- Created by: Ed Holt
- Created on: 15-02-17 11:00
- The adjective "honey coloured " paint the girl as the image of perfection like a goddess of beauty (e.g. Aphrodite) the girl is a natrual beauty.
- "Absorbed in making her body more beautiful" the words linger as much as the old women eyes linger on the girl, the girl is unaware of the attention she is grabbing off other this shows that she is pure.
- "She has flexed and toned every muscle with a morning swim" this alliteration mirrors the movement of muscles in the pool.
- the quote "using an aromatic scrub and a gentle exfoilant" gives the sense that the older woman are gentle mocking the young girl perhpas becasue they know that despite using all these scrubs and exfoliants you canniot stop old age.
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- "lithe as a young leopard" this feline immagery also has femine connatations, this simile is used to suggest the girls natural beauty.
- The girls "perfect bone structure" is noted by the speaker. the speakers tone is tinged with jealousy.
- "Her secreat cleft shaved as neatly as a charlatons moustache".This comment on the girls body is very intruasive and again the girl seems to have idea she is being judge like this. there is a hint of derusion and criticismin the speakers tone when she compares the girl to a charlaton. this suggests her beuty regime is that of a confidence trickster, she will dupe men with her beauty. This is aslo the only male reference in the whole poem.
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- "In dreamy abstractness" suggests she is unaware of the attention she attracts which again shows her innoncence and purity.
- There is a skill and craft in the way the girls regime when she "moves in rhythm like a weaver's at a loom".
- "Perfumes every part of her body that might be loved". This suggests the girl lavishes attention on her body and there is a sense of vicarious living.
- The poets gaze lingers on her "kisspoints below her ears" and her "willow thighs" which could be interpreted as a sign that the older womens jealous stems from there hidden attraction to the girl.
- "Her hair so clean it looks like a waterfall" once again links the girl to the natural world.
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- "A bee could sip her" links this stanza back to stanza 1. gives connotation of being eaten and seems to suggest the girl is something to be relished. Metaphor reinfiorces the girls link with nature.
- "She is summer cream slipped over raspberries" a metaphor with sexual undertones.
- The speaker seems to confess her own prejudice when the speaker states "She is so much younger than the rest of us". This is a prejudice probably shared by the others watching the young girl.
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The final 3 lines
- The final three lines employ a blunt tonal shift. The woman serve as a warning of the future.
- the structure reflects the message, the use of stopped lines emphasises the finality and certainity of ageing.
- "We twelve are the chorus" the tweleve suggests thre woman are like the 12 disciples of Jesus in the bible. The other swimmers are the chorus warning the girl of waht the holds, she will ages just as they have done.
- The older women "know what happens next" which indicates they know she will gro old and lose these looks.
- These lines refer back to the title of the poem, the leisure centre, the leisure centre has taught a lesson that goes as far back as the time of ancient Greece (e.g. the chorus)
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The themes of the poem
- The older woman as "Chorus" provide a comment on the girl, althougb some readers have highlighted the eroticism in the description of the young woman throughout the poem rather then see the chorus as an allusion to Greek tragedy.
- The 12 women also recall the 12 aposltes of Jesus.
- While dense in the intertextual allusion there is still a playful umour as the poem ends. The poem cnetrs on pleasure; both in the physical perfection of the girl and in the warning that beauty is fleeting.
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