Analysis of Meanings and Language in pre-relaes poems

A paragraph on the meaning and a paragraph on the language features for eachof the GCSE pre release poems.

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Marianne Bradley 11PV
Analysis of Meaning and Language in prerelease poems
Aunt Julia
"Aunt Julia" is a poem written by a man who remembers the times he spent with his Aunt,
and describes her. It outlines her as an eccentric character, and is full of regret that he
cannot speak to her again. The first stanza implies that Aunt Julia made no attempt to help
her nephew understand her " Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic very loud and fast". Throughout the
poem, she is described as maculine ­ perhaps able to fend for herself ­ her gardening habit
"peatscrapes and lazybeds": and the way she "drew yarn marvellously out of the air" when
spinning wool suggest an agricultural background. The poet seems regretful that he could
never have a proper conversation with her "by the time I had learned a little (Gaelic) she lay
silenced in the absolute black of a sandy grave". We have the feeling that he really looked
up to her ­and enjoyed his stay in a different culture.
MacCaig uses alliteration, metaphors and modifiers to describe his aunt. He describes her
character as rather eccentric: "she wore men's boots when she wore any". His metaphorical
outline of her in stanza four suggest the things that he remembers most about her " she was
brown eggs, black skirts, and a keeper of threepennybits in a teapot". It is suggested that
she is at one with nature "she was winds pouring wetly round house ends. His use of
imagery in stanza two "I can see her strong foot stained with peat" gives a maculine
ideology, as big, powerful feet with mud on them without shoes are not typically feminine. I".
In stanza one, repetition is used to describe how incomprehensible Norman finds his Aunt: "
very loud and very fast" gives the impression of an overbearing wish to be understood. He
adds: " I could not answer her ­ I could not understand her". The line "Aunt Julia spoke
Gaelic very loud and fast" is repeated in the last stanza. This gives the idea that this was the
thing he remembered most about her.
Overall, the language used suggests her eccentricity "flounced" suggests a love of life. It is
clear that he looked up to her ­ he describes her as spinning yarn "marvellously" and we feel
that he regrets not speaking to her while he had the chance: "with so many questions
Working Late
"Working Late" is a poem written about the poets relationship with his parents ­ mainly his
father. The poet feels lost because his father works very hard "he is working later on cases",
and they find it difficult to have a proper conversation "we are silent", or to act like a father
and son. Indeed, the fact that his father does not object to him being out of bed so later "Still
up?" shows how his father does not really know how to behave around his son. The father is
described as being meticulous and a workaholic "he argues from evidence, actually pacing
out and measuring".
However, his father is also careless ­ he leaves his evidence in cupboards years after it is no
longer needed "for years, all through my childhood, if I opened a closet...there would be the
dead mans (plaster) head".

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From the fourth stanza, we are under the impression that his mother is no longer around "all
the arguing in the world will not stay the moon". From the word arguing, we can assume that
she left the father after quarrelling, and then "resuming her interrupted journey...turning away
from land to open sea".
At the end of the poem, the poet has become his father "and the light that used to shine at
night in my father's study now shines as late in mine".…read more

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In the fourth stanza, we sense that he is no longer rich and successful. The quote " he
escaped the lynch days" implies a period in history where many people died ­ we can
assume that this is because of the money he has moved around the globe. The narrator has
"dreamt I saw him on a village water line" which suggests that this man has gone into hiding
­ nobody knows where he is.…read more

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In "The Washerwomen", language is used to great effect. Throughout the poem, consonantal
chiming is used to simulate the sounds of the women washing and the environment that they
are in. In the first stanza "foaming fumbles through them with the thousand tones" uses the
alliteration onomatopoeically ­ the sentence is designed to sound like their environment. An
extended musical metaphor is used to further the sounds of the setting and the work in the
readers mind.…read more

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The description of the goods as "smuggled" implies that they are escaping
The authors description of the snow as "a valley of plaster" in stanza three shows that they
have never seen certain sights: this is a completely new environment. The quote "you are too
young to complain" in stanza four suggests that this kind of thing has happened before in
their country before the author was born.…read more

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­ the barrater in the bride's mother's stanza regarding the items as
"beautifully painted. The repetition of the river and the rain in each stanza shows how it
is the most memorable thing about the wedding. Its development in the poem warns the
reader of what to expect at the end. At the beginning, "it is drizzling again": and as the poem
progresses so does the amount of rain.…read more

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Great Britain because so many cities had been
bombed and needed rebuilding.
The description " I in my Carribean gear was a halffinished shack" uses personification to
show how he doesn't belong in London. He is not suitably dressed for the conditions:
"frosty field" implies extreme cold. Personification is used again to describe the unpleasant
smells of London " a rage of combined smells attacked me".…read more


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