Carol Ann Duffy describes “a rough boy”. This is a kind of girlie thing to see because when girls are young they don’t really like boys. When she says that the “boy told you how you were born”. She is really straight to the point and blunt. She also shows you how she was quite shocked about what the boy had told her “…stared at your parents, appalled…” She describes July as “feverish” and “the air tasted of electricity”. This shows that she is growing up and using older words now. It also gives a sense of atmosphere and tension.
She shows how Mrs Tilscher wants them to stay as children. “You asked her how you born and Mrs Tilscher smiled, then turned away”. “Reports were handed out”. This is a classic sign of the end of term. “You ran through the gates…” shows how she has entered the big wide world, and is unaware of what it will be like to grow up. “…sky split into a thunderstorm”. In ‘You May Turn Over and Begin’, Simon Armitage is a teenager in an exam, who is watching out of the window. His mind starts to wander “I was dreaming…” and as a typical school boy would do, he starts dreaming of “milk white breasts and nakedness, or more specifical virginity”. This gives a picture of purity, temptation and sexual desire.
Girls usually ignore him because they go for “older guys with studded jackets and motor-bikes and spare helmets”. This adds a bit of humour, as they’re able to offer more to the girls. He sounds jealous, as if he wishes he could be like that. He then remembers once when a “tall spindly girl” was riding “on her man’s new Honda…” This is quite specific and sounds funny today. Simon Armitage then adds some humour by telling us that “with the lights at amber” the girl “put down both feet and stood to stretch her limbs”, but her boyfriend hadn’t realised and “pulled off down the street” leaving her just standing “there like a wishbone”.
He uses a simile there, which describes really well what the girl looked like and gives the reader a clearer image of the scene. Armitage also adds a bit of irony because the boy didn’t notice the girl wasn’t there “till he came round in the ambulance having under balanced on a tight left-hander”. By the end of that incident, I think he’s glad that he actually isn’t like the “older guys” after all. He has grown up a bit.
Both of these poems share memories about school life, but at two different stages. ‘Mrs Tilscher’s Class’ uses more imagery than ‘You May Turn Over and Begin’, but ‘You May Turn Over and Begin’ has more humour and slightly more complicated diction, which would show how it is set in the older stage of school life. In ‘Kid’ by Simon Armitage he uses rhyming words like “order” and “wonder”, which makes the poem flow more smoothly. He says “let me loose to wander” which shows that he has been set free by Batman. In a way, he seems to feel as if he has been ditched. “…ditched me, rather, in the gutter…”
He tries to tell Batman how he has changed “…I turned the corner”, and he is trying to prove to himself and to Batman how he doesn’t need him anymore. He tries to threaten Batman that he’s going to reveal him to everyone. “… let the cat out on that caper with the married woman…” He puts hyphens in his poem, which makes it run quickly and smoothly. He builds on the picture of himself growing up. “…now I’m taller, harder, stronger, older.”
He uses sarcasm “Batman, it makes a marvellous picture…” and tries to tell Batman that he’s pathetic “…you without a shadow…” He tells Batman that he has to manage on his own. No assistance. “…stewing over chicken giblets in the pressure cooker, next to nothing in the walk-in larder”. As he builds through the poem, he is gradually growing up and changing into an adult. He’s leaving his hero behind. “…now I’m the real boy wonder”.
In ‘Stealing’ by Carol Ann Duffy, she starts off by involving the reader as if she’s going to answer the reader’s question. “The most unusual thing I ever stole?” She uses words that contrast each other, “snowman” and “Midnight”, which gives an image that really stands out – white against black. She explores her memories of someone who used to “steal things” she didn’t need. She uses internal rhyme “chill”, “thrill” to give it a slight beat.
The child was obviously quite cruel and an attention seeker “…the thrill was knowing that children would cry in the morning”. This sounds unemotional and has no friends herself. She has obviously had a bad childhood. Duffy uses her own experiences to come to the conclusion of “Life’s tough”. She is quite vicious “…took a run and booted him”. Repetition is used to get it through to the reader that this child is really angry. “Again. Again”. She is lonely and steals because of “boredom”. There is still some hope though because she wanted to “learn to play” the guitar.
These two poems both share quite a hard life in growing. In ‘Kid’, the boy finds it really hard to let go of Batman and grow up but eventually he’s proud of himself for doing so “I’m the real boy wonder”. In ‘Stealing’ a child is really lonely and rejected, so resorts to stealing and is “sick of the world”, but there is still hope because she wants to “learn to play” an instrument. In all of the poems, lots of different techniques of language are used, and this as you can see, is important in creating effects.