Analysis of ' A Leisure Centre is Also a Temple of Learning' by S. Boyle

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Sue Boyle- about the author

  • Lives in Bath
  • she has written a book of poems 
  • she was praised for the 'humble attentiveness these poems pay to their subjects' 
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Title ' A Leisure Centre is Also a Temple of Learn

  • Links to the poem ' To my Nine Year Old Self' poem by J.Copus 
  • as it is also about the observer and the observed 
  • women descriped in poem is like that in a magazine
  • also intertextuality as links to Song of Solomon in Bible
  • Theme of Greek mythlogy - goddess 
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Verse 1 'The honey coloured girl in the women's ch

  • Vision of beauty 
  • 'is absorbed in making her body more beautiful' - 'isolation
  • self obsessed 
  • she is unaware/dreamy
  • 'she flexed and toned every muscle with a morning swim.'
  • sound pattern
  • vanity 
  • 'and showered away the pool chemicals' - harshness
  • she cares about her apparance
  • 'using an aromatic scrub and a gentle exfoliant' - pleasant , fragrant smell
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Verse 2 'Lithe as a young leopard'

  • 'Lithe as a young leopard ,she has perfect bone structure:' -elegant 
  • animal is feminine ,small ,beautiful ( like her ) 
  • the flow of the verse - her sense of enjoyment from the process of getting ready
  • a sensual vision
  • 'her secret cleft is shaved as neatly as a charlatan's moustache 
  • a charlatan is someone claimiing to have special knowledge or powers 
  • so the moustache is their disguse 
  • she is acting older than she is - shaving it is part of her routine
  • 'the secret cleft' refers to her credentials
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Verse three 'In dreamy abstractedness ...' and Ver

  • language referance 
  • '... every part that might be love.'- she wants to be loved.
  • she is using perfume 'sprays perfumes' - fragrance
  • 'her long hands move in rhythm like a weaver's at a loom-' - graceful /swan like
  • 'the little kisspoints below her ears,' - behind her eyes
  • 'the nuzzle between her breasts , her willow thights. ' - sexual , intimate movement /gesture
  • 'She brushes her hair so clean it looks like waterfall'- naturally beautiful like waterfall

Verse 4

  • 'A bee could sip her.' - pollination , rip for reproduction
  • she is a flower in bloom
  • 'She is summer cream slipped over raspberries '
  • luxury - refering to her complextion 
  • 'She is so much younger than the rest of us'-  she is trying to fit in 
  • personal context 
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Ending- possible interpretations

  • the line 'she is so much younger..' -contrasts to the build up to the end 
  • split into three seperate lines 
  • 'She should look around.' - conformity 
  • 'We twelve are the chorus:' 
  • twelve - apostles -religious
  • or twelve- like a jury -judging her 
  • greek chrous - mythology 
  • foreboding 
  • is she preparing to meet someone? 
  • if so the poem may be a referance to the timeless process of girls preparing for romance 
  • maybe the women know that she is preparing for a romatic or sexual experience 
  • 'we know what happens next.' - undercuts seriousness with stark effects- change
  • the line is ominous - dry humour is used effectively 
  • maybe the line is referring to the futility of what the girl is doing- a commentary on how she cannot avoid growing old- exploring the idea of aging 
  • maybe the other women are jealous of the girl 
  • they could be about to say to her 'you look lovely' or they could be about to critise her 
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Final comments

  • Greek images used throughout
  • 'learning' - what does  the reader 'learn' from the poem
  •  female readers can use personal context / their own experience which may influence what they think the ending of the poem means
  • poem is about the secular and spiritual
  • poem is about the modern and ancient/ religious 
  • it has brought all these contrasting themes together sucessfully in a witty way 
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