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Copy of Carol Ann Duffy- In Mrs Tilscher's Class

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Donna Blythe

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Carol Ann Duffy- In Mrs Tilscher's Class

Although the main theme in this poem is childhood thinking about childhood requires one to have memories that are strong enough to last for years. The poet cherishes this particular memory of hers because of the significance it carries. When we dig a little into Carol Ann’s childhood we can see that she has been unstable from the beginning of her childhood. She had to move from Scotland to England at age 6. And this poem reflects a change in her life. The transition from childhood to adolescence. The memory of this transition has lasted in the poets mind for years because of the fear she had as a kid. As she says in the poem she feels safe in the primary school and she is afraid of what is in the future, which is her new school. This poem reflects the strong emotions that Carol Ann has by using her own childhood memories that she has personally felt.
Memory Theme
Childhood Theme
"In Mrs Tilscher's Class" By Carol Ann Duffy
For her to remember her childhood which was a time she felt overjoyed and safe being at school and how things changed when she lost her innocence as she was moving to adolescence.

Also reminding the reader of the time when they were children going to school with a happy-go-lucky expression on their faces.
Carol Ann Duffy
Stylistic Elements: Figurative Language and Symbolism
That for an hour, then a skittle of milk
Skittle is a pleasurable and fun game so by comparing "milk" which is a characteristic of elementary school to skittle Duffy is trying to reflect that going to school was very enjoyable and fun for her.
Over the Eastern term, the inky tadpoles changed
from comma into exclamation marks
The word "ink" relates to writing which relates back to school where children learn how to write. The changing of tadpoles is compare to the change in life where children are growing up and slowly leaving childhood behind.
Sugar paper. Coloured shapes. Brady and Hindley
faded, like a faint uneasy smudge of a mistake.
Brady and Hindley are two criminals that are responsible for death of some children so they were the figures of horror in their time. Duffy is reflecting that the school was a place where she felt very safe. Therefore that those two criminals, who are a figure of horror, do not exist and fade "like a faint uneasy smudge of a mistake"
The classroom glowed like a sweetshop
A sense of pleasure and delight is associated with the school which emphasizes that school is a place as gratifying and amusing as a sweetshop.
The laugh of a bell swung by a running child.
This personification is used to show that Duffy herself and the other children loved school so much that for them it was almost if the bell didn't ringed but "laughed" because the ringing of the bell meant that they have to go to their classrooms.
Reports were handed out.
This is a symbol for the end of childhood. The end of the school year is when children receive their report cards so this is the end of their childhood.
Through out the poem there are some phrases where the adjectives are modifying nouns that they don't normally modify. For example "
feverish July
", "
heavy sexy sky
", "
air tested of electricity
". These are representing what children experience as they are moving on from childhood to adolescence.
Stylistic Elements
Contextual Information
Before we get started on the poem we should now some basic facts about Carol Ann Duffy and the poems she writes. The poems Carol writes are about the poet’s own experiences while growing up and discovering herself as a child. In this particular poem the poet uses a real character as her context. Mrs. Tilscher was her teacher in St Austin’s Catholic Primary School in Stafford. The poem is about her last year in this school before she moves to St Joseph’s Convent School. The poem focuses on the happy time she had at her old school, which she felt safe before going to her new school which symbolized an uncertain future in terms of education, physical and mental development.
Discussion Question
Can you now in pairs identify further examples of language use, literary devices and imagery.

There are no wrong answers so long as you can justify them!

Stylistic Elements: Imagery
As the sky split open into a thunderstorm.
A xylophone's nonsense heard from another form.
Growing up
You could travel up the Blue Nile
with your finger, tracing the route
while Mrs Tilscher chanted the scenery.
”Tana. Ethiopia. Khartoum. Aswan.”
That for an hour, then a skittle of milk
and the chalky Pyramids rubbed into dust.
A window opened with a long pole.
The laugh of a bell swung by a running child.

This was better than home. Enthralling books.
The classroom glowed like a sweetshop.
Sugar paper. Coloured shapes. Brady and Hindley
faded, like the faint, uneasy smudge of a mistake.
Mrs Tilscher loved you. Some mornings, you found
she'd left a gold star by your name.
The scent of a pencil slowly, carefully, shaved.
A xylophone's nonsense heard from another form.

Over the Easter term the inky tadpoles changed
from commas into exclamation marks. Three frogs
hopped in the playground, freed by a dunce
followed by a line of kids, jumping and croaking
away from the lunch queue. A rough boy
told you how you were born. You kicked him, but stared at your parents, appalled, when you got back home

That feverish July, the air tasted of electricity.
A tangible alarm made you always untidy, hot,
fractious under the heavy, sexy sky. You asked her
how you were born and Mrs Tilscher smiled
then turned away. Reports were handed out.
You ran through the gates, impatient to be grown
the sky split open into a thunderstorm
Stylistic Elements: Structure, Punctuation and Syntax
Varied sentence length; short and long
8 lines
4 stanzas
No rhyme scheme
Child Development - Context
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
What is Egocentricity?
It's all about me!!!!!!!
A child is egocentric i.e. everything revolves around them. This changes as a child's awareness of the world and other's increases.
Think of a baby and their needs?
A toddler?
A 5 year old?
National Curriculum
Introduced in 1988 but piloted earlier.
Contained key areas including understanding of the world.
What year are they in? Can you link this to Maslow?
Can you link the child development information to imagery within the poem? Can you link the National Curriculum and egocentricity to the poem?
These are a few examples - there are plenty more for you to find!
An 11 year old?
Key Theme
Innoncence and Experience
Link to William Blake
Full transcript