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What happened to Lulu?

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on 7 February 2014

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Transcript of What happened to Lulu?

What Happened to Lubelu?
Stanza's 1 & 2
Stanzas 3 & 4
Stanza's 5 & 6
What has happened to Lulu, mother?
What has happened to Lu?
From the very beginning, the child is very inquisitive as to what has happened to his sister, lulu. however, for this to be continued throughout the poem, it would suggest that the child was not receiving any answers. This could shown us that the mother is withholding information from her son from the very start of the poem, refusing to tell him what has happened. This could suggest that the mother is quite protective of her son, not wanting him to know the truth of what has happened yet to his sister, possibly in fear of how it could affect him or his image and opinion of the mother. it could also show that the mother feels a slight sense of guilt about what has happened, and so doesn't want to discuss it. this whole over-protectiveness could suggest that the relationship between the two is quite close, with the mother caring deeply, almost too much, for her son and hiding information that she doesn't feel he is yet ready for.
There's nothing in her bed but an old rag doll
The mention of the rag doll and this being the only thing in her bed could be intended to represent lulu before she ran away. rag dolls are typically free moving dolls that the owner is free to manipulate and move however they wish. this could be meant to represent the relationship between the mother and daughter before lulu ran away, with the mother doing whatever she wanted to with lulu. it could also be pointing us to the fact that this was one of the few things lulu owned, with the only other mentioned in the the poem being a money box, which could suggest lulu was quite a deprived child.
And only a circle on the dusty shelf Where her money box used to be?
This infers to the reader that lulu took her money box when she left the house, which then shows the reader that she chose to leave some of her childhood belongings behind, such as the rag doll. the reader can be led to believe that lulu was fairly fond of her rag doll, with her keeping it in bed beside her, so for her to leave it behind could suggest that this symbolizes lulu leaving her childhood behind as well as the family, and that it was her choice to leave the house instead of her being forced.
Why do you
turn your head
, mother
And why do the
The poet's mother is evidently ashamed, or possibly feels at fault due to whatever events transpired the previous night. The turning of her head could also signify that she is trying to protect her son by directly ignoring his pestering for information.
The fact teardrops fall suggest she is disheartened by LuLu's absence, and possibly feels it is in a way her fault that her daughter has gone. This further builds a picture that LuLu has left in contempt of her mother, which her mother clearly regrets.
woke to voices
late last night
I heard an engine
Why do you tell me the things I heard
Were a
and nothing more?
But I ask you why, mother, you say it was a gust of rain
Why do you wander about as if you don't know what to do?
The poet is showing he was not stupid and he certainly knew something was up, which was also demonstrated in the fact that he carried on enough to make a poem. He knows his mother well enough to tell what state of mind she is in and this nothingness must be something he rarely sees as he seems very concerned but also very inquisitive about what happened.
The poet uses the word 'wander' to show that the mother has no purpose but is just moving around to try and occupy herself as something is on her mind.
What has happened to Lulu, mother?
What has happened to Lu?
It is now down to the final question from Charles Causely , the big one, what happened? And he emphasizes the end of the poem by repeating the question as if it is going to make a difference. Interestingly, the poem started of in the same way and it seems Causely has come in a full circle and is starting again with the original question.
Causely also refers to Lulu as 'Lu' suggesting a close relationship between the two and this event must seem like a huge blow to a young boy being thrust into an adult world.
What has happened to Lulu, mother?
What has happened to Lu?
The poem seems to have a very child-like theme and vocabulary throughout, using simple phrases and often repeating itself, such as the first and last lines where the phrase "What has happened to Lulu, mother?" are repeated. This could be to reflect the fact that the poem is, on the face of things, all about the child Lulu and what happened to her. However, it could also be to represent and show that the poem is being written from a child's point of view, who wouldn't use complicated terms or words.
by Charles Causley
presented Harry, Huw Merion-Jones, Josh and James
About the Author
Charles Stanley Causley was a poet, writer and teacher born on the 17th August 1917 in Launceston, Cornwell. In 19124, his father died from injuries from the First World War. Whilst at school, his potential for poetry was recognized early on by his teachers . However, Causley left school at the age of 15 to work as an office boy - a job his mother had found him. When the Second World War began, he served in the Royal Navy as a colder, of which his experiences were later recorded in some of his books. Following the war, Causley worked as a teacher in his old school in Launceston, but left. Having done so, Causley began to focus on writing and, having written plays since 1936, began books for adults in 1951 and for children in 1969. Causley continued to publish and write until his death. Throughout his career, Causley had many achievements including becoming a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1958 and being awarded a CBE in 1986 and being made a Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature when 83 years old, among many. Causley later died at the age of 86 on the 4th November 2003.
The fact the poet awoke due to the voices she heard suggests the two were speaking in raised tones - this implies they were arguing.
The poet's use of the word "roar" is carefully chosen here. As well as representing the ferocity of the argument causing LuLu's departure, it also signifies the anger with which she left. It also suggests some haste, as the car was clearly accelerating at some speed to cause the engine to roar.
And why do you
crumple that note
on the

Crumpling was possibly chosen as a verb here to depict the mother "crumpling" her relationship with her daughter, severing memories and emotional bonds. She may also be casting the note aside because she wishes to avoid her guilt - it has already been shown she is ashamed of the situation.
The poet's use of the word "fire" could have been chosen here to emphasize the heat of the argument - fire symbolized passion, and possibly suggests the passion with which the mother holds LuLu in contempt.
And say it is nothing at all?
Here the poet further emphasizes the mother's inability to inform her child of the situation, whether due to a protective sense of the child, or as a result of her own guilt towards the situation. She seems ashamed repeatedly throughout the poem, which suggests the mother's character has an interior conflict between her contempt for LuLu in running away, and her attachment to her.
The mother is lying directly to her son now, telling him the noises he heard were a dream. This could be a statement made out of denial, while trying to reassure herself that the events were indeed "a dream and nothing more." This could also link back to her protective attitude towards the poet.
It seems at this point the child openly asks his mother why she keeps lying to him and the question links to the last stanza in the final confrontation as he tries to find the truth. The poet uses the word mother in a clause adding emphasis as if the child is spitting out the words as if the child is tired of being lied to and wants answers.
Here again the child is going back to the fact that his mother keeps trying to hide something and gives very unlikely answers. This may be because the mother is trying to tell herself it wasn't that bad and she is still trying to be protective to her child.
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