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Compare and contrast 'The Good Teachers' and 'Lanarkshire Girls' by Carol- Ann Duffy and Liz Lochhead

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Introduction

Duffy and Lochhead both write about adolescent experiences. Compare and contrast two poem taking into account the methods each poet uses to write. Both ?The Good Teachers? by Lochhead and ?Lanarkshire Girls? by Duffy deal with the theme of adolescent experiences by depicting their own in a recall fashion. Both speakers are now adults reflecting back upon their individual adolescent experiences with the speaker in ?The Good Teachers? reminiscing about her days at school while looking at an old school photo, and the speaker in ?Lanarkshire Girls? depicting the first time her and her friends took the bus from their rural Lanarkshire homes into the city of Glasgow. Both poems are told in a conversational, anecdotal style which is made evident through the use of various structural and language techniques. ?Lanarkshire Girls? is written in free verse which aids the free flowing chatty style of the piece, however, is still sectioned into three stanzas; the first talking of the bus leaving the countryside, the second speaking of the approach to the city, and the third describing the sights of the city. ...read more.

Middle

Lochhead however, refrains from the use of humour as the speaker voices her adolescent experience in a matter of fact style, in order to assert her new found maturity and prove how she is now growing up from the opening statement, ‘Coming into Glasgow/ in our red bus through those green fields.’ Although, despite this the speaker still shows a childish immaturity through her excitement of her adolescent experience, travelling in the red bus for the first time into the city with her friends as she uses the cliché, ‘fourteen years old, dreaming ourselves up, with holiday money burning a hole in our pockets.’ The desire to throw away youth and to grow up in evident also in ‘The Good Teachers’ as the speaker reveals a list of things she used to do as a child in order to make herself appear older and more mature, ‘You roll the waistband/ of your skirt over and over’, the repetition of the latter phrase demonstrating the action itself, ‘all leg, all/ dumb insolence, smoke-rings.’ Through the continued use of the pronoun, ‘you’, we, as the reader can share in Duffy’s adolescent experience as they are actions universal to all teenagers. ...read more.

Conclusion

The same is true for the speaker in ?The Good Teachers? as Duffy uses the metaphor of ?a wall you climb? to describe the transition from adolescent into adulthood. Even in the most positive point of the poem where she expresses her passion and love for both her English teacher and the subject itself is tainted. Her adoration is evident through the repetition of, ?so much? and through her actions such as remembering ?The River?s Tale by Rudyard Kipling by heart? and by ?making a poem for? her teacher. The speaker suggests that even this adolescent experience was tainted as her teacher who she admired is not perfect and her ?cruel blue? eye demonstrates this. This symbolises how no adolescent experience is perfect. Both poems end on very different tones and therefore have different outlooks on adolescent experiences. ?Lanarkshire Girls? ends with a feeling of excitement as the bus, ?spilled? the girls out dreaming themselves up. Whereas, ?The Good Teachers? ends on a tone of regret as the speakers finds truth in what her teachers told her that, ?you?ll be sorry one day? for not working hard enough and for racing to throw away their childhoods. ...read more.

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