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Comment on the poem Charlotte O'Neil's Song from Passengers.

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Comment on the poem Charlotte O'Neil's Song from Passengers by Fiona Farrell The poem is written by Fiona Farrell but voiced by Charlotte O'Neil and is set in the latter part of the nineteenth century. The poem is taken from the play Passengers which investigates the lives of young women as young as fourteen who emigrated from Europe to New Zealand. O'Neil's name was picked out from a list (the ships record) and she is described as a "general servant". Farrell used this information to create a poem that informs us and makes us aware of the status and emotions of a young servant at that period in time. The first verse is in the past tense and starts with the line "I rang your bell and I answered" which indicates that the master of the house has a bell that he/she rings and O'Neil will answer to her ringing the bell and follows the orders that she is instructed to do. ...read more.


A cot would have been very hard, uncomfortable and narrow, which is a symbol of poverty and hints at how the servants were treated. This is backed up by "that's the way it should be, you said/ That's the poor girl's lot". Here O'Neil is reporting what her master has said and has a tone of disgust in the way O'Neil has reported it. "You dined at eight/ and slept till late" symbolises that the wealthy were lazy and lead an idol and luxurious lives compared to the lower social classes. It is almost envious as O'Neil is still working whilst her master has long gone to bed. The third verse is the most unpleasant in tone and jobs "I emptied your chamber pot". This was probably the most degrading task in the household. "The rich man earns his castle, you said/ The poor deserve the gate" is said in the masters narrow-minded, insensitive and superiority voice. It touches on the masters' view of social classes. ...read more.


The next line "but now you're on your own dear/ I wont be there any more" is clearly stating that she is leaving her job. The next two lines are in the future tense using first person 'I`. "And I'll eat when I please/ and I'll sleep where I please" is a clear emphasise of freedom as all through out the poem O'Neil has been talking about her master but now she talks about herself. The last line "and you can open your own front door" is an antithesis for the first line "you rang your bell and I answered" as in the first line O'Neil is opening her masters own front door but in the last line O'Neil is telling her master to shut her own front door. This is also the final note to say that O'Neil is leaving her job. It gives the image of O'Neil leaving the house out of her master's front door but just before she closes the door she says the line. ...read more.

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