GCSE Poetry Revision

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The Clown Punk

Story line:
It is set in a car with children in the back seat. As they drive through the rough side of town, the stop at the traffic lights and come across a man who is covered in tattoos. The man puts his face up against the windscreen. The speaker asks the reader to consider identity and what makes us who we are and if that changes over time, as well as considering why we judge people as we do.


  • Pride- The Clown Punk doesn't seem to care what society thinks of him; he openly displays his punk identity in tattoos which cover his face and body
  • Identity- The Clown Punk is defined by his appearance, covered in tattoos, and he'll never change
  • Isolation- He is lonely due to his appearance
  • Decay- In 30 years time, the Clown Punk's face will be 'deflated' and 'shrunken', suggesting that time will inevitably cause his body to decay. The tattoos from his past will be 'sad' reminders of the way time has moved on
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Checking Out Me History

Story line:
The poet, John Agard, compares what he was taught in history at a school in England, with other key individuals from his own West Indian culture of whom he did not get taught about. He speaks of famous British historical events and contrasts these with less famous West Indian history. He is commenting on how he has had to create his own identity later in life as he was not informed about his own cultural roots.


  • Anger- Agard is angry because of the educational system prevented him from learning about his culture. He was unaware of his heritage even though it's an important part of his identity
  • Identity- He wants to 'carve' his own identity from the history of his culture, not British history which he is 'blinded' to
  • Bitterness- Agard is bitter as he feels that his history has been hidden from him, like a bandage over his eyes
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Horse Whisperer

Story line:
When farms relied on horses, the 'Horse Whisperer' was in demand, as he had a skill and talent which meant he could control the horses when there were any problems. However, as the industrial revolution progressed, horses were superseded by the tractor and other farm machinery. As a result, horses and the 'Horse Whisperer' became obsolete, leading to bitterness, regret, and to some extent a desire for revenge.


  • Pride- The Horse Whisperer was proud of his skill and talent; however this was destroyed when the horses were replaced with machinery
  • Revenge- As a result of being replaced, the Horse Whisperer desires revenge on those who drove horse whisperers out
  • Memories- The Horse Whisperer is looking back to the joy in which he gained from working with the horses, he is now bitter that this joy was stripped from him
  • Love- The Horse Whisperer cares for the horses and wants to protect them. The narrator feels sad and wistful that their close relationship has been lost
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Story Line:
This is the story of a young woman who has allowed jealousy to get the better of her and this leads her to imagine herself with Medusa's power to turn things into stone, which is what she would like to do to her lover, who she suspects is unfaithful. At the heart of the narrative is a sense of insecurity and her inability to believe herself to be beautiful enough to maintain her man's loyalty and commitment.


  • Jealousy- The speaker is possesive over her husband and is jealous of his other woman
  • Anger- She seems very angry and bitter at the idea of being betrayed
  • Control- The narrator's strong desire for control builds as the poem progresses, due to her current lack of it
  • Love- The narrator truely loves and idolises her husband, which is the cause for her anger and frustration
  • Insecurity- She wants her husband to return her love and at the end of the poem, she seeks reassurance from him that she's beautiful
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