Revision: Catrin by Gillian Clarke

Analysis of Catrin by Gillian Clarke


- Themes

- Ideas

- Thought and feelings

- Language 

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  • Created on: 19-05-11 14:22
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Catrin by Gillian Clarke
Themes: Conflict, love, mother/child relationship
Main ideas:
1st Stanza: The poet is recalling the birth of her daughter (Catrin)
o She talks about her emotions and feelings about the birth
2 stanza: Clarke then talks about her relationship with her daughter now
o She suggests there is conflict between her and her daughter
Throughout the poem Clarke is contrasting the baby's dependency with the independence
and defiance of a teenager.
Clarke and her daughter both want to be more independent; for Catrin this means being
able to "Skate in the dark, for one more hour".
Thoughts and feelings:
o "Clouded with feelings" and "In the dark" both suggest that Clarke is confused
about her feelings towards her daughter
Struggle for independence:
o "Still I am fighting you off"- Suggests that years later Clarke and Catrin still haven't
broken free from each other.
o "We want, we shouted, to be two, to be ourselves" ­ Both Clarke and Catrin want
independence and this unites them.
Conflict: There's confrontational language throughout the poem:
o "Neither won nor lost the struggle" ­ Conflict still exists between them.
o "We both fought over" ­ Suggests that they are in competition with each other;
both want to become independent.
o "One more hour" ­ Suggests that the conflict will continue.
Love: There's lots of loving language:
o "Wild , tender circles"
o "You stand there with your straight, strong, long brown hair" ­ Clarke admires her
daughter's strength and beauty.
Gentle rhythm ­ love, gentle feelings
Not regular and use of enjambment ­ Shows it's a train of thought
Simple lexis (vocabulary) ­ simple feelings in the poem
Two stanzas ­ one about past and one about present
The word "Separate" is on a separate line to emphasise the importance of the word to Clarke
and Catrin
"We want, we shouted, to be two, to be ourselves" ­ This line is very conflicting. It appears
as if it is in the transition of becoming two sentences (like Clarke and Catrin). It also
represents the conflict and struggle between Clarke and Catrin ­ the line is joined together
and separate at the same time much like Clarke and Catrin.

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Language (devices):
1st stanza:
o Alliteration: "First, fierce confrontation" ­ `F' sound represents heavy breathing
associated with the pain of labour
o Direct pronoun: "I can remember you child" ­ Poem is personal and the poet is
talking directly to her daughter with fondness
o Metaphors:
"Tight red rope of love" ­ Represents the umbilical cord which ties the
mother and child together.…read more


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