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In Mrs Tilscher's Class
Transcript of In Mrs Tilscher's Class
In Mrs Tilscher's Class
Alliteration - the repeating of initial sounds.
Assonance - is the term used for the repetition of vowel sounds within consecutive words as in, 'rags of green weed hung down...'.
Metaphor - comparing two things by saying one is the other.
Simile - comparing two things saying one is like or as the other.
Personification - giving something non-human human qualities.
Onomatopoeia - words that sound like the thing they describe.
Oxymoron - figure of speech that combines contradictory terms
Repetition - does the poet repeat words or phrases?
Rhyme - is there a rhyme scheme? Couplets? Internal rhyme?
Rhythm - how many syllables per line? Is it regular or free verse? Why are some different lengths?
Stanzas - How many? How do they change? Is there a narrative?
Lines - how many are there in each verse? Do some stand out?
Enjambment - do the lines “run on” to the next line or stanza?
Form - does the poem have a shape to it?
How would the poem be spoken? (angry, sad, nostalgic, bitter, humorous etc)
What kinds of words are used?
Connotation - associations that words have?
Ambiguity - is the word or phrase deliberately unclear?
Could it mean opposite things or many different things?
Word order - are the words in an unusual order – why?
Adjectives - what are the key describing words?
Key words and phrases - do any of the words or phrases stand out? Do they shock? Are the words “violent” or “sad” etc?
Slang or unusual words and misspellings - Does the poet use slang or informal language? Are American words used?
You could travel up the Blue Nile
with your finger, tracing the route
while Mrs Tilcher chanted the scenery.
Tana. Ethiopia. Khartoum. Aswân.
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.
Describes the day to day routines within the classroom set up.
"chanted" sense of being captured by the sound - captivated, or hypnotised, by every word.
Repeated reference to the senses throughout - the reader is led on a journey of discovery
Use of personification
This was better than home. Enthralling books.
The classroom glowed like a sweet shop.
Sugar paper. Coloured shapes. Brady and Hindley
faded, like the feint, uneasy smudge of a mistake.
Mrs Tilcher loved you. Some mornings you found
she'd left a good gold star by your name.
The scent of a pencil slowly, carefully shaved.
A xylophone's nonsense heard from another form.
More for the curious child to consider and explore
Reference to the outside world.
Innocence becomes tarnished with this awareness and cannot ever fully be restored, in the same way as the crisp blank paper
transferred epithet - the star itself is not good but the child who receives it is.
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.
Over the course of 1963 and 1965 the pair killed five children.
1966 - Both were convicted
Their crimes were grotesque in the extreme with all victims experiencing some level of torture.
The five victims were: John Kilbride, Lesley Ann Downey, Keith Bennet, Pauline Reade and Edward Evan. The victims were aged between 10 and 17 years old.
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 Tilcher smiled,
then turned away. Reports were handed out.
You ran through the gates, impatient to be grown,
as the sky split open into a thunderstorm.
Familiar marks of the class room but Duffy is also referring to the transformation of the pupils from children into pre-adolescents. - Use of the extended metaphor.
truth is resisted temporarily, literally “kicked” against in the form of the boy, but a threshold has been crossed; there is no going back to the country of childhood
Easter Term - Connection with Spring and therefor the beginning of new life.
The excitement and joy of the children revealed in the croaking and jumping and yet...
The final stanza is defined by images of impatience, passion and suppressed sexuality.
Duffy uses the imminent/approaching storm to convey the dual sense of excitement and danger associated with the self-discovery of the emergent adolescent
Incipient sexuality encapsulated in the words heavy, sexy,, hot.
Rite of passage with the exit through the gates
Subject and Theme
This is a poem about change. Duffy presents the transformation of childhood innocence into adult experience. In terms of the title of the collection in which it appears, it charts part of the process of ‘emigration’ from the country of childhood to that of the adult. Put in stronger terms, we might say that we witness the invasion of innocence by experience.
oddly written in the second person, so reader identifies with “you” of poem, who could be poet or any child at school. A mix of narration and description but with chronological movement - ends with leaving primary school for good.
He was sentenced to life imprisonment in May 1966 and more than 40 years later is still imprisoned; since November 1985 he has been in a mental hospital. It is almost certain that he will never be released, and since 1999 has been trying to gain the right to commit suicide through hunger strikes. He has been force fed through feeding tubes intermittently since beginning the strike.
Thinking about the content and the context of this text, what do you consider the theme to be?
What is the poem about?
Who is the speaker? - are they dramatized (a character)
Who is being spoken to or addressed?
What is being spoken about?
Theme(s) of the poem - what is it really about?
Setting/culture - where’s the poem set? Culture it is from/about?
Where does the poem “get to” from start to end?
A transferred epithet often involves shifting a modifier (an adjective) from the animate to the inanimate, as in the phrases "cheerful money" & "sleepless night".