Analysing poetry

Timed well with the english lit exam on friday for WJEC people!! This is for analysing poetry, will be useful for the unseen poetry section of the exam. Used the poem 'Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping' by Grace Nichols as an example. Sorry the word processing wasn't better, I did this on a mac and I haven't got used to the 'text edit' software yet.

Good luck with exams! Comments much appreciated!

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How to Handle Unseen Poetry in your Literature Exam
The Fat Black Woman Goes Shopping
Grace Nichols
Shopping in London winter
is a real drag for the fat black woman
going from store to store
in search of accommodating clothes
and de weather so cold
Look at the frozen thin mannequins
fixing her with grin
and de pretty face salesgals
exchanging slimming glances
thinking she don't notice
Lord is aggravating
Nothing soft and bright and billowing
to flow like breezy sunlight
when she walking
The fat black woman curses in Swahili/Yoruba
and nation language under her breathing
all this journeying and journeying
The fat black woman could only conclude
that when it come to fashion

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Nothing much beyond size 14
· First let's look at the MEANING of the poem. What's
the plot? What message is the poet trying to say? Is there just one
meaning, or a deeper one? Which bits of the poem convey this
meaning the most?
So, for this poem, the plot is quite basic. A fat black woman is in
London shopping but is frustrated because she can't find anything that is
comfortable and caters for her size. However, the meaning is deeper.…read more

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Another theme in this poem is the woman's previous nationality and
culture as a Swahili/Yoruba woman. An example of this is the dialect
that is used in the poem like 'de' and 'Lord is aggravating' because both
of those are examples of nonstandard English. Look at the fourth stanza
which mentions 'breezy sunlight' and talks about what her ideal outfit
would be.…read more

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· Look at the mood/tone of the poem. What feelings are
behind the text? When is this mood conveyed? Is there a purpose
of the text?
Personally I think the mood of this poem is quite spiteful and bitter
towards slim people who have no trouble at all when it comes to clothes
shopping. The phrases 'Lord is aggravating' and 'curses in
Swahili/Yoruba' show that she is really ticked off about not finding any
good clothes.…read more

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I know where I'm missing bits out.…read more


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