English notes - Revelation (poem)

I have spent weeks refining down my notes on my poems for the Higher English exams, this document is the result of that. I thought I'd share them as it is often very difficult to get any concise information on poems.

These notes are a scaled down to the point set of notes on the poem: Revelation by Liz Lochhead

What is covered?:
• Word choice - connotations
• Word choice
• Word choice - appealing to the senses (synaesthesia, visually, sound)
• Word choice - imagery
• Word choice - contrast
• Poem summary
• Verse
• Mood/tone
• Themes
• Characters
• Symbols
• Pacing
• Parallels
• Close look at stanzas

How to use this file?:
On the first page the colour lines corrospond to the coloured titles in the next column.

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  • Created by: Visser
  • Created on: 08-05-10 18:07
Preview of English notes - Revelation (poem)

First 270 words of the document:

REVELATION, LIZ LOCHHEAD
I remember once being shown the black bull
when a child at the farm for eggs and milk.
They called him Bob ­ as though perhaps
you could reduce a monster
with the charm of a friendly name.
At the threshold of his outhouse, someone
held my hand and let me peer inside.
At first, only black
and the hot reek of him. Then he was immense,
his edges merging with the darkness, just
a big bulk and a roar to be really scared of,
a trampling, and a clanking tense with the chain's jerk.
His eyes swivelled in the great wedge of his tossed head.
He roared his rage. His nostrils gaped.
And in the yard outside,
oblivious hens picked their way about.
The faint and rather festive tinkling
behind the mellow stone and hasp was all they knew
of that Black Mass, straining at his chains.
I had always half-known he existed ­
this antidote and Anti-Christ his anarchy
threatening the eggs, well-rounded, self-contained ­
and the placidity of milk.
I ran, my pigtails thumping on my back in fear,
past the big boys in the farm lane
who pulled the wings from butterflies and
blew up frogs with straws.
Past thorned hedges and harried nest,
scared of the eggs shattering ­
only my small and shaking hand on the jug's rim
in case the milk should spill.
CONNOTATIONS: threatening, great size, danger.

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Page 2

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REVELATION, LIZ LOCHHEAD
CONNOTATIONS/CONTRAST: Bob sounds friendly; however what Bob is a monster. `Bob' sounds like something we would find in the child friendly
countryside of eggs and milk, but he is actually something dangerous.
SYNAESTHESIA: Makes the bull even more real, confusing the senses, intensifying his presence to us and to the child. Reek has negative
connotations.
VISUALLY: Size reinforced (alliteration for emphasis)- this alone is very threatening. More vivid.…read more

Page 3

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REVELATION, LIZ LOCHHEAD
The countryside and its nature are invoked to provide innocence, comfort, danger and revelation. The familiar farmyard scene
is invoked as the stage for all this to happen on. Elements of the barnyard and countryside scene are emphasised: the
chickens are perpetual innocents, the milk and eggs are treasures under threat from the world, the bull IS that danger. The
poet uses the countryside setting and its characters to show the lessons on the nature of the world it has to teach.…read more

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REVELATION, LIZ LOCHHEAD
SYMBOLS
EGGS AND MILK
Symbols of innocence (of that which cannot defend itself) - shows the child/poet's revelation that those things that are
good in life may be destroyed.
Symbolise the girl's discovery of evil/danger: they are vulnerable to spills and shattering and that there is very little
between them and destruction.
Eggs, `self contained': the child's life was self contained in a bubble of innocence, which has been shattered by her
discovery.…read more

Page 5

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REVELATION, LIZ LOCHHEAD…read more

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