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Carol Ann Duffy - Childhood and Youth

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Introduction

"Explore the way Carol Ann Duffy presents ideas of childhood and youth in the 20th century in at least three poems" Carol Ann Duffy has portrayed her views on childhood and youth in various ways in the three poems, "Mrs Tilscher's Class, "Education for Leisure" and "Comprehensive" Duffy has written about her own personal experiences but has inverted the poems to address the audience as many readers from the same decade would have experienced the same scenarios as Duffy depicts in her poems, this is particularly true in the poem "Mrs Tilscher's Class". In Mrs Tilscher's Class Duffy presents childhood an innocent stage of a person's life where they are engrossed in this metaphorical "perfect" world within the classroom, away from the dangerous outside world. The child is on a journey to knowledge in the last year of primary school and becomes more experienced, and developed through this discovery. The theme of wanting something from life is carried on with "Education for Leisure" where a young person, most likely a teenager is desperate to be recognised, "I have had enough of being ignored". The teenager wants to be noticed and have an impact at school, as presently he is going through the education system with no feeling or desire to achieve anything. In this poem childhood is presented as an isolation from the rest of society, the teenagers are driven to almost kill or carry ...read more.

Middle

Duffy has created an atmosphere of fear as it the first time in the poem that the child has contact of with a human, and as a reader Duffy is trying to show that the child has potential to harm us. The use of pronouns is essential to this poem and there is a noticeable reputation of the phrase "I'm going to" is effective in the way that it shows the determination of the youth, and his desire to make a difference. In "Comprehensive" Duffy uses an interesting range of pronouns, for example when each speaker is talking about their experience they refer to the children from other backgrounds as "them" or "they" rather than their names, "they're different from us, showing they are lacking importance and are just branded as another class people also the reader does not know who "they or "them" is so will interpret it as they wish. Many metaphors are used in the poem "In Mrs Tilschers Class", particularly in the last stanza where there is an essence of time moving on and the child growing up quickly. At the beginning of the last stanza when Duffy refers to "feverish" July it is the child who is feverish and anxious to find out more about the world, especially "how you were born". ...read more.

Conclusion

"Education for Leisure" demonstrates the unhappiness of many teenagers, who feel they are not recognised, and noticed enough, driving them to violence through sheer boredom and frustration. In Comprehensive, Duffy does not show any sense of what school is about or the learning aspect of school; instead the attention is focused on the collection of diverse teenagers with their own problems. These problems affect life inside the classroom as well as outside the classroom and the less education a child receives the more troubled they will become in later life as demonstrated in "Education for Leisure" Overall we can learn that 20th century youth were a mixture of different backgrounds with many different outlooks on life. Compared to present day where many teenagers of different backgrounds mix freely the 20th century seemed to have a division between these various cultures, and Duffy offered a negative view of "White" British children by portraying them as racist, which indicates there was more violence and tension between the immigrant and the British children. Childhood and Youth can be a pleasant time for those who have the desire to do well and share the same eagerness as they do in primary school, but can also be a lonely time for those who have a powerful sense of their own importance and insignificance of others, and a greater sense of grievance that no one else notices them and they are undervalued. Raidah Haider 11-G Mrs Bailey ...read more.

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