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

Subject and theme:about rites of passage, the transition from childhood to the adult world, from security of childhood to dangers outside school gates, symbolized by sexual knowledge.

Extracts from this document...


Subject and theme: about rites of passage, the transition from childhood to the adult world, from security of childhood to dangers outside school gates, symbolized by sexual knowledge. Child's view of the world - school is "better than home", thinking that the teacher loves you. Poem ends with child wanting to move on, as teacher implicitly accepts the "rough" boy's account of sex, but will not say it directly. Treatment of tadpoles hints at the cruelty in the adult world. Structure: oddly written in the second person, so reader identifies with "you" of poem, who could be poet or any child at school. A mix of narration and description but with chronological movement - ends with leaving primary school for good. Key images: many details of inside of school, which is likened to a "sweet shop"; "good gold star" is a transferred epithet: the child who receives it is good, not the star; tadpoles described as punctuation marks, which children learn to write; "Brady and Hindley" suggest the dangers of the adult world; weather and electricity suggest mood - "thunderstorm" marks the onset of puberty. In Mrs Tilscher's Class: This is, I think, a poem about the transition from childhood to adolescence. It begins in the primary school, as we can tell from there being only one teacher. The conversational second person singular pronoun, "you," makes the poem seem an intimate recollection. Mrs Tilscher's (she was a real person who taught Carol Ann Duffy) ...read more.


The child makes one, last attempt to stay in the secure, safe womb of the primary school. She asks Mrs Tilscher, who seems like a surrogate mother, the truth about babies. Mrs Tilscher does not answer, but "smiled and turned away". Her time is over. She who can tell the truth about the real world of the Blue Nile has nothing to say about the real world of marriage and children that the children will be facing in a few short years: "You ran through the gates, impatient to be grown," and the storm which threatened at the beginning of the verse, finally explodes, "split(ting)" "the heavy, sexy sky" open. In Mrs. Tilscher's Class This poem, like Before You Were Mine, is autobiographical, but more obviously so. Mrs. Tilscher is a real person, who taught Carol Ann Duffy in her last year at junior school. The poem is about rites of passage, the transition (move or change) from childhood to adolescence and the things we learn at school, from our teachers and from our peers. Duffy also associates the oppressive feeling we have in humid weather with the physical changes of puberty. Leaving primary school for the last time is like an escape we are eager to make but which takes us from safety into a dangerous unknown. Throughout the poem Duffy refers to "you". She means herself as she was in Mrs. Tilscher's class in the 1960s. But by writing in the second person she invites us to share her experience. ...read more.


All this builds up to the final image, that of awakening into adulthood and sexuality: You ran through the gates, impatient to be grown, as the sky split open into a thunderstorm. * She includes details to set the scene and help us imagine the classroom - chalky Pyramids (on the blackboard) / A window opened with a long pole. * She uses similes and metaphors. Find some examples in the poem and explain why they are effective. Here are some ideas: * The classroom glowed like a sweet shop. This emphasises how special the classroom was to a child, since a sweet shop is a place full of treats and surprises for children. * Brady and Hindley faded, like...a mistake. She uses a typical classroom image of rubbing out a mistake in your work to show how Mrs Tilscher helped the children 'erase' their fears. * Inky tadpoles. This description is very visual and helps us 'see' the blots and dashes as the children learnt to use ink pens. * The poet appeals to our senses to help us experience the classroom more fully: * There are vivid descriptions, as if the poet's memory is like a photograph, so we can see the children's fingers travelling up the Blue Nile. * There are many sounds mentioned, so we can hear the classroom as well as see it. Mrs Tilscher chanted.The laugh of a bell.A xylophone's nonsense * We can also smell the classroom air - The scent of a pencil...- and almost taste the electricity of the end of term and feeluntidy, hot, fractious. ...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

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. Free essay

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

    boy who seems very happy and exited about his future, contrasting with the adult man whos tone seems bitter throughout the duration of the poem. The man shows a lack of responsibility for the fact that his life has not gobe accordingly, and this is a childish trait, showing he is still stuck in the past.

  2. Little Red Cap revises Little Red Riding Hood in order to explore a rite ...

    Red Caps need to justify beholds perhaps one of the most important lines of the poem: "you might ask why. Here's why. Poetry.". Not only does she justify the conscious destruction of her innocence, but she also demonstrates final signs of childhood.

  1. "In Mrs. Tilscher's Class" by Carol Ann Duffy deals with one central theme. ...

    The language in the first two stanzas is exceptionally exuberant, more child-like in an emotional sense and the imagery is much more pleasant to envisage, filled with colour, vibrancy and liveliness: "Sugar paper. Coloured shapes." Each individual phrase builds up an atmosphere full of warmth.

  2. Explore the memories of childhood presented in "In Mrs Tilscher's class" by Carol Ann ...

    This shows that the innocence of the children is starting to pass away. The fact that Mrs Tilscher smiles and turns away, when "asked how you were born," conveys a sense that she does not want to encourage the children to loose their childhood innocence by telling them such mature things.

  1. How does Kate Chopin help you to understand Mrs Mallard's Experience of freedom in ...

    describes that Mrs Mallard was exhausted before and in "She was waiting for it" tells that she has desired the change for long time which makes a big contrast to her excited new life.

  2. Choose a poem that reflects on the idea of change. Show how the poet ...

    rubbed out "a skittle of milk; and the chalky Pyramids rubbed into dust". I believe this is a clever way of getting the reader to continue reading because most adults these days can remember these experiences whereas today's children don't have this in schools nowadays.

  1. Before You Were Mine

    * Do you find anything interesting in the way the poet presents the parent and her child here? Who is caring for whom? * How does this poem explore time - and the relation of the past and present? * Parents often give up their own aspirations because of their obligations to their children.

  2. Distortions of Reality

    Humbert cannot see outside the box within he lives. He cannot see past his warped sense of women. His mind has slipped into a world confined by his sexual desire. While living in this apartment he is driven mad by the shadow of the grocer's little daughter (26). This image reveals that his picture of girls is only a dark reflection of light, thus it lacks substance and clarity.

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