Football after School by Patricia McCarthy

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Stanza 1

  • 'You'll' - repeated throughout poem -> emphasis, certainty
  • 'stiff striped dagger' - sibilance, school tie
  • 'warpaint', 'dagger' - violence
  • 'dribbling', 'butting' - football
  • Syllable count - 9.7.6.8.7.9.8
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Stanza 2

  • 'Yes,' - discourse marker -> conversational tone
  • 'dwarf' - intimidation
  • 'stab', 'kick' - violence
  • 'kick', 'margins', 'pitch' - football
  • Syllable count - 7.9.7.8.10.8.9
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Stanza 3

  • 'porcelain', 'granite' - opposits
  • 'I wonder if' - uncertainty, unsure whether Kerry is robust enough for the world
  • 'inkstained' - mother was a writer, doesn't want Kerry to turn out like her
  • 'bruises', 'fists' - violence
  • 'bruises', 'studded boots', 'tackle fouls' - football
  • Syllable count - 10.11.9.7.9.9.9
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Stanza 4

  • '.' - caesura in first line
  • 'I can't prevent' - shift of focus from 'you' to 'I'
  • 'crossbones' - pirate, emphasises young age of Kerry, plasters ->injury
  • 'bullies into cement' - can't stop them
  • 'trample', 'punches', 'crossbones'
  • No football-related language
  • Syllable count - 9.9.9.11.8.5.7
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Stanza 5

  • 'sun' - metaphor for a football, sun/son -> homophone
  • 'not to inherit' - doesn't want her son to be like her, weak person?
  • 'puncture', 'scream', 'shout' - violence
  • No football-related language
  • Syllable count - 6.6.10.11.12.9.9
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Whole Poem

  • You = Kerry (her son)
  • I = Patricia (the poet)
  • Them = older boys (at school)
  • Worried about Kerry inheriting her own anxiety when she was young
  • Semantic field of aggresion and conflict
  • Rhyme scheme is ABABCDC - D is alone
  • Poem is written like a monologue
  • Wide variety of length of lines and syllable count
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