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Compare and contrast the two poems ‘Slough’ and ‘No More Hiroshimas’

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the two poems 'Slough' and 'No More Hiroshimas' In this essay, I will aim to compare and contrast the two poems Slough by John Betjeman and No More Hiroshimas by James Kirkup. In the poem Slough, the poet urges bombers to destroy Slough. He feels the town has no value - 'mess up the mess they call a town' and that men who profit from cramped housing conditions deserve to be punished. The poet thinks that not everyone is to blame - 'spare the bald young clerks' - but has the opinion that having eaten too much artificial food, the humans in this town have become artificial themselves. In the final verse, the poet states the earth would be put to better use planting cabbages. The poem No More Hiroshimas is similar to Slough in that it is about bombs, but here the atom bomb has already fallen. ...read more.

Middle

There is also a cynical tone to be found in parts of No More Hiroshimas - 'Here atomic peace is geared towards the tourist trade'. However, in contrast to the poem Slough, the tone changes as we move through the poem. Initially the tone is one of hesitation and then amazement - 'It might be anywhere'. The poet was obviously expecting a scene of devastation or respectful remembrance. The description of the city centre conveys a feeling of a busy but empty city centre - 'Long, wide empty official boulevard', 'the corridors deserted', 'the tidy waste'. In the final four stanzas of the poem, the tone changes to sorrow and respect - 'The ones that made me weep', 'They are the memorials we need'. The poem Slough uses negative imagery throughout the poem. Repeating the word tinned in the second verse, conveys the idea that the people in Slough are eating artificial food and have consequently become artificial themselves. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the sixth stanza, the poet comments on what he has found in Hiroshima. In the final four verses, the imagery centres on death, but this is somehow comforting to the poet and reader. He is now re-assured that people have not forgotten the dead - 'They are the memorials we need'. Slough is written as a rhyming poem in verses of four lines. The short rhyming style supports the cynical humour of the poem. In contrast, No More Hiroshimas, is written in free verse, which is perhaps more suited to the mood of this poem. Both these poems wish to convey a message to the reader. In Slough, the poet has no hopes for the future of the town and feels that a completely new start is necessary, in No More Hiroshimas, the message is more of a warning. If we forget what happened when the bomb fell on Hiroshima, it might happen again. The poet uses assonance in the final two lines of the poem to stress the message- 'Remember only these They are the memorials we need' ?? ?? ?? ?? Adam Bostock ...read more.

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