Kamikaze

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  • Kamikaze
    • Types of themes
      • The sea: the traditional way of life and close link to the sea have timeless quality
        • Evidence: Mentions of fishing boats, different types of fish, the 'green-blue translucent sea', the shore, pebbles, 'the turbulent inrush of breakers', 'salt-sodden', 'awash'.
          • Analysis:The pilot remembers details of the games he played with his brothers, the colours and patterns of the fish and the taste of the sea salt. These vivid memories suggest what he is about to lose and conveys a powerful sense of home-sickness.
            • Overview
              • In this narrative poem, Beatrice Garland explores the testimony of the daughter of a kamikaze pilot. Unlike many of his comrades, this pilot turns back from his target and returns home.
              • The poem vividly explores the moment that the pilot's decision is made and sketches out the consequences for him over the rest of his life. Not only is he shunned by his neighbours but his wife refuses to speak to him or look him in the eye.
              • During the Second World War, the term 'kamikaze' was used for Japanese fighter pilots who were sent on suicide missions. They were expected to crash their warplanes into enemy warships.
      • Family life: there are repeated references to family members as the poem unfolds.
        • Evidence: Mentions of father, brothers, grandfather, mother, children
          • Analysis: The story of the pilot is at last told to a whole new generation of grandchildren, who perhaps never met him. These references establish the consequences of the pilot's decision - his entire family and community judge him. The reader is invited to question whether the pilot is being judged too harshly, and to reflect on the practice of suicide missions in war
    • Interpretation of the poem
      • The poem contrasts the vividness of the pilot's moment of choice with the disappointment of his life afterwards
        • Context of kamikaze
          • Beatrice Garland's poem reflects the immense social pressure brought to bear on the pilots to carry out kamikaze missions as part of Japan's war effort during World War Two.
          • the poem also has a strong contemporary relevance. Instead of simply thinking of the poem as being about a military strategy in the distant past.
      • The poem is an attempt to come to terms with the past and achieve some kind of closure
    • Interpretation of the last stanza
      • The poem closes with a bleak view of her father that offers little comfort or tenderness.
      • The poem closes on a note of tender regret, which hints at forgiveness.
    • Form, structure & language
      • Form :Kamikaze is a narrative poem. It begins as a kind of report, summarising another conversation or an overheard story told by someone else.
      • Structure: Kamikaze is written in seven, six-line stanzas. The poem does not rhyme and has no regular rhythmic pattern, though most lines have three or four stresses.
      • Language: The language Garland chooses appears to be natural and every day.

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