mid-term break

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  • Mid-Term Break
    • purpose
      • elegy, embodies a struggle to control feelings, emotional turmoil
    • content
      • boy has suffered a traumatic loss, his 4yo brother was killed in a car accident, affecting him and his family
    • analysis
      • stanza five + six
        • 'angry tearless sighs'- different response to grief, loss too great for words
        • 'ten o'clock'- movement of time in poem
        • 'corpse'- categorically unequivocal
        • 'snowdrops' etc- poignant, signs of mourning, remembrance
        • 'candles'- scene of meditation, quiet contemplation
        • 'him'- identity still withheld
      • stanza seven
        • 'wearing'- boy can't fully take in brother's death
        • 'as in his cot'- factual, simple statement, but depth of meaning= tender age
        • 'bumper knocked him clear'- powerful ending, heroic couplet, painful realisation
        • 'a four-foot box, a foot for every year'- monosyllabic, slows line down, caesura isolates phrase, further emphasises it, isolating this line adds to its impact, only full rhyme= lingers in readers mind
      • stanza three + four
        • 'baby cooed'- relief, change of tone, baby is blissfully unaware
        • 'to shake my hand'- don't know how to respond
        • enjambed- subtle intensification,concentration, quickening, loss of control
        • 'sorry for my trouble'- awkwardness in exchange
      • stanza one + two
        • alienating impact/ separate from friends
        • 'knelling'- death knell. world continues outside
        • 'neighbours'- not family, seriousness of event evident
        • full stop after home- time elapsed before next stanza
        • 'Big Jim Evans'- emotionally tough, double meaning. his words are horribly clumsy yet apt, brutal accuracy, line ends w full stop, allowing 'hard blow' to resonate
    • tone
      • neutral, matter-of-fact, factual, emotionally colourless, understated- emotions held back by ordinary conversation
    • structure
      • blank verse/ iambic pentameter
      • tercets/ written in triplets
      • doesn't rhyme except last 2 lines, unshowy, down to earth, break in structure
      • enjambement
      • disordered pattern subtly signals tensions under calm surface


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