Childhood/ Growing up/ youth

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  • School childhood and youth
    • DUFFY 1. Mrs Tilcher's class
      • Nostalgic tone, warm, familiar
      • Stanzas reflect the development over time through the year through seasons
      • "sugar paper. coloured shapes" CASEURA classroom imigary - duffy paints the world of a child
      • "laugh of a bell" Personification, reflects the exuberance of the energetic child to the thing he/she is required to ring
      • The security of Mrs T's class is contrasted w/ uncertainty reaching adolescence, 2ndary school and the horror of the moors murders
      • First 2 stanzas, wonder felt by child discovering world through all of the senses
      • Details of school experience couched in terms of childs perception eg at breaktime they drink a "skittle of milk" and the "pyramids" are learnt in the morning, and are recalled imaginatively through IMAGERY eg the last remnant stick of chalk "rubbed into dust" ... might elude to loss of childhood
      • CONTEXT: moors murders "faded..... mistake" Contemporary reference to Ian Brady and Myra Hindley who brutally murdered 2 children on the saddleworth moor in Lancashire in 1965
        • METAPHORE : Anxiety of news is effaced like a mistake in pencil rubbed out by the child
          • CONCEIT Truth emerges toward the end of the porm: the difficult areas of life cannot be effaced so easily: even the rubber leaves "faint uneasy smudge"
      • 3rd / 4th stanzas explore the changed, adolescent. Life cycle frogs VISUAL IMAGERY + ENJAMBMENT  "the inky tadpoles changed/ from commas to exclaimation marks"
        • Ink + punctuation are familiar details in a classroom, as are tadpoles. But Duffy is referring to the metamorphosis of the child into pre- adolescent.
      • Final stanza characterised by images of suppressed passion, impatience and sexuality
        • Imminent storm conveys excitement and danger associated w/ emergent adolescent: "air tasted of electricity"
          • Adjectives "feverish"/ "hot" and "****" stress incipient sexuality
    • PUGH 1. Sweet 18
      • First person narrative/ monologue  addressed directly to someone
        • Half rhyme: reflects the differing age between the narrative persona and the youthful subject of interest
          • Mirrors the childlike innocence in Mrs Tilcher's class and also the reality of the adult world "unknowing ease of your age"
            • "who could wish to make away such innocence, such perfection?" RHETORICAL QUESTION
    • DUFFY 2. Originally
      • First person narrative: although Duffy writes from a dual perspective : an adult who was once a child AND a child who would later become an adult
        • CONTEXT: Reminiscent of Duffy's own childhood as she moved at an early age from Scotland to England
      • PLURAL POSSESIVE PRONOUN "we" recaptures the childs indentification of experience as something defined by the parameters of a collective family identity.
      • CAESURA Emotional wrench of moving is captured through the brothers crying  and one "bawling, home// home"
      • STANZAIC ENJAMBMENT + LISTING "miles rushed...where we didnt live anymore" Image of Duffy's mental retracing of the route taken to England
        • Poem largely autobiographical "stared/ at the eyes of a blind toy": demonstrating childlike need for comfort BUT reminding  reader that her adult self is aware the toy neither see's of feels.
          • Makes a situation from the past more moving for the reader as they indentify with the childs emotional needs
      • LITERAL AND METAPHORICAL DIMESIONS "all childhood is an emigration" change involved as we grow towards adulthood...may be "slow" or "sudden"
      • "My parents' a loose tooth" characterisation/ similie
      • "but then you forget" Time aids the acceptance of the move i.e growing up
        • AKNOWLEDGES EASE IN WHICH YOUNG CHILDREN ADAPT "hesitates" implicates she finds describing Scotland as her home awkward/ SENSE ON GUILT
      • shedding skin like a snake... losing accent = natural process SIBILANCE new exterious (english) but the interior remains intact (scottish)
        • Skelf = scottish dialect
    • PUGH 2. Intercity lullaby
      • 3rd person perspective
        • Explores the lidea of childhood and adventure  through a train journey "two stations back, they were talking...eating the food their mothers packed"
          • Train = metaphore for time.... ie they had to grow up unusually fast due to political crisis
            • CONTEXT Thatchers right wing conservative lead to the closure of many industries in north and east of england (1980's) NO JOBS political issue
    • Connection: Both explore the difficulties in growing up and transition to adulthood
    • Connection: both show literal and metophorical journey out of adolescense.. intercity is forced movement due to lack of work and originally is due to parents movinh


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