First 586 words of the document:
November by Simon Armitage
Cowardice, a word meaning lack of courage in a person, a word which many soldiers were
killed for in the 20th century during the first world war especially. November by Simon
Armitage shows cowardice and people giving up on someone just because they are in a
certain area, "the ward".
Armitage starts the poem by setting the hospital scene, the rush to get ward, and the
lack of care the people have for their belongings, "from the badly parked car," from this I
can tell that the people do not care about their car at all, as at a time like this possessions
that can be re-bought are not cared about, yet those which cannot, (the grandma) and
the main priority. The first stanza also puts the importance of the grandma to a minimum,
"taking four short steps to our two." This reminds me of a toddler, just learning to walk, and
walking alongside their parent, with their multiple steps towards their parents' one. By
saying this, Armitage is putting the grandma into someone else's shoes and making her
death less important.
The second stanza shows more sadness than the uncaring side of the first stanza.
When you are sad and not wanting things to happen you often do things in which are not
necessary, or would not generally be important in a situation that has been described,
"You check her towel, soap and family trinkets."Although family trinkets are important
and sentimental, the towel and soap is generally the things which are least on your mind
when things like this happen. In a way it shows they do not want this to happen and that
they do not believe it is happening.
The second stanza includes a lot of description of the area, "parcel her in the rough
blankets," this does describe a hospital blanket, as they are often cheap and feel
unclean, they are often itchy and rough. This could also be the same description as an
army blanket, as they are itchy, rough and people often "parcel" themselves in it.
Following this it also includes the first of the rhyming technique, "Trinkets" and "blankets."
Armitage does not have a lot of rhyme and I think it adds affect to this stanza because it
links the two thoughts together. The "family trinkets" and the "rough blankets," this may
be because those who miss something and have keep-sakes to remember the
people/situation by often sleep with these items, which could resemble a hospital
situation or a soldier situation.
Armitage describes the doctors as having "pastry bloodless smiles" in the third stanza. "In
their slack breasts, their stunned brains and their baldness," this could be describing two
things in my opinion, it could either be describing a crazy doctor, those of which have no
hair and are a slightly abnormal, those in which scare you to look or talk to, or it could
resemble an army sergeant, those who have no hair, those who have a fake bloodless
smile and those who have scared brains, and who take their anger out on those who are
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Armitage allows us to make the same connection with the first phrase he says in the first
stanza, "It is time John." This could be a doctor telling you the harsh facts of the death of
a loved one, or it could be a sergeant telling a troop that is it time to go out into no-man's
land or into the battle field to fight a battle.…read more
Here's a taster:
I get a vision of pieces of tinsel, and
plastic spears of silver and gold colours falling from the sun, this could be a beautiful sight,
and I believe it to be, yet when I read it with the rest of the poem, I think of the sun
collapsing in on the evil in the world, perhaps the start of a black hole.…read more