Monday, 26 November 2012

Sandpiper question response

This post is in response to a comment on my Analysis of the Sandpiper by Ahdaf Soueif piece.

The narrator's description of the sea and the sand shows the imagery used in the first and last paragraph to show her contrasting feelings between the two points in time, concerning both her married life and feeling towards her marriage.

The narrator's questioning tone and descriptive imagery of the juxtapositions could also indicate her husband and her's cultural differences and subsequent growing apart.

This picture could help you imagine the imagery used
“But what do the waves know of the massed, hot, still sands of the desert… and what does the beach know of the depths, the cold, the currents just there..” – a metaphor for cultural interactions, where neither culture truly understands the other’s.

Hope that helped.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Hunting Snake by Judith Wright Analysis

The Hunting Snake by Judith Wright
Sun-warmed in this late season's grace
under the autumn's gentlest sky
we walked, and froze half through a pace.
The great black snake went reeling by.

Head-down, tongue flickering on the trail 
he quested through the parting grass;
sun glazed his curves of diamond scale, 
and we lost breath to watch him pass.

What track he followed, what small food
fled living from his fierce intent, 
we scarcely thought; still as we stood
our eyes went with him as he went.

Cold, dark and splendid he was gone
into the grass that hid his prey.
We took a deeper breath of day, 
looked at each other, and went on. 

The narrator observes a warm, tranquil environment that is perceived by the reader as calm and pleasing. The froze "half-through a pace" introduces the snake as an intruder, one that is disturbing this pristine environment.

The description of the snake as beautiful yet dangerous, its size and vicious predatory intent indicates to the reader the amazing contradictions that the snake represents. "We took a deeper breath of day" shows how close the narrator believes they came to death, yet it could simultaneously indicate their amazement, and awe of being in the presence of such a remarkable, dangerous and beautiful creature.

The portrayal of the narrator at the mercy of this magnificent reptile highlights the extended metaphor that is apparent in this poem, one that show that man is till inferior to the true might of nature due to his life being at the mercy of this cold blooded hunter. The description of the snake completely ignoring the narrator ignites a sense of relief felt by the reader but it also indicates that it is not snake that is intruding but in fact it is the narrator, the humans, that are intruding into the beauty of nature.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan analysis

The Cockroach by Kevin Halligan
I watched a giant cockroach start to pace,
Skirting a ball of dust that rode the floor.
At first he seemed quite satisfied to trace 
A path between the wainscot and the door,
But soon he turned to jog in crooked rings,
Circling the rusty table leg and back,
And flipping right over to scratch his wings - 
As if a victim of a mild attack
Of restlessness that worsened over time.
After a while, he climbed an open shelf
And stopped. He looked uncertain where to go.
Was this due payment for some vicious crime
A former life had led to? I don't know,
Except I though I recognised myself.

"Comment on the particular presentation and observations of the narrator."

The narrator is initially a blank narrator as he focuses purely on the events, which consists of the cockroach moving across a room. As the poem progresses, the narrator draws away from purely the event and comments on the "restlessness" and uncertainty that this insect eventually portrays. This change is observation coupled with the presentation of the cockroach as the main focus, foreshadows what is to come in the poem.

Many a poem's focus, mainly reserved for human attention, but in this poem, the cockroach, a dirty, repulsive insect takes the place as the main focus and this could foreshadow the author's projection of himself as the cockroach. This projection, defining empathy, is further reinforced by the continuous use and prevalence of "I" in the last few lines. The "I" present in this poem initially concerning a cockroach indicates that the poet is reminiscing about his life and choices.

The rhyme scheme is simple as the narrator describes his observation but changes when the narrator is reminiscing and asking rhetorical questions until the rhyme scheme is shattered by the last line. "Except I thought I recognised myself", this line shows the complex content held by the change in feeling and thought pattern of the narrator. This confusion is in turn felt by the reader as the gravity of the poet's self projection is grasped by the reader.

The reader initially assigns a repulsive idea when reading the title but the narrator's empathetic presentation of the cockroach and eventual meditative and nostalgic tendencies are present, showing the self-reflection in the closing lines, which are ironic in that it goes against what the reader expects.

This poem links very nicely in its narrator's presentation to that of the The Hunting Snake by Judith Wright, in which both poems present their main focus as natural personas, yet the underlying, extended metaphors differ.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins Analysis

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins

Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who know how?)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; addazle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: Praise Him
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Pied Beauty by Hopkins is a poem of praise to God for his creations. The title already foreshadows the content in "Pied Beauty" which could alleviate to two-tone beauty, both ends of the spectrum. This idea is reinforced by the constant contrasts between normal expected aesthetic beauty and its contrasts of dull, unaesthetic images. This juxtaposition of beauty and what we consider to be expands upon the amazing natural beauty of our surroundings and in turn of God's creations.

The natural beauty in this poem is described as beautiful purely because of its rich diversity. "Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls" firstly convey an aesthetic beauty but upon closer inspection convey a more complex image; a chestnut is hard on the outside, concealing its meaty interior similarly to a hot coal which is black or grey on the outside, concealing the hot, fiery core. Both of these indicate the contrasts persistent of the "Pied Beauty".

"With swift, slow; sweet, sour; addazle, dim;" reinforce the idea of the beauty of contrasts, opposties as each word is an antonym. The sibilance of the s displays the softness of the tone. Nature is presented as contrasting imperfections, beautiful in its diversity. 

The Woodspurge by Dante Gabriel Rossetti analysis

I have tried to focus primarily on the natural aspect in most of the IGCSE set work this year. This is just a brief analysis to give you some well rounded knowledge of the Woodspurge. 

The Woodspurge by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
The wind flapp'd loose, the wind was still
Shaken out dead from the tree and hill
I had walk'd on at the wind's will , -
I sat now, for the wind was still.

Between my knees my forehead was, - 
My lips, drawn in, said not Alas!
My hair was over in the grass,
My naked ears heard the day pass. 

My eyes, wide open, had the run
Of some ten weeds to fix upon,
Among those few, out of the sun
The woodspurge flower'd , three cups in one.

From perfect grief there need not be
Wisdom or even memory:
One thing then learnt remains to me, -
The woodspurge has a cup of three.
 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ 

Rossetti does not focus on nature at all in this poem even though a natural object is the title, instead Rossetti uses the natural aspect present in this poem as tool to force the reader to acknowledge the narrator's state of mind.

The narrator is initially shown as wandering aimlessly and is passive in his movement since he is drifting on the wind, allowing the wind, this natural entity, to dictate his movements. This shows the reader the narrator's blank, aimless, almost defeated state of mind.

Nature is then later re-introduced in the form of the woodspurge, this weed, having 'three cups in one', three flowers in one. This woodspurge distracts the man from his deep emotional state of despair. The 'three cups in one' could be a metaphor of  the holy trinity of God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit and therefore show the relationship between nature and religion, as natural aspects are used to guide the narrator to and re-affirm his faith.

The woodspurge and in turn, nature, is used to draw the man away from despair and perhaps to a rekindled faith. Nature is portrayed as a tool of faith and almost entirely throughout the poem, the poet uses it to allow the reader to acknowledge the narrator's state of mind, from aimlessness and despair to hope, faith and even a cleansing of past grief. 

As always I would love to hear your thoughts, especially in the way you perceived this poem. Cheers