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Education for Leisure

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The poem 'Education for Leisure' by Carol Ann Duffy features an enigmatic character whose personality is gradually revealed throughout the poem. The poem explores a character disillusioned with the education system under Thatcher rule and the detrimental effect this has on the individual. The poet's clever structure and use of language help reveal to the reader the psychopathic, egotistical and deluded nature of this character which in turn helps augment the reader's understanding of the main theme isolation and the failure of the education system. The poet reveals to the reader at the very beginning of the poem the character's egotistical nature through the very first line: 'Today I am going to kill something. Anything.' The bold and blunt minor sentence 'Anything' is used by Duffy to make the reader take notice of the strange personality of the persona which is emphasised by the short minor sentence, heightening the impact. ...read more.


She then furthers this by revealing to the reader the persona's intelligence, heightening the impact of his deluded and enigmatic nature and his potential danger to society. Furthermore, Duffy conveys the personas psychopathic nature through the structure of the poem; she uses little enjambement throughout the poem, giving the poem and the character's thoughts an ordered and methodical feel, adding to the sinister tone. This is emphasised through the use of dramatic monologue; the free verse gives the reader an insight into the persona's inner thoughts and stream of consciousness. Duffy deliberately employs this structure to emphasise the persona's psychopathic nature to the reader. In my opinion, Duffy chooses to end the poem on a cliff hanger: 'I touch your arm' to heighten the impact of the sinister tone. ...read more.


The oxymoron 'boredom stirring' is employed by Duffy to emphasise the persona's enigmatic nature which is then furthered by the contrasting last line. The persona's desire to be noticed is also conveyed through his delusions of grandeur: 'he's talking to a superstar'. This deluded statement is reinforced throughout the poem: 'they don't appreciate my autograph'. Duffy here successfully furthers the sense of isolation through the persona's delusions of grandeur and also recapitulates the character's enigmatic and psychopathic nature. In conclusion, Duffy conveys and develops the persona's enigmatic, egotistical and psychopathic nature through clever structure and language. In my opinion, Duffy successfully augments the reader's understanding of the themes isolation and the failure of the education system through the development of the character's disturbing aspects and also encourages the reader to consider these themes in a wider context. ...read more.

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