English Literature Poems Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage + Pre1914

the poems in the revision cards are -

  • On my first sonne
  • Sonnet 130
  • My last duchess
  • The laboratory
  • Havisham
  • Anne hathaway
  • Before you were mine
  • Stealing
  • Mother, any distance
  • Homecoming
  • Kid
  • Hitcher
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  • Created by: Olivia
  • Created on: 22-05-11 15:36

On My First Sonne, By Ben Jonson

About the Poem

Lines 1-4 The man says goodbye to his seven year old son who has just died.

Lines 5-8 He says he envies his son because in heaven you don't have to deal with all the horrible things that happen in life.                                               

 Lines 9-12 Ben Jonson says that his son was his best ever creation. He decides that in the future he won't love anyone as much as he loved his son so that he won't get so upset if they die.

Themes

  • Death
  • Parent-Child Relationships
  • Strong Emotions - Difficult Situation
  • Love
  • Losing a Child
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On My First Sonne Ctd.

Structure

  • Only 12 lines = an unfinished sonnet.
  • It is thought that having a complete sonnet (an extra 2 lines) would solidy that his child is dead and found it was too hard to write the lines.
  • Written in rhyming couplets with an iambic pentameter makingit flor like natural speech.
  • The six rhyming couplets reflects grieving.

Language

  • Thou child of my right hand” is significant because Jesus sat on the right hand of God. Left handed children were scolded in those times and the right hand was thought to be the best one.
  • The next line “My Sinne was too much hope of thee, lov’d boy” means Ben Johnson’s only sin was to love his child too much, making it unbearably hard to loose him.
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On My First Sonne Ctd.

 Language Ctd.

  • Additionally “seven years thou wert lent to me” is an extended metaphor of the idea that the child was only leant to him by God and rightful belongs to God.” Exacted by thy fate, on the just day” is interpreted that his son must be given back when God asks.
  • Will man lament the state he should envy” Suggests that Ben Johnson’s emotions are contradictory. He is mourning for his son because he is dead and yet he is envious because in death we find peace and escape the troubles of life.
  • “Ben Johnson his best peace of poetrie” tells the reader that the poet thinks his son is the best thing he has ever made.
  • Finally the poem ends expressing the lesson Ben Johnson has learnt from this experience “what he loves may never like too much” Johnson vows never to commit too much again
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On My First Sonne Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Anne Hathaway, by Carol Ann Duffy

Before You Were Mine, by Carol Ann Duffy

Havisham, by Carol Ann Duffy

Mother Any Distance, by Simon Armitage

Kid, by Simon Armitage

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Sonnet 130, By William Shakespeare

About the Poem

Lines 1-4 He makes blunt, critical statements about his mistress's looks. She doesn't match up to popular ideas of beauty in Elizabethan times, e.g, she's dark-haired, not fair.

Lines 5-12 He lists more beautiful things (roses, music, perfume, godesses) but then explains that she isn't like any of these either. On line 9, however, it starts to become apparent that he does like her really.

Lines 13-14 In the final rhyming couplet, he says that he thinks his mistress is great - as good as any other woman who's been praised in love poetry.

Themes

  • Romantic Love
  • Surprising - Closing Couplet
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Sonnet 130 Ctd.

Structure

  •  It is a traditional shakespearean sonnet.
  • It has 14 lines and ends with a rhyming couplet.
  • It has a steady iambic pentameter rhythm through out, which best mimics the flow of natural speech.
  • It is as if Shakespeare is reciting this to his love.
  • The poem has 10 beats per a line and every other syllable is stressed.

Language

  • This is a poem of contrasts. There is a comparison in every other line. The poem starts off by making colour comparisons “Coral is far redder than her lips red” Repeating the word red to emphasize that his wife’s lips are not red. These colours help to create powerful imagery for the reader.
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Sonnet 130 Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  • “Than in the breath from my mistress reeks” would have been interpreted differently in Shakespearean times as the word reek did not have the same connotations.
  • The last line “and yet by heaven, I think my love as rare, as any belied with false compare” means that for her faults Shakespeare completely loves her and he will not compare her to things that she is not. 

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Anne Hathaway, by Carol Ann Duffy

Havisham, by Carol Ann Duffy

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My Last Duchess, By Robert Browning

About the Poem

Lines 1-5 The Duke points out the portrait of the Duchess to a visitor. He's very proud of it.

Lines 5-13 He says people always ask him about the passionate expression on the Duchess's face.

Lines 13-21 The Duke says the Duchess's flirty expression wasn't reserved just for him.

Lines 21-34 He says she smiled at everyone. He's annoyed that she treated him just like anyone else.

Lines 34-43 He says it would have been wrong to criticise her for her behaviour.

Lines 43-47 He acted to stop the Duchess's flirting - but suspiciously, he doesn't say how he did this.

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My Last Duchess Ctd.

About the Poem Ctd.

Lines 47-56 The Duke and his guest walk away from the painting. The Duke reveals he's planning to get married again, this time to the daughter of a Count. 

Themes

  • Gradual reveal of a characters evil side
  • A key character being absent
  • Jealousy
  • Love
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Use of the first person
  • Attitudes towards others
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My Last Duchess Ctd.

Structure

  • Happy rhythm of rhyming couplets contrasts with the shocking content of the poem.
  • It is written in iambic pentameter which best mimics the sounds of natural speech; this is aided by enjambment.
  • The Caesura sometimes "acts out" what is happening for example Then all the smiles stopped together.

Language

  • The Duke starts by talking proudly of his “Fra Pandolf” picture and seems to see more importance in the artist than the fact that it is a picture of his dead wife.
  • The words “spot of joy” describe how the Duchess was easily pleased and too easily blushed for the Duke’s liking
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My Last Duchess Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  • The duke was offended that the Duchess was easily pleased by a person, who was in his eyes lesser than him “cherries from some officious fool” The duchess was always happy with everything.
  • The repetition of the word “stoop” shows the Duke’s is full of Pride and would not “stoop so low” as to tell the Duchess that he was not pleased with the way she was thankful of everything. Too proud to ask for more attention “My gift of a 900 year old name” also shows the Duke is proud of is background and believes it to be of more importance than anything else that makes the Duchess blush.
  • The possessive pronoun “my” in the title suggests he believes his wife to be something he own. Additionally the word last indicates that there will be more duchesses.
  • “Notice Neptune though taming a see horse” The Duke sees himself as the great God of the sea, he is a control freak and must have power over the tiny see horse that is his wife.
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My Last Duchess Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It to...

Havisham, by Carol Ann Duffy

The Laboratory, by Robert Browning

Hitcher, by Simon Armitage

Kid, by Simon Armitage

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The Laboratory, By Robert Browning

About the Poem

Lines 1-4 The woman talks to the chemist while he mixes the poison in his workshop.

Lines 5-8 Her lover is with another woman and they she's at church crying - but she's not.

Lines 9-20 She watches the chemist and says how lovely the poisons look. She wants all of them.

Lines 21-24 She plans to poison two other women called Pauline and Elise at the King's Court.

Lines 25-28 She tells the chemist to make the poison brighter, to make her lover's, mistress drink it.

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The Laboratory Ctd.

About the Poem Ctd.

Lines 29-32 She says there's not enough poison to kill the mistress - she's too big and too strong.

Lines 33-40 Last night, she felt she could kill the mistress by looking at her. She wants her to die painfully.

Lines 41-48 She's so grateful to the chemist she offers to kiss him. Now she's off to use the poison.

Themes

  • Negative attitude towards others
  • Characters that are openly evil
  • Jealousy
  • Bitterness
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The Laboratory Ctd.

Structure

  • The poem is written in twelve stanzas, all of four lines, rhymed AABB. The metre is anapaestic (two unstressed syllables, followed by a stressed one) - and this creates a rather jaunty effect, which seems unsuited to the poem's subject, if we take it too seriously.
  • Browning intends the poem to be perhaps almost comic, over the top and melodramatic - it has some of the qualities of a popular horror film, where the characters and situations are grotesque and outrageous.
  • The  rollicking, lively effect is reinforced by the frequent alliteration - "moisten and mash...pound at thy powder".

Language

  • "Moisten and mash up thy paste", sibilant sounds are sensuous which shows she is enjoying it.
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The Laboratory Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  • Violent Language -- She's absolutely merciless about taking her revenge. She wants the mistress's death to be horrible and painful, and violent thoughts are never far from her mind.
  • Imagery -- For all her nastiness, she uses quite fancy language inher descriptions.
  • Obsessive Language -- She gives up all her wealth and possessions for the poison - nothing else matters to her. She gets very excited when she thinks about revenge.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Hitcher, by Simon Armitage

Havisham, by Carol Ann Duffy

Kid, by Simon Armitage

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Havisham, By Carol Ann Duffy

About the Poem

Lines 1-4 Havisham's dead angry. She wants to kill  the man who stood her up.

Lines 5-9 She describes the weird things she does - like staying in bed all day screaming, ans always wearing her old wedding dress.

Lines 9-12 She says she sometimes dreams there's a man in bed with her, then wakes up abruptly.

Lines 12-16 She tells us that she stabbed the cake, but really wants to stab a man.

Themes

  • Evil
  • Mixed Emotions
  • Bitterness and Hate
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Havisham Ctd.

Structure

  • The frequent use of Caesura helps to illustrate the characters emotions. Perhaps one of the most effective uses is “Red balloon bursting in my face. Bang. ”
  • The poem has 4 stanzas, each have four lines and it are unrhymed.
  • Enjambment helps the verses to flow on from each other as if it is being spoken aloud, adding to the monologue effect.  For example “not a day since then I haven’t wished him dead"

     Language
  • Beloved sweet heart Bastard” is an oxymoron suggesting the characters conflicting emotions. She loves him yet she hates him for what he did to her.
  • The alliteration of “Balloon Bursting” in the final stanza helps to further emphasize the characters anger.
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Havisham Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  • The use of colourful language helps to create strong imagery for the reader. The metaphor “green pebbles for eyes” portrays her bitterness and jealousy towards her liberated fiancé.  Her dress is described as yellowing and the phrase “Puce curses” refers to an unpleasant purple/Brown colour.  In the last stanza the imagery of her white veil is contrasted with a red balloon bursting. The white veil represents her purity before the wedding and the red balloon represents her anger afterwards.
  •  Throughout the poem violent language reveals Miss Havisham’s deep desire to harm men. She wishes she had rope on the back of her hands that she could “strangle with”.  “I stabbed at a wedding cake” “suddenly bite awake”
  • “Noooo” and “b-b-b-breaks” could show the character is mentally unstable
  • Lists parts of the body “eyes”, “hands”, “tongue”, “mouth”, “ear” and “face”

 

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Havisham Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Kid, by Simon Armitage

My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning

The Laboratory, by Robert Browning

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Anne Hathaway, By Carol Ann Duffy

About the Poem

Lines 1-7 Anne describes her memories of the bed. It reminded her of fond memories of passionate love with Shakespeare. She compares his love to the words in his poems.

Lines 8-10 She seems to see their love as one of Shakespeare's plays.

Lines 11-14 Their guest has the better bed but Anne and Shakespeare has the better love. She says she'll always remember the love between them in that bed (lines 13-14).

Themes

  • Imagery
  • Express personal feelings - writing in the first person
  • Love
  • Positive attitudes towards others
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Ann Hathaway Ctd.

Structure

  • The poem is in sonnet form, however, not in a Shakespearean sonnet.
  • Enjambement adds softness to the poem and makes it more similar to natural speech, like Anne Hathaway is tellin her story.
  • The poem ends with a rhyming couplet of Anne Hathaway declaring her love.

Language

  • There is an extended metaphor of the idea “Love is a language”. Shakespeare had a great enthusiasm for language and used it creatively in his writing; the poem is suggesting he transferred this imagination to their relationship.
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Ann Hathaway Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  • Anne suggests that as lovers they were as inventive as Shakespeare was in his dramatic poetry - and their bed might contain “forests, castles, torchlight”, “cliff tops” and “seas where he would dive for pearls”.   These images are very obviously ******, and Duffy no doubt expects the reader to interpret them in a sexual sense.
  •  “his touch dancing in the centre of her noun”  is a metaphor to describe their physical contact.  softer rhyme…echo, assonance” are all writing devices but also repetitive sounds. “by touch, be scent, by taste”. Senses are as important in imaginative writing similarly sex is a sensual experience. She dreams of him writing her in his beautiful creations.  
  • “our guests dozed on, dribbling their prose” suggests poetry is beautiful and exciting whereas prose is dull. Other people don’t have the same passion as Shakespeare. The alliteration of “Living, laughing, Love” portrays a happy remembrance of her husband.
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Ann Hathaway Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Mother, any distance... , by Simon Armitage

On My First Sonne, by Ben Jonson

My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning

Sonnet 130, by William Shakespeare

Before You Were Mine, by Carol Ann Duffy

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Before You Were Mine, By Carol Ann Duffy

About the Poem

Lines 1-5 The poet describes her mum having fun with friends. She compares her with Marilyn Monroe.

Lines 6-11 Her mum stayed out late dancing, not put off by being told off by her own mother. The poet says that her mother was happiest during the 10 years before she was born

Lines 12-15 The poet remembers glimpses of her mum's fun-loving past from when she was a child.

Lines 16-20 She remembers her mum teaching her to dance. She wanted her to be like this more often, but realises that she only really fun-loveing and glamorous before she was born.

25 of 43

Before You Were Mine Ctd.

Themes

  • Imagery used to describe people
  • Getting older
  • Parent/Child relationships
  • Parent giving things up for child
  • Memories
  • Love

Structure

  • Written in four equal stanzas of five lines each.
  • It may help you to realise the regularity of time passing. (The poem keeps reminding us that ten years after the photo was taken, the happy, bold teenager had become a mother.) 
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Before You Were Mine Ctd.

Language

  • “Your polka dot-dress blows around your legs, Marilyn” gives the reader images of the iconic representation of Marilyn Monroe standing on an air vent.  It sets the poem in the 1950s. By comparing her mother to Marilyn Monroe she is suggesting her mother was, in her eyes, glamorous.
  • The powerful simile “clear as scent” makes us feel that Duffy is  very certain of what her mother’s past was like and that she can imagine the scene so clearly she can smell it.
  • “Those red high-heeled shoes, relics” gives the poem sadness. The mother doesn’t wear the shoes any more and the girl in the Pokka dot dress and high heels has disappeared.
  • “Cha Cha Cha” sounds like a dance, her mum is having fun but it’s not the same she is “stamping stars from the wrong pavement” she should be somewhere glamorous like Hollywood
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Before You Were Mine Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Homecoming, by Simon Armitage

Mother, and distance... , by Simon Armitage

Kid, by Simon Armitage

On My First Sonne, by Ben Jonson

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Stealing, By Carol Ann Duffy

About the Poem

Lines 1-10 The character in the poem remembers stealing a snowman at night, bit by bit. This seems to have been for company, and also to make the children who made it cry.

Lines 11-15 The character describes stealing cars, cameras and other things - and getting a thrill from it.

Lines 16-20 The character couldn't put the snowman back together properly - so he/she destroyed it.

Lines 21-25 The character says he/she steals because of boredom, but can't seem to explain it properly.

29 of 43

Stealing Ctd.

Themes

  • Danger + Risk Taking = exciting
  • Attitudes towards other people
  • First person = lets the poet speak directly to the reader
  • Language effects used to describe feelings

Structure

  • Five stanzas with five lines.
  • Frequent caesura could represent to unpredictable and disorder in the thief’s life
  • The enjambment seems to act out what is being said “I joy ride cars/to nowhere” 
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Stealing Ctd.

Language

  • The simile and internal rhyme “as cold as a slice of ice” portrays to the reader the feelings of bitterness felt by the Speaker.
  •  “I am a mucky ghost” is an interesting metaphor. Ghosts aren’t seen but he wants to be seen. He craved attention. He is disappointed.
  • “His torso frozen stiff, hugged to my chest, a fierce chill” creates powerful imagery for the reader. The image of a snowman standing in someone’s empty yard, dark, cold and alone is perhaps a visual representation of what is like to be in the head of a Kleptomaniac.
  • If the snowman is a symbol of the speaker’s mind then we can interpret him booting the snowman “again and again” as a sign of the speaker’s self destructive personality.
  • Hyperbole emphasizes the Character’s boredom and lack of purpose in life “I’m so bored I could eat myself”
  • Children would cry in the morning may be a linking to his own childhood or suggesting that he likes to hurt people more than he likes to take their procession. He wants to make people feel like he does.
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Stealing Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

The Laboratory, by Robert Browning

Kid, by Simon Armitage

Hitcher, by Simon Armitage

32 of 43

Mother, any distance , By Simon Armitage

About the Poem

Lines 1-4 The poet's mother comes to the house he's moving into, to help measure walls and other things.

Lines 5-8 She holds the end of the tape measure while he walks away to measure things. This makes him think about how she's always looked after him - but now she has to let him go.

Lines 9-15 The poet is looking forward to being independent, but he's also a bit scared by it. He doesn't know if he'll succeed without his mum or not, but she'll always be there for if he needs her.

Themes

  • Getting older
  • Imagery
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Mother, any distance Ctd.

Themes Ctd.

  • Parent/Child relationships
  • Parent find it hard to let go
  • Love
  • First person = poet speaks directly to the reader

Structure

  • The structure is mostly irregular to represent the uncertainty of leaving home in addition to the emotional ups and downs.
  • The ellipses in the last stanza could represent the pause in which the child has to decide to let go of the measuring tape. 
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Mother, any distance Ctd.

Language

  • In the first stanza words of large measurements are used “Acres” and prairies” this could represent how moving out releases a person from a small family world and gives them “acres” of freedom to explore.
  • The spool of tape, anchor and kite are extended metaphors for the mother and child’s relationship. The mother is a stead base always there at zero; the child is the spool of tape or a kite free to fly but always with the support of their parents there if they should need it. The reeling tape is like the passing of years.
  • The child Space walks through empty rooms. The rooms are blank canvas’ ready to be filled with the child’s life. The reference to space is significant as like the future of the child space is ever expanding and unknown.
  • The eternal rhyme “Pinch, one hundred of an inch” emphasizes the mother holding on to the son for as long as possible, perhaps reluctant to let go or perhaps just to support him for as long as she can.
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Mother, any distance Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  •  The last few words “to fall or fly” bring us back to the metaphor of a kite but also remind us that children need to be freed in order to meet the challenges of their lives and be successful.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Before You Were Mine, by Carol Ann Duffy

Anne Hathaway, by Carol Ann Duffy

Kid, by Simon Armitage

36 of 43

Homecoming, By Simon Armitage

About the Poem

Lines 1-4 The poet describes where people learn to trust someone.

Lines 5-11 A yellow jacket lies on the floor getting trampled on. Then someone, probably a young woman, gets told off by her mum for doing something wrong.

Lines 12-17 The same person sneaks off again, this time to a phone box. A dark figure waits by a gate.

Lines 18-23 The different parts of the yellow jacket are described as if they're parts of someone's body. It seems that the person hasn't changed much, because the jacket still fits.

37 of 43

Homecoming Ctd.

Themes

  • Memory - unreliable and confusing
  • Imagery
  • Mood
  • Trust
  • Relationships

Structure

  • The structure is irregular to reflect the fractured past the Simon Armitage is talking about.

  • However the metre is regular through out representing Simon Armitage’s rational response and advisory tone.

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Homecoming Ctd.

Language

 

  • The word Homecoming suggests returning home after a period of time. In this case perhaps it was after dispute.
  • The poem starts with the imperative “Think two things on their own and both at once”. He wants us to imagine and see the link between the two things – trust. Also “retrace that walk” is another example. It creates an advising tone
  • The canary yellow jacket is a metaphor for trust. In the last stanza he wants them to make peace with themselves and learn to trust again “try the same canary yellow jacket”. Perhaps he is suggesting that the person can trust in him.  In the second stanza the jacket is made black like the trust that was once pure is made dirty. The jacket could also be a metaphor of the warmth family life makes you feel.
  • Colour is important in this poem; the colours are bold to show the memories are still vivid. The rhyming words “You see red. Blue murder. Bed” suggests that perhaps the parents overreacted. The word red represents anger. Apart from this there is no other rhyming suggesting this is a serious poem.
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Homecoming Ctd.

Language Ctd.

  • The repetition and alliteration “The very model of a model of a mother” could mean the mother is trying too hard to be a model mother. In addition to this “makes a fist of it” suggests that the mother got it wrong and was too harsh.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Before You Were Mine, by Carol Ann Duffy

Havisham, by Carol Ann Duffy

 

40 of 43

Kid, By Simon Armitage

About the Poem

Lines 1-5 Robin (the narrator) is angry that Batman left him to fend for himself when he wasn't ready. But now Robin's taking control of his life.

Lines 6-13 Robin takes pleasure in revealing what Batman was really like. He wasn't a father figure to Robin as people had thought - he was taking out a married woman and claiming the money back from work.

Lines 14-18 Robin says he's not going to be Batman's sidekick any more. He's grown up, got rid of his silly costume and got some proper clothes.

Lines 19-24 Robin imagines Batman falling on hard times, and gloats when he pictures him struggling.

41 of 43

Kid Ctd.

Themes

  • Getting older
  • Memory
  • Parent/Child relationship
  • Negative attitudes towards others
  • Growing up - difficult time
  • Difficult situations showing strong emotions
  • Characters being portrayed negatively
  • Irony
  • Language effects describing feelings

Structure

  • The regular rhythm and structure aided by rhyming is contrasting to the seriousness of Robin’s feelings.

  • The ellipses in stanza five represents the turning point for Robin when he is no longer just Batman’s best friend he says “I turned the corner.”

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Kid Ctd.

Poems That Would Be Good To Compare It To...

Mother, any distance , by Simon Armitage

My Last Duchess, by Robert Browning

Before You Were Mine, by Carol Ann Duffy

The Laboratory, by Robert Browning

Havisham, by Carol Ann Duffy

Stealing, by Carol Ann Duffy

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Comments

Hannah

omg this is amazing this must have taken you YEARS!

Rachel

Did you seriously make this Olivia?

Lauren

Nice Rach

Olivia

hahaaa no it didn't Hannah, I used other resources aswell as my notes, to get a good variety :)

Rachel. Yes. Yes, I did :D are you proud? ;)

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