• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How do poets create the illusion of the speaking voice? Write about Carol Ann Duffy's 'Head of English' and one other poem from section one. In your answer show how language is used in both poems to convey attitudes and values.

Extracts from this document...


How do poets create the illusion of the speaking voice? Write about Carol Ann Duffy's 'Head of English' and one other poem from section one. In your answer show how language is used in both poems to convey attitudes and values. 'Head of English' by Carol Ann Duffy explores the idea of stereotypical teachers and how G.B. Shaw's dictum, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches" may apply. Carol Ann Duffy is almost scornful towards her main character as she portrays the teacher as bitter and jealous. The teacher had to settle for the nearest thing to being a poet, which was to teach rather than write. 'Head of English' uses only one voice whereas 'Comprehensive' uses seven different personas; Carol Ann Duffy is famous for being a 'ventriloquist'. 'Comprehensive' by Carol Ann Duffy explores the different attitudes to education in schools and life in general by using different personalities, each one a stereotype. Each voice has an individual view and we can tell this by the structure of the poem and language used. Carol Ann Duffy creates voice through her perspectives and views that she uses in 'Head of English'. The teacher is envious of the poet, one could say almost resentful and she makes the poet feel like an outsider, as if she is not welcome, as she says 'After all, we're paying forty pounds'. ...read more.


The first speaker is an African female and we know this because she talks about Africa and how she has games which are similar to 'hopscotch', which is known to be played mainly by small girls. We can tell that the transition from Africa to England was difficult for this girl as she says how she likes 'Africa better than England'. She reminisces with her mother about their life in Africa, she finds this a good way of dealing with the life she has now in England. The language used by speaker one is broken, it is very plain and blunt which may suggest that they have not been living in England long. Wayne is an English, lower class, teenage male who is extremely racist and sees no future for himself. We know he is racist as he talks about 'paki-bashing' which means that he does not like Asian people, who are mentioned again in his stanza when he says 'I don't suppose I'll get a job. It's all them coming over here to work'. He almost blames Asian people for taking his job away, when in-fact it is clear that he will not have a job due to his laziness and clear ignorance. The language used by Wayne makes it obvious that he has not had a good education as he has a very limited vocabulary. ...read more.


The poem is supposed to be more of a conversation, where each child gives his or her view on certain things in their life. This suits the monotonous lives of the seven characters. Not one of them seems to fully enjoy life, as they all seem to complain that it is 'boring'. Each personality is set out in a different stanza, so as to separate them so the reader can differentiate between the characters. The structure of 'Head of English' is set out in five stanzas. Carol Ann Duffy uses enjambement so that the poem is read without a rhythm, but as a block of text. There is only one voice speaking throughout the poem. With each stanza, more time goes past as the beginning of the poem is the start of the class and the end is lunchtime, where the guest poet is told to leave. The short sentences emphasize the anger or resentfulness that the teacher feels towards to guest. As the poem ends, sentences become shorter, as if she is hurrying the end of the time she must spend with the poet. Carol Ann Duffy uses the intentions and language of the speakers and the structure of the poem to create the illusion of the speaking voice. 'Comprehensive' was a good poem to compare with 'Head of English' because they are both by Carol Ann Duffy, which makes it especially interesting to compare her characters. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Carol Ann Duffy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

*** 3 STARS

This is a good essay. Topic sentences are needed at the beginning of each new paragraph to focus on the attitudes and values shown by the speakers. In places more quotes are needed to support statements. More comparison needed between the two poems.

Marked by teacher Katie Dixon 05/09/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Carol Ann Duffy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    To what extent do you agree with the view that Duffy presents the female ...

    3 star(s)

    It is politically incorrect to call yourself an abortion. The aggressiveness of this poem is what makes it so powerful. Mrs. Quasimodo has a very low self-esteem, she abuses herself both verbally and physically. "Driven to an ecstasy of loathing of yourself" the word ecstasy shows the extremity of the poem.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    In the poem The Darkling Thrush, nature has a predominantly negative effect on the ...

    3 star(s)

    The "...wind his death lament..." encourages the reader to picture an empty landscape where only the sound of the wind is to be heard, whistling a funeral song in mourning of the death of nature.

  1. A Critical Analysis of Carol Ann Duffy's 'In Mrs Tilscher's Class'

    Mentioning them in the middle of an idyllic situation reminded them of the unpleasantness which could not be kept away from the children. The use of alliteration is also used in this line with the words 'faded' and 'faint'. However in the third stanza the mood changes as the terms

  2. Free essay

    Carol Ann Duffy explores the theme of childhood. Discuss in reference to at least ...

    This view of childhood contrasts the 'perfect' view of childhood shown in "In Mrs Tilscher's Class." Carol Ann Duffy also explores the theme of childhood through "Stealing."

  1. "Originally" By Carol Ann Duffy - summary

    touch, taste, feel, hear, pain etc. I think that the whole poem focuses mainly on sudden interruptions because from each paragraph is a different age section of her life. You can also see by the poem that as each paragraph develops, the way it is written and the style

  2. What do you find distinctive about Duffy's use of dramatic monologue?

    Psychopath sees the destruction of male supremacy and what it can lead to as he rapes a defenceless women and is very suggestive to past offences of rape too. Duffy hints this as the Psychopath speaks out names of past victims it appear like "Ruth Ellis" who gave him a

  1. Essay comparing a similar theme in three different poems from the section 'Standing Female ...

    This gives use better insight to the prostitutes character, making Carol Ann Duffy's persona even more direct and realistic. The language used in the poem is also a very good reflection of the prostitutes characteristics. "Belly nipple arse in the window light" "they call it Art" "...magnificent, she murmurs, moving on.

  2. "Originally" by Carol Ann Duffy - subject, form, tone, imagery, rhythm, rhyme and the ...

    In addition to this it focuses on an even love spread among the whole area and family. The last element provided in this stanza is visible on the last line, ...I stared at the eyes of a blind toy, holding its paw.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work