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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Essay length: 2775 words

Compare and contrast ‘Hide and Seek’ by Vernon Scannell and ‘Half-past Two’ by U. A. Fanthorpe

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Compare and contrast 'Hide and Seek' by Vernon Scannell and 'Half-past Two' by U. A. Fanthorpe 'Hide and Seek' concerns a boy hiding cautiously whilst playing hide and seek with his peers. Gradually, he realises he has been abandoned, and fear overcomes him due to being isolated in the dark surroundings. The tone is incredibly certain and positive at the beginning. However, his confidence gradually fades away as the realisation of his abandonment occurs. The mood is analogous to the tone. At first, we can sense the excitement. This modifies to anxiety and nervousness towards the end. The poet uses language methods to portray the tone. On the first line, exclamation marks are used to show the enthusiasm of the boy. Scannell uses personification and the senses to describe the surrounding atmosphere in a vivid way. Therefore, the reader gets a clearer image. Occasional rhyme is used to add a sense of rhythm to the poem. The poem is one continuous stanza. The dramatic monologue emphasises the unbearable length of waiting time. The child's character speaks directly to you, explaining feeling and thoughts. There are short sentences to build up tension and create stillness.


This accentuates the fact that children spend more time with fallacious ideas than in actual reality. Short sentences are used to build up tension. 'Don't breathe. Don't move. Stay dumb.' These sentences are said slower than the rest of the poem, creating a tense stillness. The pace slows down. Occasional rhyme is present in 'Hide and Seek'. 'Out, shout,' 'coat, throat.' A sense of rhythm is added to the poem. I think there are four main themes explored in the poem; childhood memories, isolation, abandonment, feeling unwanted and reflection. Reflection and childhood memories can be connected as the whole poem is about an adult reflecting on a childhood memory. This is proven by the fact that the whole of the poem is written in second person. 'You've never heard them sound so hushed before.' This is more personal than using 'he' or 'him.' Isolation is another theme. The innocent child doesn't think so, but for the whole of the poem, he is alone. In the positive part of the poem, he believes that his friends are outside, but close to him. 'They're moving closer, someone stumbles, mutters;' The child believes his friends are so close, he can even hear they're discreet actions, usually unnoticeable.


I think his parents and other carers in his life say these. The repetition of compound words creates a sense of rhythm. They seem to be said in a sing- song tone, emphasising the patronizing tone to the child because of his age. A patronizing tone is used previously towards the boy. 'He did Something Very Wrong.' The title case states the words that are emphasised. She thinks that if she uses a normal tone, the message won't get through to him. In the last stanza, we can sense the wistful tone of the narrator. 'Where time hides tick- less waiting to be born.' He wishes he could escape into this land where he isn't restricted by time, like most adults. The narrator shows bitterness by using a satirical and sarcastic tone. '(I forget what it was.)' This mocks the teacher by trying to show that she was making a big deal out of something insignificant. The mood in the poem is dreamy, especially when the boy escapes into the timeless zone. 'Beyond onceupona.' The mood emphasises his confusion by the unfamiliar concept of time. The dreamy mood is also indicated by the fairytale references. 'Once upon a schooltime.' The word 'time' is substituted for alternative words or none at all.

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