Comparing ‘Comprehensive’ and ‘Mrs Tilcher’s Class’, by Carol Ann Duffy (Selected Poems).
I am going to be comparing two of Carol Ann Duffy’s poems from her book called ‘Selected Poems-by Carol Ann Duffy’.
These poems are called ‘Comprehensive’ and ‘Mrs Tilcher’s Class’.
The first poem ‘Comprehensive’ is about seven different voices talking about their life and of their school life. But I find the title ‘Comprehensive’ to be quite ironic as it isn’t necessarily focusing thoroughly on Comprehensive schooling.
The poem focuses and discusses different children’s lives and backgrounds.
We can also observe the limited understanding the children in the poem have of other cultures apart from their own. We also see their tendency to mock and use racial vocabulary against the other cultures introduced throughout the poem verses. Throughout the poem also see the ways in which children’s aspirations for their future and their ambitions throughout life. By this I mean that some aspire to do things such as ‘get married and emigrate to Australia’ and ‘ I have hope and am ambitious’, when other’s have views such as ‘I’m going to the army, no choice really’. This puts forward to us that through comprehensive schooling many children have different views and ambitions through life. The disturbing side of this poem is some children’s views on religion on different cultures and religions and the way they treat other people is diabolical.
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During the first stanza we see that there is disappointment and homesickness from this child and we see that his/her defiantly prefer their hometown to the country of England. In my opinion I believe that this could be something to do with the racial attitude the British children have towards the different races and cultures of the world.
During the second stanza we see a child with a totally different lifestyle. Many describe this kind of child as a ‘thug’. The type of child who is ‘common’, ‘aggressive’ and uses quite violent vocabulary.
Moving onto the fourth stanza we begin to see a girl with no aspiration in life. We see she uses many slang words throughout the stanza which convince the reader that she may be a bit of a ‘dunce’ in stereotypical terms. We think this as she is still a very young girl and is already thinking of engagement, working in Safeway and losing her respect for working there. She also uses several terms using ‘street cred’ vocabulary, for example, ‘dead good’.
Finally the last stanza of the poem focuses on a totally different person. They come from a wealthy background and also perceive high ambitions for their future ahead of them. We see this as the way he describes his family as being named after the Moghul Emperors. This child also has a lot of hope in his life as the last few lines of the poem tell us about how he was dreaming, but then he realises its all reality.
My summary of this poem is that we see the different ways in which comprehensive children live their lives and how they have been brought up. There are also many different cultures and races throughout this poem and we see some of the disturbing reactions put forward against them.
This makes us realise that even between children there is still a divide between races that I feel someday will need to stop.
During Mrs Tilcher’s class one of the main features to make the poem effective is the slow change in atmosphere through language throughout the poem. It goes from being happy and intriguing, using words such as ‘laugh’ and ‘better’, to a mood giving the total opposite, into a mood of despair. The poet puts you into the first person and into the child’s position to see the perspective of their life from their point of view. The poet creates the mood that the child is happy and enjoying school because it is new to them, and tat then takes the reader to the same state of mind also. This makes us as the reader feel as if somehow, we are inside the child’s body and we can feel their feelings.
... have to take each line to really understand this poem. Stanza 1 There s a certain Slant of Light, ... to this format this stanza in the poem also is directed more towards the person being alone rather than ... ABC A format. The third stanza is also the only stanza in the poem, which the ABAB format does ... person she knows or it could have been a choice the author had to make in life. That part of the poem ...
The last line of the second stanza is the first inclination of the change in mood, to it becoming more negative. This show us that the child is starting to develop. Throughout the third and four stanzas we see they child grow older and perceive intelligence, sense and an awareness of the world around him/her.
The first use of a stereotyped person is used here when the word ‘dunce’ is used. The child then starts to be more aware of the more negative side in people. From this we later see that the child becomes less interested in schooling, as the things he learns there leave them ‘appalled’. We then notice his school life has been totally blurred from his mind and has been replaced with the moral issues of the world and reality.
The teacher ‘Mr’s Tilcher’ once adored the child but now she just blanks him out and ignores him totally.
My summary of this poem is that we see to believe that things get harder with age, and that innocence and simple is lost through the educational journey of this child’s life.
This poem also shows a perfect example of a stereotypical person, the teacher. The pupils also suffer through this from a form of patronising behaviour coming from their ignorant teacher.
Kate Louise Evans – Year 12