Surface meaning: Two dustmen returning from work are compared with two beautiful people on their way to work.Theme: Another poem of contrast which explores injustice.The narrator contrasts the pairs of people who are judged by their jobs and their appearances and rail against the democracy which allows this to happen.Lexis: Contrasts convey the accepted view of each pair of people - positive for the couple and negative for the scavengers.Imagery: Scavengers as a metaphor makes them sound like vultures.Shows inequality and injustice.Their jobs are also symbols for their relative statuses in society.
Phonetics:Blank verse makes it sound like a commentary.Repetition of c phonetic patterning for the cool couple possibly adds a tone of disgust. Repetition of H sound for scavengers possibly makes them sound tired and resigned.
Grammar: Present tense for immediacy.Lack of punctuation suggests this unfair situation will continue.Compound sentences make it sound like a monologue
.Tone: A distant tone - we are offered the facts and left to make up our own minds. Very occasional curt anger condemns human nature.
Form and Structure: uneven line lengths show inequality.Blank verse sounds like a recollection.Some caesura for same effect.
Cultural points: The inequality of life in the USA where people are judged by their appearance.
Night of the Scorpion
Surface meaning: A mother in a small village is bitten by a scorpion and her husband resorts to old rituals to save her.Theme:The fathers anxiety leads him to try any method he possibly can to save his wife,even though hes a "sceptic" . Therefore this is a poem of contrasts between new and old ways.It also explores the cultural traditions of these villagers.
Lexis: Contrasts between fathers modern attitude and that of peasants.Direct speech for the peasants to bring us closer to the action.Some simple lexis to reflect the simplicity of their culture.Imagery: The simile to describe the peasants,"like swarms of flies"shows their lack of individuality.
Phonetics: Phonetic patterning - sibilance and repitition of "D" sound adds to sinister feel of scorpion.Blank verse for reflective tone.Lots of plosive "P" sounds add to the mystical tone by creating the sense of an incantation.
Grammar: Past tense for a recollection.Parrallel sentences create a sense of the peasants chanting.Simple and compound sentences reflect the simplcity of their culture.
Tone : gently mocking the peasants and their naivite.
Structure: One long stanza in blank verse for the recollection.Line break to show thatthe time of danger has passed.
Cultural points : life in a peasant village where superstition is a ritual rule!
Surface meaning:The activities of two vultures and a commandant at Belsen are described.
Theme:The narrator uses seemingly contrasting ideas, the vultures and the commandant to show that love turns its face and ignores atrocities around it.Therefore evil will continue alongside love.
Lexis: stark and shocking lexis to present vultures actions - blunt presentation to suggest we should not hide from such things.Same with the description of the commandant.
Imagery:Metaphor to describe the vulture "pebble" is disturbing and renders them inanimate.Love is personified to show the ability of love to ignore that occuring around it .Thus love is evil!
Phonetics:Plosive sounds enhance our disgust at the vultures. Blank verse for reflective tone.continious use of "C" adds a sense of suppressed anger.
Grammar:Present tense for immediacy.Lots of declaratives make the narrator sound very certain of theirof view point .
Tone: lecturing tells us what to think. Pathetic fallacy adds to dreary tone.Condemns human nature.
Structure:Two identations mark the end of sections.Blank verse again- very precise and to the point.
Cultural point: Good and evil exist in all places.
What were they like ?
Surface meaning: A question and answer session whereby the narrator questions another about the people in vietnam.
Theme: Contrasts are important - this time between the interviewer and the interviewee.The questions are impersonal, but the answers are truthful and distasteful .This reveals anger with what happened to these lost people.
Lexis:Simple and poetic lexis for questions contrast with the more disturbing semantic fields of pain and destruction in the answers.Imagery:Imagery occurs in the second stanza - the interviewers responses.It is often to do with place and specific pastoral images of pre- war vietnam.
Phonetics: Unusually gentle plosive sounds for the longest answer, when the respondent speaks reflectively about the past.Similar use of "M" and "S" sounds - creates a peaceful , nostalgoc atmosphere.
Grammar: Interrogatives for the questioner.Declaritives for the respondent really put the questioner in his place!past tense for events to show that they have happened and can not be reversed.
Tone: mild curiousity for the questioner and suppressed anger for the respondent.Condemns human nature /ignorance.
Structure:a short stanza for the questions and then a longer one for the detailed answersCultural points:A protest against the effect of the Vietnam war on the people.