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Memory can be a source of pleasure, pain or understanding. Compare two poems on this subject. Comment on how the poets deal with their experience of memory. Chosen poems - In Mrs Tilscher's Class, My Grandmother

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Memory can be a source of pleasure, pain or understanding. Compare two poems on this subject. Comment on how the poets deal with their experience of memory. Chosen poems: In Mrs Tilscher's Class My Grandmother Both poems focus on the power of memory; the feeling it can evoke and the power it has to take us back and recapture all senses and feelings that we once knew well. In Mrs Tilscher's Class the focus is on the pleasure experienced when recounting childhood memories. My Grandmother, however, focuses on the understanding that can come from looking back with hindsight. In Mrs Tilscher's Class works well as a concept as the feelings and senses described are universal. The poet is able to take the user back to their childhood, however long ago that may have been by the use of language and rhythm of the poem. To begin the poem, we are introduced to the world of make believe in every child's imagination. Exotic countries are recounted helping the reader to relive the mystery and excitement experienced in childhood. ...read more.


Throughout the poem Mrs Tilscher is a well respected, loved second mother figure. Sometimes everyone would like to have someone always there for them. This helps us to remember the love and affection one might have had for one's teachers. The kind and caring atmosphere that was there for you to come back to each day, of feeling protected. The last lines of the poem are in interesting contrast to the rest of the poem. It tells how 'you ran through the gates, impatient to be grown'. This technique is used to show us how little we must have known in wishing to leave this safe, caring, loving atmosphere to enter the big wide world. You can almost look back with pity on yourself that you did not realise the happiness of your situation. So the end theme of the poem is to appreciate how lucky we were, and did not realise it. *** In contrast, My Grandmother is a poem that focuses on how, when looking back, things are easier to understand. By looking back on her grandmother and her ways she does not, as in Mrs Tilscher's Class, look back with fondness but with a little more understanding than before, and possible a little more respect as a result of this. ...read more.


She describes the things that her grandmother never used - but needed'. This language is similar to the opening phrase at the beginning of the poem. But now at the end of the poem she understands that although before she may have though her grandmother keeping numerous useless items that she did not need was strange, she now empathises. At the time she still did not know or understand her grandmother. It is only now that she recalls memories of the past that she understands. So the main contrast between the two poems *** So the main similarity between the poems is the way they both use memories to evoke feelings. Mrs Tilscher's class evokes pleasure and fondness from universal childhood memories. My Grandmother uses memory to help us to realise the importance of the change in feeling that hindsight can bring. Both use a variety of techniques for the reader to be able to either empathise with the situation or to feel compassionate for the subject. Both manage to evoke a great deal of feeling as they focus on very emotive topics: Childhood and loss. It is the emotion drawn from the recalling of memories that makes them both so powerful and meaningful in their different ways. ...read more.

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