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How is lost innocence portrayed By Duffy and Pugh?

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Introduction

How is youth presented by Duffy and Pugh? In both Pugh and Duffy, youth is often presented as something innocent that is taken away too soon, whether intentionally or non- intentionally. They both also present youth as the product of their environment, which often isn't a good thing. In Lizzie 6, Duffy seems keen to present the youth of this poem (Lizzie) as very innocent and helpless. She does this straight away through the title, which could be interpreted as the age of this victim, showing the reader straight away how young and naïve she must be although it could also represent the abusers number of victims-this would also emphasise Lizzie's helplessness being at the hands of an experienced abuser and would make the reader empathise with her fragility even more. This fragility is shown through the use of language such as “play” and “wood” which has innocent and childlike connotations, despite “wood” being turned into a sexual reference- perhaps symbolising how the abuser is taking Lizzie's innocence and turning it into something more sinister. The structure of Lizzie 6 also has a twisted nursery rhyme like feel, given the poem a hugely sinister tone and may also draw attention to Lizzie's lost innocence. The vulnerability of Lizzie is further displayed through the use of language such as “bare” and “afraid” showing how exposed she is. ...read more.

Middle

Lizzie's 1 as well as the fact that Lizzie only speaks when asked, showing again how she lacks control of the situation. The relentless questioning could also suggest Lizzie's lack of privacy, ?what are you thinking?- she can't even have her own thoughts. Its dramatic monologue form also shows the dominance of the abuser and helplessness of the victim. In comprehensive, Duffy presents the children as rather hopeless and ignorant, and also displays the segregation and racism in youth and the differences between English children and the foreigners despite the ironic title ?comprehensive?. The ignorance Duffy displays in comprehensive takes two forms. Firstly through the foreign children who use very simplistic, childlike and largely monosyllabic language ?you will like it when we get our own house? to reflect their lack of education in England as of yet. However this lack of education is also extended by Duffy through to the English children who obviously should know better, such as the double negative ?She won't let me do nothing?. The ignorance Duffy displays also takes the form of the narrow minded racism used by English characters such as Wayne, ?Paki bashing and Pulling girls knickers down?. Duffy's use of alliteration of the harsh ?p? sound makes it sound like Wayne is spitting the sound out and emphasises his bitter attitude towards foreigners. ...read more.

Conclusion

This is further shown through the lullaby structure of the poem “lully, lully, lullay” showing the boys need support and comfort, again like little children as well as having the “food their mothers packed”- showing a lack of independence despite their move to London alone. All of this has the effect of the reader feeling more sympathy towards the boys as they are presented as more vulnerable and naïve and almost not ready to move on alone, with Pugh giving them a great sense of innocence. This is similar to the effect created in Lizzie 6, with her displayed innocence making the audience empathise more with her character. Contrastingly, Wayne in Comprehensive is portrayed through a much harder exterior “games are for kids” and through the list of short sentences which sound angry and forced- this perhaps makes the reader think Wayne is less naïve and innocent when juxtaposed with other children's more child-like language “Kwani- kwani is like hide-and-seek” and therefore the reader would sympathise with his character less, the opposite effect of Intercity lullaby. In conclusion, Duffy and Pugh both display childhood as innocent and something that is often taken away to soon, whether intentionally or not. They also both display a lack of choices for the children and how their lives and opinions are shaped by the adults around them- despite these being often bad role models. ...read more.

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