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Candlefly by Grace Nichols
Transcript of Candlefly by Grace Nichols
This stanza introduces the idea of childhood for the first time.
This is something different to what we have seen in other 'fat black woman' poems where it appears to be important that she is a woman.
Childhood is reinforced by the idea of being uncomfortable in the dark.
Furthermore the memory of what the old people were saying shows a traditional reverence towards the old felt by the young.
We think this poem is about the development from naivety into maturity.
Its about the realisation that death is always around the corner and in this poem it takes the form of a 'stranger'
Has implications that death is active in its pursuit of people to engulf.
This is demonstrated by the use of
ission' which suggests a target or a plan.
Third & Fourth Stanzas
The third stanza tells us the Caribbean superstition that a candle fly signifies the arrival of a stranger.
This is very direct and assured and this is demonstrated by the repetition of 'will' and by saying 'candlefly means'.
The fourth stanza suggests that the fat black 'girl' is disturbed by possible visit of a stranger
This is evidenced by the use of 'magic' and 'menace' to describe the fly.
Because the candlefly signifies the arrival of the 'stranger', it seems that they are one and the same.
The candlefly is then described as 'a creature with a mission'.
This creature is then described as 'not unlike death'.
Magical, menace like creature
Jake Lovatt and Lewis Pullman
Links with Collins
Collins talks of becoming more aware of his surroundings as he grows up in 'On Turning Ten'.
Looks back on his younger years with a sense of nostalgia, similar to that of Nichols.
Loses naivety and innocence when growing up.
In the first stanza Nichols describes how the 'candlefly' used to enter her room at night.
There appears to be a fondness when looking back, as it is described as 'blinking' with its 'small searchlight'
Nichols also makes use of rhyme in this stanza (night/searchlight). This gives the speaker an almost childlike tone
Candle Flies are more widely known in Britain as Fire Flies.
Flying insects that emit light through chemical reactions in there abdomen
The title of the poem is 'Candlefly' which is actually two words amalgamated into one by Nichols.
This suggests that it is colloquial language which is possibly identifiable to the Caribbean.
This idea is reinforced by the use of 'Candle Fly' as opposed to 'Fire Fly' which would be the common name in Britain.
This again identifies the fat black woman as Caribbean rather than British.