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Comment on the poem 'Charlotte O'Neil's Song' from 'Passengers' by Fiona Farrell

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Emily Walker 10A Comment on the poem 'Charlotte O'Neil's Song' from 'Passengers' by Fiona Farrell Fiona Farrell wrote this poem as a result of events in the nineteenth century, where thousands of women escaped to New Zealand, away from their busy hardworking jobs to start new lives. Farrell used nineteenth-century ship records to discover the name, age and occupation of Charlotte O'Neil. The ship records showed that Charlotte O'Neil was a seventeen-year-old general servant travelling on the 'Isabella Hercus' in 1871. The poem has been formed from good use of imagination so that the reader can imagine what life was like for Charlotte O'Neil. The character, O'Neil in the poem is hardworking and seems to be always busy, for example, 'I polished your parquet floor, I scraped out your grate and I washed your plate and I scrubbed till my hands were raw' this shows that Charlotte O'Neil worked at the best standard that she possibly could. ...read more.


The poem suggests that Charlotte is not being treated well and that her life is very different to her master's, as the poem says 'you lay on a silken pillow, I lay on an attic cot.' This compares the rich and the poor and is just a small example of how different their life-styles were. The jobs that Charlotte had to do were not at all pleasant, for example 'I emptied your chamber pot.' This is a very low chore to give somebody and was possibly one of the worst jobs that a servant would have to do. Other jobs that Charlotte O'Neil had to do were simply everyday jobs, I've cleaned your plate and I've cleaned your house and I've cleaned the clothes that you wore.' ...read more.


The poor deserves the gate." The employer's attitude is obviously completely different to the servant's because of the fact that the servant is so poorly treated and ordered to do so many chores. The employer does not seem to take any notice of the servant's feelings and intends on living his/her life the way they want to, e.g. "you dined at eight and slept till late." Also the employer seems to think that the servant should be treated as poorly as this, "that's the way it should be, you said. That's the poor girl's lot!" which means that the employer obviously agrees that the rich should be treated better than the poor. The poem finishes with a line, which was already been used in the poem "and you can open your own front door." This suggests that she is never coming back and indicates that the servant shall never open the employer's front door again! ...read more.

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