Clown Punk by Simon Armitage

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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • A man driving home with children see a heavily tattooed man
  • The children 'wince' at the man when he tries to wash their windscreen
  • The father tells the children to remember the clown punk
  • The speaker wants his children to look past appearance and see his inner tragedy & humanity
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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Written in a sonnet form (A poem of fourteen lines using any of a number of formal rhyme schemes)
  • Ironic- sonnets are normally associated with love
  • Has regular rhymes at begining but half rhymes in the middle- suggests things are ordered but out of balance
  • Emphasised by use of enjambement
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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Initially represents the clown punk as an outsider to society
  • Structured around a brief moment when the family in the car and the clown punks lives collide
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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Some northern vocab- "slathers his daft mush"- suggestive of Armitage's Yorkshire roots
  • Rhyme in phrase 'town clown'- creates a comic image


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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Similie- "a basket of washing that got up and walked, towing a dog on a rope"- creates image of a shambolic person- structure of sentence mirrors the way the dog walks behind the clown punk
  • 'every pixel'- an image of a very tattooed man- his man is its own image- encouraged not to feel fear but to react sympathetically when the tattoos become 'sad'
  • "ink", "daubed" and  linked to art & painting- spreads through poem like the way the tattos have on the mans skin
  • "indelible"- the image of the clown punk can be washed away with windscreen wipers and rain in the minds of the children on the back seat. Although tattoos are permanent, people are not, so eventually everything will be gone.
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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Ironic- link clown punk with fear & disgust rather than laughter - seem more of an outsider as he doesn't conform with expectations
  • Painting- physcially covered in tattoos- emphasises clown like appearance- his attitude behind tattoos is also part of his identity
  • Injury- relating to accidents- make clown punk seem more disturbing- highlights how ridiculous he'll look in 30 years
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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Pity- Narrator feels sympathy towards the clown punk
  • Pride- The Punk doesn't care what society thinks about him- displays his punk identity
  • Discomfort- implication we could turn out like him too
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Clown Punk by Simon Armitage


  • Both of the main characters are not part of conventional society- marginalised
  • Both make a scene by getting too close to the audience


  • Both bring us face to face with an usual character
  • There is a focus of physcial detail in both poems
  • There is a suggestion of change over time
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