Brothers by Andrew Forster

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  • Created by: chloe
  • Created on: 21-05-13 16:01

What is Brothers about?

The poem brothers is about a boy spending an afternoon with his younger brother and his friend, and it explores the relationship between siblings. It is written from an adult perspective but considers the feelings of the older brother who thinks of his younger brother as an inconvenience.

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Structure of Brothers

The poem does not use rhyme or have a strict pattern to its rhythm. This is typical of modern poetry. There are three stanzas; they recount three stages of the afternoon. The first stanza sats the scence, showing the relationship between the speaker and his brother as well as the speaker and his friend. The second stanza presents the disruption to plans for the afternoon.The final stanza concludes the story. 

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The opening metaphor sets the tone for the realtionship between the two brothers. 'Saddled' suggests the negative feelings the speaker has for his brother, as if he is an inconvenience, restricting the freedom of the speaker.

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verbs in first stanza to show feelings

The speaker and his friend 'ambled' and 'talking' as they went, whereas the younger brother 'skipped' and was 'spouting six-year-old views'. The enthusiastic spirit of the younger brother reflects his pride and exictement at being with the older brother who he clearly worships.

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verbs in the second stanza to show feelings

'sighed' and 'stroll' contrast with 'windmilled'. Showing how the older children lack the outward enthusiasm of the younger boy, but then they are 'doing what grown-ups do'

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verbs in the third stanza to show feelings

The third stanza makes it clear that the older boys are still childre, despite how they would like to be seen: they 'chased olympic gold' when running for the bus, a metaphor to show their competitive nature that they cannot help but reveal.

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'what grown-ups do'

The aspiration to be older is apperant throughout the entire poem. In the first stanza, the older children discuss football and are dismissive of the younger boy as if they were wiser 

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'his smile,like mine said I was nine and he was te

The speaker is reflecting the naively superior feeling of the older boys. The shared smile also hints their close friendship, an intimacy which is craved by the younger brother but will be denied him because of the 'distance' between the brothers.

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The friendship in the poem is important, and yet the final image suggests the loss that the speaker feels at not being closer to his brother. 'I ran on, unable to close the distance i'd set in motion'. It seems that the younger boy will miss the buss and so be seperated from the brother he wants to be with. The older brother is probably relieved not to be 'saddled' with him anymore.  'looking back' at the image of the brothers seperated by a distance in both age and time.

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  • Sister Maude- brothers explores the relationship between siblings and the way in which time inevitable separets them. In Sister Maude a much more destructive realtionship between the siblings is presented. They both show that in adulthood siblings are often pushed apart.
  • Harmonium- both use the past to closely explore a family relationship, both using apparently insignificant events to illuminate a relationship
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