Kamikaze by Beatrice Garland

  • Created by: randall04
  • Created on: 29-10-19 12:16
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  • Kamikaze by Beatrice Garland
    • context
      • a kamikaze was a form of pilot in WW2 they were expected to shoot bullets at the enemy typically american then fly their plane into where would cause the most damage. if thy still werent dead by the end of this they would be expected to stab themselves with a samari sword. if they didnt die this was viewed as a great dishonour to themselves and their families
      • Beatrice Garland has said: "I spend a lot of the day listening to other people's worlds". Her poem Kamikaze appears to extend this habit into her imaginative writing, as she recounts a story told by someone else about a place and time beyond the poet's own direct experience. The structure Garland uses in Kamikaze - a story recounted in one voice, with an ending in someone else's direct words - is one she uses in other poems too, such as A Private Life and partly in A Kosovan Ghost Story.
    • form and structure
      • on the one hand kamikaze has six line stanzas reflecting the tight control of the military
        • however it is written in free verse and uses a lot of enjambment this freedom of expression represents the freedom the pilot wants to have
    • quotes
      • Her father embarked at sunrisewith a flask of water, a samurai sword
        • The poem is a dramatic monologue which begins abruptly. This has the effect of a hook, drawing the reader into the story. The voice is that of the narrator, referring to the pilot in the third person singular ‘he’. Later the narrative moves to the voice of his daughter and her growing understanding of the plight of her father.The combination of “sunrise” and “embarked” gives an impression of adventure and discovery.“embarked” has two meanings here: to set off in his plane, and to start a new chapter, or a new challenge.The choice of the word ‘sunrise’ could also refer to the location. Japan is known as the land of the rising sun, and much of Japanese WW2 propaganda featured this ‘rising sun’.
        • There is also a contrast between the “flask of water”, a symbol of life, and “a samurai sword”, a symbol of death. Juxtaposing language is a device used throughout the poem.
        • The ‘Samurai sword’ is a reference to the Samurai code of Honour (Bushido). If a samurai has ‘lost’ their honour, they are able to regain it by committing seppuku- suicide. This shows the extent that soldiers went to, in order to serve their country, and the ultimate consequences they were willing to face upon the loss of their honour. This explains the isolation of their father, who has relinquished his honour and failed to regain it through suicide.
      • like a huge flag waved first one waythen the other in a figure of eight,
        • There are several interpretations to this; the flag implies patriotism. Also the idea of infinity in the figure of eight, and the signal soldiers make when surrendering. Beyond this, he is also surrendering his obligation to commit suicide, a mental surrender.The flag represents the fact that kamikaze pilots were under pressure to meet their obligations to their country. However, the fact that the flag is waved one way and then another could reflect the pilot’s change of mind.Infinity represents death; one is dead forever.
      • oncea tuna, the dark prince, muscular, dangerous.
        • The tone begins to darken, preparing for the disappointment of the next section of the poem.The ‘dark prince’ could be a reference to the ‘samurai’ earlier on in the poem; a reaching back to Japanese culture. Belonging to a Samurai family and catching a ‘prince of fishes’ were marks of honour in Japanese society.Alternatively it could refer to the good things in his life. He was a fisherman who reminisces about the fish he caught; large and tricky to land, and so they are probably accolades in his life.Also ‘dark’ suggests the night; he is entering a sinister and dangerous time of his life
        • The is tuna is one of a kind and therefore symbolises the idea that the pilot decides to turn to a different route from what he should be doing. He stands alone and is independent
      • only we children still chattered and laughedtill gradually we too learnedto be silent, t
        • The narrator tells this section from her own perspective, as it is the only part she knows from experience. As children they would have no awareness of the expectations of adult Japanese society. As an adult this would alter.The rest of her recount would have been from stories or her own reasoning. Children’s attitude juxtaposes that of the adults.
        • The use of the adverb emphasises the length of time it would take. The word itself is descriptive, with the long vowel sounds. When spoken aloud the pace of the line slows.
        • The last line’s chattering and laughing, the last positive imagery of the poem, is silenced. The silence speaks volumes — a metaphor for unspoken shame.
      • And sometimes, she said, he must have wonderedwhich had been the better way to die.
        • The last of three sentences is, on the face of it, a simple thought, but sums up the complexity of her father’s situation.The narrator starts to show that she might be feeling remorseful for her and her family’s treatment of her father.“die” doesn’t necessarily mean actual death, more likely the death of any respect for him; the death of his social standing and recognition. Would it have been better for him to have died with honour than ultimately dying as he will do, in a state of mental conflict and uneasy relationships with his family and community?It should be noted that the narrator never condemns her father, and that she might regret her attitude towards him.


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