English / Comparison Of &Quot;In Mrs Tilcher'S Class&Quot; And &Quot;Mid-Term Break&Quot;
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Autor: anton 08 July 2011
Words: 1964 | Pages: 8
Choose two poems from your reading on the theme of childhood. Compare and contrast the experiences described in each poem showing clearly why each poem affected you the way it did and with close reference to the poetÐ²Ð‚â„¢s use of language show how he/she conveys these feeling to you.
A person is affected by life occurrences differently as a child than as an adult. Childhood is a period of life every person experiences and therefore can relate to. In the selection of poems that I have studied the poet attempts to stir feelings and emotions of childhood in the reader.
The two poems that I have chosen to compare and contrast are Ð²Ð‚ÑšIn Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s classÐ²Ð‚Ñœ by Carol Ann Duffy and Ð²Ð‚ÑšMid-term BreakÐ²Ð‚Ñœ by Seamus Heaney.
Carol Ann Duffy was born in Glasgow, 1955. She grew up in Scotland attending local catholic schools before going to Liverpool University to study Philosophy. She later worked as a free lance writer in London and Manchester. She decided to become a poet when she was fourteen and felt that was her vocation. She won all the major poetry prizes and awards. In 1995 she was presented with an OBE and in 2001 she was presented with a CBE. She also writes plays, radio plays, edits poetry and teaches creative writing.
Seamus Heaney was born in 1939 to a Catholic family and spent his childhood on the family farm in County Londonderry. He won a scholarship to St. ColombÐ²Ð‚â„¢s College and then went to QueenÐ²Ð‚â„¢s University, Belfast. He lectured in QueensÐ²Ð‚â„¢ for 6 years. He began publishing poetry in 1966 and he wrote a lot in the years that followed. He became a Professor of poetry at the University of Oxford 1989-1994 and he was awarded the Noble Prize for literature in 1995. He now lives in Ireland.
Ð²Ð‚ÑšIn Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s classÐ²Ð‚Ñœ is about DuffyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s childhood experiences at primary school. It is autobiographical in the sense that Mrs Tilscher is a real person who taught Duffy when she was at Primary School. The theme of the poem describes the transition from childhood to adolescence and it reflects the lessons we learn at school from our teachers and peers.
Duffy uses sensory poetry Ð²Ð‚â€œ images which we feel, smell, taste and hear. She brings life to the classroom; we sense the excitement of the children as they sit captivated by Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s lesson.
Ð²Ð‚?You could travel up the Blue Nile
With your finger, tracing the route
While Mrs Tilscher chanted the sceneryÐ²Ð‚â„¢
Later we feel the change in the children.
Ð²Ð‚?A tangible alarm made you always, untidy,
Hot fractious under the heavy, sexy sky.Ð²Ð‚â„¢
Duffy is effective in creating snapshot images so we really get a sense of the environment she creates, she picks up her own memories and also taps into the readers.
The language Duffy uses reflects the happy trusting relationship between teachers and students in early primary school years and then highlights the difficult transition through hormonal teenage years.
Figurative language is used to transcribe these experiences to the reader. The first two stanzas contain positive images.
Ð²Ð‚?The laugh of a bell swung by a running childÐ²Ð‚â„¢
The bell is personified so that we get a clear sense of the childrenÐ²Ð‚â„¢s laughter and excitement.
Mrs Tilscher Ð²Ð‚?chantsÐ²Ð‚â„¢ the lesson adding a Ð²Ð‚?sing-songÐ²Ð‚â„¢ feel to the poem which contributes with the Ð²Ð‚?enthralling booksÐ²Ð‚â„¢, classroom that Ð²Ð‚?glowed like a sweet shopÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?sugar paper. Coloured shapesÐ²Ð‚â„¢ and Ð²Ð‚?gold starsÐ²Ð‚â„¢
There is a sense of time passing in the second half of the poem. The seasons and the weather are changing Ð²Ð‚?Over the Easter termÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?That feverish July.Ð²Ð‚â„¢
Duffy uses a punctuation metaphor, Ð²Ð‚Ñšthe inky tadpoles changed from commas into exclamation marksÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, to indicate the growth of tadpoles and then extends the metaphor. She compares the release of the frogs in the playground to the changes taking place in the growing children.
The language becomes uncomfortable filled with unrest. Duffy hints at the uncomfortable effects of hormones which make the children Ð²Ð‚?feverishÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?untidyÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?hotÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?fractious.Ð²Ð‚â„¢ Duffy associates the oppressive feeling we have in humid weather with the physical change of puberty. The same children who were once captivated by Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s lessons are now impatient to be grown.
Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s love protects the children in the first half of the poem and makes the horrors of life fade away. However later in the poem when asked about sex she is unable to answer them because they are moving into new territory.
Duffy structures the poem in regular stanzas which help to add emphasis to the Ð²Ð‚?Snap shotsÐ²Ð‚â„¢ of childhood and adolescence that she presents. The poem is written in blank verse. There is no obvious rhyme scheme, but the change in stanza length (First two stanza have eight lines and the second two have seven lines) which reflects the change in the children.
The tone reveals a lot about the speakerÐ²Ð‚â„¢s attitude towards the subject, in this case the difference between the innocence and security of childhood and the troublesome years of adolescence. Duffy establishes the tone of the poem through her use of language and structure. The first two stanzas are positive and warm. In the second stanzas the tone becomes uncertain and ominous as growing sexuality causes confusion and irritability, Ð²Ð‚?fractious under the heavy, sexy sky.Ð²Ð‚â„¢ The weather reflects the oppression as childhood innocence is lost.
The poem ends with an image supporting turbulent years to come Ð²Ð‚?the sky split open into a thunderstormÐ²Ð‚â„¢.
Similarly to Ð²Ð‚?In Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s classÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?Mid-term breakÐ²Ð‚â„¢ is also a childhood memory through the subject matter is completely different. The poem is also autobiographical as it is about a family tragedy and he describes reactions to grief.
The title suggests a holiday but this break does not happen for a pleasant reasons. The poem is about the death of HeaneyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s younger brother, Christopher, and how people including himself reacted to his death.
The boredom of waiting to be picked up appears in the counting of bells but the word Ð²Ð‚?knellingÐ²Ð‚â„¢ suggests a funeral bell. The modern reader maybe surprised that he was picked up by neighbours rather that family but when this poem was set in the 1950s not everyone had a car and often relied on neighbours to help. Also the parents were perhaps too upset to collect Heaney.
The theme of HeaneyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s poem unlike DuffyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s is death and grief. Heaney describes the tragedy of his brotherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s death and wake. There is grief, desperation, devastation and sorrow throughout the poem.
The first five stanzas reflect peopleÐ²Ð‚â„¢s unnatural reactions but by the end of the poem Heaney is able to grief honestly. The stanza begins in the morning (line 1) but it is 2 OÐ²Ð‚â„¢clock in the third line showing the hours have past in waiting.
The second stanza begins with the image of HeaneyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s father, who is apparently always strong at other funerals is distraught by his own childÐ²Ð‚â„¢s death. This provokes a powerful emotion in the reader. Heaney skilfully takes the reader with him as he enters the house through the porch. We meet his father crying in the porch, Ð²Ð‚ÑšBig Jim EvansÐ²Ð‚Ñœ a family friend make an unfortunate pun in the phase Ð²Ð‚Ñša hard blowÐ²Ð‚Ñœ. He means to speak of a metaphorical blow. Finally we meet HeaneyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s mother Ð²Ð‚?coughing out angry tearless sighsÐ²Ð‚â„¢ unable to grieve.
The young Heaney is made uneasy by the babyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s happiness on seeing him. Head shaking and invasions like Ð²Ð‚Ñšsorry for my troubleÐ²Ð‚Ñœ, and whispers about him in the room made Heaney feel very uncomfortable and embarrassed.
In lines thirteen and fourteen HeaneyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s use of assonance this time in his repetition in the short Ð²Ð‚?aÐ²Ð‚â„¢ sounds i.e. at, ambulance, arrived, stanched and bandaged. Puts emphasize on the stopping of blood and life.
When the childÐ²Ð‚â„¢s body is returned late at night. Heaney sees it as a Ð²Ð‚ÑšcorpseÐ²Ð‚Ñœ not a person. This contrasts with the final section of the poem when he is alone with his brother. He uses personal pronouns like Ð²Ð‚?himÐ²Ð‚â„¢, Ð²Ð‚?hisÐ²Ð‚â„¢, and Ð²Ð‚?heÐ²Ð‚â„¢.
Unlike the tone and mood of Ð²Ð‚ÑšIn Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s classÐ²Ð‚Ñœ which starts of with happiness and security, then at the end becomes uncomfortable and tense. Ð²Ð‚ÑšMid-term breakÐ²Ð‚Ñœ starts with a feeling of anxiety, grief, embarrassment, awkwardness and anger. Towards the end of the poem there is peace and reflection. It feels more personal.
In the sixth stanza we see that Heaney has been away at school and hasnÐ²Ð‚â„¢t seen his brother for six weeks. The words Ð²Ð‚?paler nowÐ²Ð‚â„¢ hang at the end of the line causing a sad pause before the reader continues to see how little the boy has changed in death the only difference being that he is paler and he has a poppy bruise.
Ð²Ð‚ÑšSnowdrops and candles sooth the bedsideÐ²Ð‚Ñœ. They literally sooth young Heaney. The flowers are a symbol in the poem, but also a reality for the family, a symbol of new life after death. The bruise is seen as not really part of the boy, he is wearing it as if it would come off. Heaney compares the bruise to a poppy, a flower linked with death and the soothing of pain as opiates come from poppies. The child appears as if in his cot sleeping and we contrast the ugly Ð²Ð‚Ñšcorpse stanched and bandagedÐ²Ð‚Ñœ which becomes a sleeping child with Ð²Ð‚Ñšno gaudy scars.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe child is dead but not disfigured in death.
The last line stands out showing the shock and grief the family must have felt. There is an element of shock for a reader reading it for the first time and finding out the boyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s age; he was only four years old. It is worded very skilfully and leaves a dramatic effect; Ð²Ð‚?A four foot box, a foot for every year.Ð²Ð‚â„¢ Ð²Ð‚â€œ The size of the coffin is a measure of the childÐ²Ð‚â„¢s life.
Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe early purgesÐ²Ð‚Ñœ another poem written by Seamus Heaney that I have studied. Is about how we loose innocence as we get older and the tone and content is ambiguous and ironic. The poem recalls a particular incident; the first time Heaney as a boy witnessed the farmhand killing kittens and how he became accustomed to this in time. He now has a similar indifference to the death of animals and his tone is very cynical regarding this. Dan Taggart is an older person trying to deceive a younger person to protect him from his compassion. The oxymoron Ð²Ð‚?glossy and deadÐ²Ð‚â„¢ shows that the young Heaney is not convinced by this.
Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Early PurgesÐ²Ð‚Ñœ is very similar to the two poems as it shows that childhood innocence is lost as we get older and that sometimes older people try to protect children from what they think they donÐ²Ð‚â„¢t know but really the children are aware of. Ð²Ð‚ÑšIn Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s classÐ²Ð‚Ñœ the love of the teacher protects the children and makes the horrors of life fade away but by the last to stanzas love is no longer enough the children are impatient to be grown. Ð²Ð‚ÑšMid-term breakÐ²Ð‚Ñœ is similar to Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Early PurgesÐ²Ð‚Ñœ as the theme is about death and childhood reactions to death. In Ð²Ð‚ÑšMid-term BreakÐ²Ð‚Ñœ the young Heaney is faced with a family tragedy. He has to act very grown up the first part of the poem but his real thought and feeling are expressed in the second part. Ð²Ð‚ÑšThe Early PurgesÐ²Ð‚Ñœ suggests how the death of innocent animals is wrong but accepted. Like HeaneyÐ²Ð‚â„¢s brother that died innocently in a car crash but life has to move on.
Overall the poem that I liked the best was Ð²Ð‚ÑšIn Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢s classÐ²Ð‚Ñœ as the snap shots she creates really give the poem a sense of the primary school environment. It makes me reflect upon my time at primary school and Ð²Ð‚?Mrs TilscherÐ²Ð‚â„¢ reminds me of a teacher I had. The figurative language she uses transcribes the experiences to the reader and it makes you feel as if you where there as well. It evoked a personal response.
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