'An Easy Passage'

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'An Easy Passage' - by Julia Copus (about the auth

  • grew up in London 
  • her poems are often subtly and elaborately structured 
  • she grew up with three brothers and craved her own space 
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The poem

  • the poem explores the shift from childhood to adulthood
  • in light of this explaination- the title seems ironic
  • the theme of this poem is universal 
  • the poem is about a girl sneaking into her house 
  • this is something she clearly is not meant to be doing 
  • the poem is not written in verses but as one continous flow 
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Lines 1-9

  • 'Once she is is halfway up there, crouched in her bikini...' 
  • past event , she is vunerable , she is 'halfway' between childhood and adulthood
  • 'on the porch roof of her family's house, trembling,'- her state of mind - she is frightened/ in 
  • she is in fear of falling
  • 'the sharp drop of the stairwell; she must keep her mind' - building up willpower to jump 
  • 'on the friend with whom she is half in love' - innocence of youth/ purity 
  • repetition of 'keep in mind' 
  • she is being supported by her friend 
  • 'and on the fact of the open window,' - reader learns of girl's intention
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Line 10-17

  • 'the flimsy,hole-punched , aluminium lever'- sense of fragility
  • 'towards which in a moment she will reach'- suggesting she is getting to old for this 
  • 'but first she steadies herself,' - growing courage 
  • 'the grains of the asphalt'- sandy black grains 
  • 'hot beneath her toes and fingertips'- a warm day 
  • 'a square of petrified beach' - she is disobeying her parents 
  • 'her tiny breasts rest lightly on her thighs.' - puberty
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Lines 17 +

  • 'What can she know ( new line) of the way the world admits us less and less the more we grow?' - naivety 
  • present tense 
  • 'For now both girls seems lit, as if from within,'- radiance of youth
  • 'for now the house exists only for them, set back as it is '- they have no perspective of the world at large
  • they are unaware or oblivious  ot the wider world
  • 'from the long ,grey eyw of the street'- the watchful eye
  • 'the mother ( next line) who does not trust her daughter with the key' - not considered ready for responsibility so has sneaked out
  • 'the workers about their business in the drab' - work is something the girls have never done - they are freedom 
  • drab'- refers to boredoom 
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lines 26 -32

  • 'far too, most far , from the flush -faced secretary'- alliteration - this is the girl's future
  • 'who,with her head full of the evening class (next line) she plans to take or the trip of a lifetime,'- she has no time for fun - busy stressed out adult- focusing on task/concentrating 
  • 'looks up now from the stirring omens of the astrology column'- sinister / onimous 
  • 'at a girl -thirteen if she's a day'- age of girl/ v. young -rebellion 
  • 'in next to nothing in the driveway opposite,' - use of other person's perspective by poet 
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  • 'shielding her eyes to gaze up at a pale calf,'- shiny /brightness - girl is breaking in 
  • an adult would never do this 
  • 'a silver anklet'- something of value 
  • 'the five neat shimmering -oyster -painted toenails'- fashion -type of nail polish
  • 'of an outstreached foot' - smoothness of movement 
  • enjambment -'which catch the sunlifght briefly'- sunlight suggest positive memory when everything seemed great 
  • 'like a flash of armaments' - simile - weaponary - armour attack
  • flash of potential
  • this is an unsual choice of words, there is a hint of menance here 
  • 'before (next line ) dropping gracefully into the shade of the house'- she has achieved what she set out to do
  • shows she is not ready for responsibility as she did a dangerous thing
  • she is falling in line / acquiescing
  • - breaking in not out of her house 
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Structure/ summary of poem's ending


  • enjamebent -constant continous flow -reflects  women writers thoughts at time 
  • the enjamebent leads to a conversational glow


  • the girls situation is delicate 
  • the writer has used physicality of the girls fragility
  • the writer has used dark/light imagery throughout the poem 
  • the poem is about the  girl's  evental descent into the gray adult world around her
  • but the use of 'armaments' towards the end of the poem -feistness -might meant the girl will 'fight' the future that has been mapped out for her 
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