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Football after School (Patricia McCarthay)

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Vanessa Enzler

on 12 April 2015

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Transcript of Football after School (Patricia McCarthay)

Stanza 1
Main Points
*Worry- that the world of school and beyond will be aggressive and violent
*Fear- that her son is vulnerable and will be easily hurt
*Hope-that he might learn how to protect himself
*Projection (prediction) of own securities onto child in the final verse
by Vanessa, Renata, Joelle
Nikhil, Abi

Football after School (Patricia McCarthy)
Comparison between poems
POEM TO MY SISTER by Liz Lochhead
This poem is about a caring mother trying to warn her son about the challenges and difficulties of adulthood and how she fears that he will be unable to cope with these difficulties.

This poem is about a mum putting the hardships life brings in the picture of her son’s being/existence. She makes it clear to him what the challenges and difficulties in life are, that he will have to face sooner or later, as it is a part of the process of growing up and becoming a grownup.

The title is an extended metaphor in that football is a representation of human life.

*This poem is very metaphorical and so is the title! It is not really about the actual playing football after school, it’s more about the consequences of football. The title has a metaphorical meaning in the sense that the football refers to the obstacles he will be facing in his life after “school” which is basically pertinent to his youth.

*To vulnerable for living, idea that world is cruel, behaviors which are carried out playing football makes you learn, understand that idea, help you understand the
difficulties you have to face.

*In a more creative way: The football is nice from the outside, it looks good but if you go deeper, meaning if you look at the people who were behind making this football it is associated with rather tragedy and sad emotions, because many workers are actually children forced to do this labor and only earn very little money, and what they earn they have to give to their family so they can survive. So the son might look okay from the outside but if you go deeper and his future he will be facing difficulties and tragic situations just like the workers behind the football.

*This poem consists of a persona (who comes in the form of a protective mother) looking at her young son and expressing her fears and trepidations (fear) about her son’s future and her inability to control all variables

*The rhyme scheme is predominantly alternative rhyme, but there are is at least one exception in each stanza

*The rhythm is inconsistent, changing constantly between 10,9,8 and 7 per line on the whole

*We can draw distinct similarities between this poem and Register and Poem for My sister-sense of protectiveness prevalent throughout all three
*The tone is quite condescending, but it is also heavy with protectiveness and affection

*Through the metaphor “Football after School” the persona is able to vent (communicate) and explore her deepest fears about her son’s future, and unveil (reveal) her feelings of hopelessness at her inability to monitor and control everything he is exposed to

*McCarthy explores the paradoxical nature of being a parent with great insight; the delight of watching a child grown up, tempered with the worry that someone may hurt theme once the parent is no longer around to offer protection

*McCarthy doesn’t like the idea of her son playing football because she thinks football is dangerous

*In this poem, the game of football comes to symbolise the transition period for a young boy before he enters real life, which can be just a s brutal and exhilarating
*Structure imitates and follows her persona’s chain of thought as she looks ahead to the significant changes in her son’s life over the coming years

*Rhyme scheme is predominantly alternate, though there are some exceptions

*Rhythm changes constantly

*Enjambment an caesurae cause the pace of the poem to be quite changeable-manifesting her own conflicting emotions
Holistic Interpretation
Football is symbolic of/can represent one’s life path. Each day is a “play/game”, the crowd in a football game is representative of the idea, that we put our heads together to plan, meaning we put our heads together to play each day.
Your aim is to score a goal and the opposing team is challenging you, holding you back from reaching your goal which can be related back to the poem McCarthy has written, your are being challenged by your surroundings, the people surrounding you which are the obstacles in your life, because they are what makes life difficult for you.
The main theme of this poem is: *vulnerability
*overwhelming desire to protect him

The persona is expressing her love as well as concern, a trait of protection towards the person she is talking too.
Literary Devices
“margins of this makeshift pitch”-->pitch boundaries
“scabs of kisses”→ -->Injuries
“crossbones on your knees”→ -->Injuries
“porcelain”→ -->young child’s skin
“granite jowls”→ -->teenagers skin
“a stiff striped dagger”→ -->school tie
“confiscate the sun”→ -->Football
“dribbling the sun about the place”→ -->Football
idea that life is predetermined the poem’s structure reinforces the idea that life is fixed, you can’t change it. Furthermore repetition of “You will be” is foreshadowing his future. The rhyming scheme which is kind of the same throughout the poem, at some stanzas there are half rhymes though.

The Prefixed ABACDC Rhyme Scheme reiterates the idea that life is predestined and cannot be changed. The D line, generally being associated with negativity and aggressiveness, emphasize the idea that even the negative parts of life cannot be avoided and are inevitable.

ABABCDC Rhyme scheme evokes the sense of the perfect life of youth, the D line that doesn’t rhyme possibly could suggest the harsh reality of adulthood that gradually begins to evolve as the boy grows old.

General Analysis
-The poet mixes metaphors which mirrors the bewildering nature of a mother-son relationship
-The game of football is supposed to symbolize the transition period for a young boy, before
he enters real life, which can be just as brutal and exciting as a game of football (always
winner and loser in game of football)
-The mother doesn’t like the notion of her son playing football, as she thinks the game is related with danger
-The poem brings the stereotypical image of a woman to the foreground, she is worried of her son because she was fragile as a girl.
-The poet is exploring the paradoxical nature of being a parent with insight; the delight of watching a child grown up, tempered with the worry that someone may hurt them once the parent is no longer around
Stanza 2
Stanza 3
Stanza 4
Stanza 5
*Stiff striped → assonance of the s sound is sharp, emphasises the sharpness of the dagger.
*”Dribbling the sun about the place” → the thing described here is basically football in a metaphorical and symbolic language
“Warpaint” Once you grow up life is far more competitive like a war, metaphorically speaking
Directly addresses her son “you’ll be “ which turns the mood quite bitter and insensitive
*Yes, soon you’ll be… → Caesura isolates the word ‘Yes’ and emphasises that the mother is sure that her son will be picking scabs of his skin.
*“picking scabs of kisses”→ Seems like a weird description. McCarthy use it because...
* pattern between the verbs in this passage
* it will be more than a textbook→ this is trying to say that this type of advice (like survival guide) is not readable in a textbook, it is advice that comes from the inner of the person which has experienced hardships and learnt from the mistakes she made, and hence is able to teach to other people and prevent them from making same mistakesZZ
might suggest that what you learn in school will not help you overcome difficulties in life

*Yet as I look at your porcelain skin, their granite jowls → Juxtaposition between ‘porcelain skin’ and ‘granite jowls’. Porcelain skin suggests that her son is still young and unharmed, it can also mean pureness. Porcelain is very fragile and breaks easily (suggests that her son is as well and has not really experienced the harsher aspects of life). This juxtaposes with the other people, referred to as ‘their’ who have ‘granite jowls’ which suggests that they are more experienced than her son as granite is hard and jowls refers to older people.
*Ceramic/hard diction --> the harshness of human life that can easily crack the porcelain skin of the boy as he is unknowing about this.
*The “yet” initiates a change or more literally a volta, at this stage the change reflects the mothers feelings
*“Ink stained fists and feets”-
*Through the use of enjambment and caesura, there is a change in the rhythm
*This stanza is written in a very metaphorical and symbolic sense, she is hoping for her son to be….. in the future
*”porcelain skin”→ the thing described here is the young child’s skin

*I can’t prevent crossbones on your knees… cement → With this McCarthy means that she is not able to protect her son from everything.
At the end of the stanza there is an ‘-’ which isolates the last stanza, making it of importance.
*There is a change in tone, there is a darker tone to this stanza, some examples of darker worries in this stanza “I can’t prevent crossbones on your knees turn bullies into cement”, she can only help her son to a certain extent, he needs to be able to stand up for himself as well
*“confiscate the sun” → With this metaphor/symbol McCarthy is describing football
*“In their robust world I am no Amazon”
*“I can only scream inside without a shout”
*The mother is justifying her emotions and is telling this to her son because she wants the best for her son and tries to avoid the bad from happening which she has previously experienced herself. Hence this is kind of linking to the poem “Poem for my Sister” by Lochhead, the poem revolve around the same themes and have a very similar main message.
*There is a repetition of the plosive “p” sounds in line two
*Through the last 4 lines we gain an insight into why the mother has potentially written this poem to her son.
*For you not to inherit my fragility:
Never to love too much or be aged
as I was by youth’s anxiety. → The mother has made mistakes that she does not want her son to make. (she admits that she was fragile and aged too fast, suggesting that she did not have the youth she wanted, because of all the worry and uncertainty she experienced. She does not want the same fate for her son.
*This stanza is isolated because of the ‘-’ on the end of stanza 4. This makes the last stanza of importance, it is the last thing she has to say to her son.
An Amazon is a member of a legendary race of female warriors believed by the ancient Greeks to exist in Scythia or elsewhere on the edge of the known world. An Amazon is also a very tall and strong or athletic woman.
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