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How do poets write about violence and/or tension in schools? You should consider 'The Lesson' by Roger McGough and one other poem from section one of the Anthology.

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Introduction

How do poets write about violence and/or tension in schools? You should consider 'The Lesson' by Roger McGough and one other poem from section one of the Anthology. 'The Lesson' by Roger McGough and 'Comprehensive' by Carol Ann Duffy both discuss the violence in schools in their poems. 'The Lesson' is a more visually violent poem whose bloodthirsty villain is infact the teacher, whereas the characters in 'Comprehensive' tell us about the problems and racial tensions in their schools without as much violent language. Roger McGough writes about violence and tension in schools through the use of his own opinions. He uses humor in 'The Lesson' as he shares his views on three main themes, the first being his criticism of classroom management. 'Chaos ruled OK in the classroom' suggests that the teacher cannot control his students and this is further confirmed as 'his voice was lost in the din'. One of the most important qualities a teacher should have is power so they may continue with the lesson planned without any unnecessary interruptions and the teacher in this poem should have been able to stop the noise being made almost at once. This point leads onto McGough's views on teacher/pupil relationships. The poet implies that there is very little respect for the teacher as the children carry on talking and he is 'ignored'. Throughout the rest of the poem we see the teacher carry out his anger on his class, even the headmaster joins in, someone who is seen as having a high authority and someone who must care for the children to the best ability he can. ...read more.

Middle

This adds to the shocking focus in the poem. Carol Ann Duffy uses structure and form in 'Comprehension' to discuss the environment at schools by using her ventriloquist techniques by using seven different characters. Each one has a unique view, so the poet can use several opinions on tension among youths. Carol Ann Duffy uses enjambement in this poem so that the poem would be read without any particular rhythm. The structure of Wayne's sentences are very short and this tells us that he is not properly educated, which may be one of the reason why he is racist, because he does not know how to accept the cultures of others. Roger McGough uses language in 'The lesson' to write about violence and tension in schools. The first two lines in italics is the comical aspect on which the whole poem is based upon. The poet has changed the common question 'should there be corporal punishment in schools?' to 'should there be capital punishment in schools?' This is a dramatic change of word as corporal punishment used to be accepted and meant that pupils would be cained or whipped for their wrong - doing, whereas capital punishment was abolished in 1965 because it meant certain death. Therefore, the suggestion that children should receive the death penalty for minor acts in the school means that Roger McGough's 'The Lesson' is ironic and is to be taken light-heartedly. ...read more.

Conclusion

Wayne also tells us his hobbies, which include 'Paki-bashing'. We know from this that he has been violent towards people from other nationalities and yet he seems proud of this. He refers to the immigrants as 'them' as he insinuates that they are taking all the jobs, he is bitter. There is definite tension between Wayne and immigrants, it is as if he does not believe they have the right to be in the country. The sixth speaker refers to Sikhs as he says how his sister went out with 'one'. He separates him as if he has no identity. 'There was murder' suggests that the family were not happy with the relationship and this leads us to believe there is tension with this speaker and the Sikh community. He says Sikhs are 'different' and that 'You cant help taking the piss'. He is mocking them, which most probably leads to violence in the school. Carol Ann Duffy uses the reactions the children have to immigrants to write about violence in schools. It is clear from the way the characters speak and what they speak of that people from other cultures are not welcome in their community. Roger McGough and Carol Ann Duffy both discuss violence and tension in schools, but in very different ways. Roger McGough uses the teacher's feelings and turns this into an exaggerated, comical poem whereas Carol Ann Duffy uses the voices of her stereotypical characters. However they differentiate, both poets agree on the idea that school is no longer the safe place it ought to be. ...read more.

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