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We looked at the poems The Behaviour of Dogs and Flying to Belfast, 1977 by Craig Raine.

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Introduction

Craig Raine Coursework We looked at the poems The Behaviour of Dogs and Flying to Belfast, 1977 by Craig Raine. In Raine's poem The Behaviour of dogs he describes to us the many different breeds and types of dog that there are in the world and what effect they have on our lives. In the poem Craig Raine describes dogs in a different way than we would normally think of them to make us see them in unfamiliar ways. To make the dogs' actions easier for us to imagine he uses imagery of things we see in everyday life and on television but that we don't usually associate with dogs, "Their feet are four-leafed clovers that leave a jigsaw in the dust". This start of the poem is describing dogs' feet. Saying the dog's feet are four-leafed clovers is describing the shape of the dogs paw, but also four-leafed clovers are associated with good luck, which gives us a benign and warm association. The second verse is also submitting a friendly atmosphere around dogs when it refers to the way dogs "grin" and "tease us", this shows the good relationship shared between man and dog. ...read more.

Middle

Raine also mentions how dogs, "pee like hurdlers", "shit like weightlifters" and "relax by giving each other piggy backs". These descriptions are very true and are also very amusing, like the black portrayal of a one-legged cyclist, which is amusing but it is also weird and a disgusting thought. It is also funny when Raine mentions how dogs, "shit like weightlifters" as they crouch down on the grass with a look of strain in their face. The last phrase about dogs "giving each other piggy backs", conveys the way a child might view two dogs 'mating' or the way a parent might explain what the dogs were doing to an inquisitive child. The other poem we looked at by Craig Raine was "Flying to Belfast". This poem is written in the same way as "The Behaviour of Dogs" as it is made up of the same short two lined verses and again he uses lots of imagery to give us a better idea of how things looked through his eyes. The poem is about Craig Raine coming over to Belfast for a wedding in 1977. It shows how fearful and nervous Raine was flying into Belfast during the troubles and not knowing what to expect. ...read more.

Conclusion

In verses nine to the end the plane has entered a cloud and Raine could no longer see Belfast below, "as we entered a cloud and were nowhere". He is no longer scared because he can't see anything but he is trapped and doesn't know what to expect when the plane lands. He again starts thinking happy thoughts, "a bride in a veil, laughing at the sense of event", (he's thinking about the wedding again). The poem ends on an uncertain note: "only half afraid of an empty house, with its curtains boiling from the bedroom window", Raine doesn't know whether to be scared or not and doesn't know what to expect of Northern Ireland. The poem begins with happy images of weddings and homely things and ends with a thought of destruction, violence, sadness and a ruined home. The poem emphasises the different feelings people have about Northern Ireland when they don't really know what it is actually like here. The poem is made up of twelve short verses, some with only three words, this adds to the tension and the different sparse emotions of the poem as well as making it easier and more inviting to read. Laura Flack 5R Mr Orr English coursework ...read more.

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