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Comparing Two Poems: Half-past Two by U A Fanthorpe and Leaving School by Hugo Williams

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Comparing Two Poems: Half-past Two by U A Fanthorpe and Leaving School by Hugo Williams In Half-past Two, U A Fanthorpe writes as a man reminiscing about how he had viewed 'time' as a child and recounting the moment when it had struck him he had to learn how to tell it. Hugo Williams' Leaving School is also one man's memories of childhood. This time it examines his first weeks at boarding school. Both poems set out to present childhood experiences in an interesting way. The first lines of the two poems manage to immediately strike your attention and set the tone of the whole poem. Half-past Two begins "Once upon a schooltime", which gives you the impression that the rest of the poem will be in quite a childish tone and also creates a kind of fairytale atmosphere. Leaving School starts off: "I was eight when I set out into the world wearing a grey flannel suit". ...read more.


Repetition is also used in this poem to show emphasis of certain themes and ideas. For example, the constant repetition of "time" in "gettinguptime, timeyouwereofftime, timetogohomenowtime, Tvtime" empasises the boy's misunderstanding of the concept as well as adding to the childish, conversational tone this poem shares with Leaving School. In the latter, Williams doesn't use as many obvious poetic techniques, but like Half-past Two, uses capital letters when they are not needed ("Inspection") to show how certain things are peculiarly significant to children. Both poems present the child in a similar way. In Half-past Two, the boy is timid ("he was too scared of being wicked to remind her"), and also seems to be quite dreamy and in a world of his own ("he escaped into the clockless land of ever"). The child in Leaving School appears to be shy and scared- the poet recounts how he "started saying nothing"- and also quite scatty: "Every day my name was read out because I'd forgotten to hang something up". ...read more.


The title, Leaving School, suggests an end of an era; a new beginning; escaping from rules and regulations. However, the actual poem isn't about literally 'leaving school'. In the last line of the poem, the narrator explains how he "was miles away, with my suitcase, leaving school". Of course, the child was dreaming, and "miles away" is meant metaphorically explaining how his daydreams were taking him far away from reality. The boy has had to grow up fast ("wearing a grey flannel suit"...), learn new responsibilities, and gradually gain independence. However, you get the impression that he doesn't want to grow up ("I liked all the waiting...but I didn't like the work") and therefore isn't having the best of times at his boarding school. Leaving School examines the issue of children being forced to become like adults and the detrimental effects this can have when the children in question are determined to act their age. As you can see, both poems suggest how it is possible to escape into a dreamworld and sometimes that is the only solution ...read more.

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