeated’ (motif noted) and ‘martyl’ being personified (terminology embedded in sentence) as ‘mad’, representing how from the perspective of The Patriot, the town is full of life and is fascinating. However, this is juxtaposed (terminology and structure) by the setting of ‘Shambles’ Gate’, which represent the town as cruel who throw stone which causes his ‘forehead’ to bleed, along with a ‘palsied few’. The effect of this juxtaposition is that is reinforces the cruelty of the people towards the patriot, therefore leading to the readers sympathising with the Patriot and that constructs the story as it feeds into the understanding of the perspective that is being provided to the readers (inference).


Browning uses time to tell the story (awareness of author’s construction) . The story is told is linear chronology (structure) and refers to his perspective of the town as great, which is portrayed to auditory imagery (langauge feature) via the sounds of adulation such as ‘crowd and cries’, he also personifies the ‘old walls’ which ‘rocked’, the effect of this is to create an environment where he is adored and almost god-like’. The constant references to time: ‘a year ago on this very day’ and use of temporal connective ‘now’ draws a distinct comparison between the times (clearly explained exegesisAs a result, time is used to construct the narrative and is significant to present the idea that even the Patriot cannot believe what is happening to him, proven by him saying ‘I think, by the feel’ (personal response). The reference to ‘God’ who ‘shall repay’ in the end provides the poem with a universal meaning (authorial purpose).

Browning uses anaphora ‘thus I entered, and thus I go’, which presents the Patriot of accepting the punishment being given to him (best to start with the point rather than the technique).  He is also represented as a philosophical and reasonable person and this therefore creates dramatic suspense at his death, heightened by the use of pathetic fallacy and the ‘rain’.

This is excellent work showing secure understanding.   High in Band 5.