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A Comparison of Half-past Two by UA Fanthorpe and Leaving School by Hugo Williams.

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Introduction

Twentieth Century Poetry Title: A Comparison of Half-past Two by UA Fanthorpe and Leaving School by Hugo Williams. Half-past Two and Leaving School are both poems based around school and yet they both show two completely different experiences of school. U A Fanthorpe's Half-past Two is a light-hearted and slightly comical poem whereas Hugo William's Leaving School, shows a more serious and negative view of school. The titles of these poems suggest that they have something in common. The title Half-past Two brings to mind the time that the school day ends, and the title Leaving School brings to mind the end of the school day also. However, after further examination it is clear that the title Leaving School gives false expectations of the poem. This is because it begins with someone starting school and looks at school over a longer period of time whereas Half-past Two only looks at one day. The first line Half-past Two; 'Once upon a schooltime' has an interesting effect because the phrase 'once upon a..' is usually associated with fairy tales and other childish sentiments. ...read more.

Middle

The fact that the teachers are referred to as 'they' makes them seem almost like an enemy. The narrator in Half-past Two does not refer to the teacher by her name either but as 'Her' or 'She'. This creates a similar effect in Half-past Two as it does in Leaving School. However, this is more effective in Leaving School because it makes the little boy seem bitterer. Throughout Leaving School the narrator's bitterness towards school seems to grow and what starts as quite a positive view of school becomes more negative as the poem progresses. The end of Leaving school is the only part of the poem strongly linked to the title and it is unclear whether it is the boy just fantasising about leaving school or if the boy is actually leaving. Throughout Half-past Two, the mood remains reasonably positive, even when the little boy gets into trouble. Half-past Two ends in a similar way as it began, because it began as a fairy tale it's ending, with it's references to 'ever', resembles happy-ever-after, the traditional closing phrase for a fairy tale. ...read more.

Conclusion

Fanthorpe also uses personification in stanza eleven, 'time hides...waiting to be born' and she uses an oxymoron in stanza eight, 'silent-noise'. Overall, it seems as though Fanthorpe has paid more attention to imagery than Williams has. The way in which the two poems are laid out is completely different. Leaving school is divided into three medium sized stanzas whereas Half-past Two is divided into eleven small stanzas. The layout of Leaving school makes it seem more detailed than Half-past Two, which seems more simple and blunt by the layout. Fanthorpe uses italics to show the teacher actually taking and Williams uses speech marks instead. The italics used by Fanthorpe make the teacher seem more comical than speech marks would have done. Half-past Two Fanthorpe's Half-past Two is very different to Williams' Leaving School because seems to appeal to a wider audience than Leaving School. This is mainly because many of the phrases in Leaving School do not seem to make much a sense, and the message of the poem is more complex than Half-past Two. Each line in Half-past Two relates to the line before or after it whereas in Leaving school two consecutive lines may have no connection. ...read more.

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