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Compare and contrast "Pneumoconiosis" and "He loved light, freedom and animals".

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Introduction

Huw Liddell 16/11/03 Compare and contrast "Pneumoconiosis" and "He loved light, freedom and animals" Both poems have a connection with coal mines. Pneumoconiosis is a disease caught in the mines by many coal miners, which affects the lungs. The background of "He loved light, freedom and animals" is about a mining disaster in Aberfan. A slag heap on the side of a mountain gave way and engulfed parts of the small town. "Pneumoconiosis" is written by Duncan Bush and is written in the first person, "But it's had forty years in me now" He talks as if it's happening to him. This is affective because we can relate with this character better by understanding what he is feeling and going through. Mike Jenkins wrote "He loved light, freedom and animals" as if he were an eyewitness to the disaster. Throughout the poem Mike Jenkins uses past tense to recall back to the moments like memories. "His scream was stopped mid-flight!" This gives us a clue about the father's denial throughout the poem, as he constantly recalls back to that day. "Pneumoconiosis" is an old man talking about the effects of the disease on his life. We know he's old man because he talks about this life. ...read more.

Middle

Take stanza three for instance. "When the tumour on the hillside burst and the black blood of coal drowned him, he ran forever with his sheepdog leaping for sticks, tumbling together in windblown abandon." Notice that the first three lines are associated with death, "tumour", "blood" and "drowned". The last couple of lines are about freedom and happiness, "ran forever" and "leaping". Therefore I find that the poet is trying to hide the fact that this boy died by remembering times while he was alive. This is affective because by trying to be positive it highlights the sadness of the father and the poem thus creating sympathy. To me the title of "Pneumoconiosis" makes me want to read the poem. I was curious to know what pneumoconiosis is because I never heard of it. The opening line immediately wanted me to read on. It is a short, blunt line, spaced out from the rest of the poem, "This is the dust," The "the" makes it more than just ordinary dust - something far more powerful. The following line also had an impression on me. "Black diamond dust." All of these words start with a hard sounding letter, giving a bitter sound to it. ...read more.

Conclusion

There is a good use of repetition at the beginning of the second stanza. "Buried alive - alive he is" This emphasises that he hasn't died. I get the feeling that the poet is in denial of this boy's death. Also the first line is almost a contradiction in terms. With "Pneumoconiosis" the poet brings up thoughts of death instead of life. Unlike "Pneumoconiosis", "He loved light, freedom and animals" has a lot more personification. This brings a descriptive element to the poem, which helps us understand it better. "Tumour on the hillside" This is effective because everybody knows that tumours are connected with death, and tumour is being used instead of slag heap. At the end of the poem, Mike Jenkins uses far more poetic techniques than Duncan Bush. He uses more personification, alliteration and run-on lines. To me this makes it a better read because it's more enjoyable and creates better imagery in my mind. After studying both poems I preferred "Pneumoconiosis" to "He loved light, freedom and animals" because I felt more sympathy towards the old man than to the father. Although "He loved light, freedom and animals" had more poetic techniques and descriptive writing, I found that the lack of them in "Pneumoconiosis" added to the affect of sympathy to the old man. I also found that Duncan Bush had conveyed the character of an old man extremely well and affective. ...read more.

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