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"Comprehensive" By Carol Ann Duffy - review

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"Comprehensive" By Carol Ann Duffy The poem Comprehensive consists of seven stanzas and each stanza has a different voice. Carol Ann Duffy uses the idea of conflict and differences in race and culture in 1985. Comprehensive is written in seven stanzas of six or seven lines. All verses are similar in structure to emphasis the fact that whatever the culture or origin everyone is equal. There is no rhyme or rhythm because this would not be suited to the subject matter, which is serious and emphasises the disparity of the speakers and their disjointed society in which they live in. By using rhyme and rhythm Carol Ann Duffy would also inhibit the ability to allow her speakers to use their own dialogue and express themselves. The first stanza sets the scene of the speaker's thoughts. The character compares Africa to England, by describing the memories of the speaker's life in Africa to the reader. Carol Ann Duffy uses comparisons making it easier for the reader to see the characters thoughts and feelings and the sadness of the speaker is shown, especially through the bittersweet way in which she (the speaker) refers to her family. This suggests that the she feels isolated and cannot adjust to her environment. ...read more.


This character is also sounds like a stereotypical "white male", because he wants to marry "a girl who can cook with long legs" which shows that unlike Wayne and Michelle, this speaker does want to make something of his life and wants to emigrate-"Australia sounds alright" The first part of the last stanza is quite picturesque and romantic because the image of a beautiful country is conjured-"Some of my family are named after Moghul Emperors". "Auranzeb, Jehangir, Batur, Humayun." This exotic phrase makes the rest of the stanza seem dull and ordinary as a school would be. This character feels proud of his/her culture-"Some of my family are named after the Moghul Emperors". As oppose to this, Carol Ann Duffy portrays the teacher as being crude, for example-"I didn't understand what she was saying so I didn't get any milk". This suggests that the speaker feels that he/she does not fit in and is unjust that he/she is being alienated. This poem has many lexical fields that are used for effect. These Lexical Fields can be categorised in groups, e.g.-Games, Food, Religion, Proper Nouns, Jobs, Family and Swearing/Slang/racist terms. Games: Tutumantu, hopscotch, Kwani-kwani, hide and seek and "We played in an old village" are all terms that the immigrants use, and "Games are for kids" is spoken by the ...read more.


Carol Ann Duffy is also very critical of British people in 1985. In comprehensive, Duffy shows the shallowness of the British as oppose to the beauty and niceness of the immigrants, giving the impression that the British were cruel and ignorant, which is not always necessarily true. Conclusion Carol Ann Duffy is quite brave in that she is not afraid to write about controversial topics or topics that could cause a lot of debate. In comprehensive Duffy writes in this way, by being bias and portraying the British people as the culprits and the immigrants as the victims. This poem was written a year before I was born, so I am not able to say if in 1985 racism was an issue and if this poem is dated, but my parents saw racism towards Hindu and non-British people, when they were young and even as adults they received racism themselves ,so maybe in 1985 racism was an issue. But nowadays this poem is quite insulting towards British people, especially people who were not racist and are not racist. Not all British people are racist, even if they were when this poem was written. In my opinion everyone is an individual and should not be stereotyped, although unfortunately some people still act as this racist stereotype describes them. C:\Documents and Settings\ARTI\UserData\My Documents\comprehensive.doc 30 April 2007 ...read more.

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