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How does U.A. Fanthorpe create different personalities within the poems 'Not My Best side' and 'Old Man, Old Man'?

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Introduction

How does U.A.Fanthorpe create different personalities within the poems 'Not My Best side' and 'Old Man, Old Man'? 'Not My Best Side' and 'Old Man, Old Man', both by U.A.Fanthorpe, create different personalities and changes within these throughout the poems. Fanthorpe uses humour, different styles of language, imagery and stereotypes to put her point across. 'Not My Best Side' is based on Uccello's painting from the Renaissance period, of St. George and the Dragon. Fanthorpe has in many ways reversed the personalities portrayed in the picture, and used modern stereotypes to show how hard it is to break out of stereotypes created by society. 'Old Man, Old Man' focuses more on change. It uses the stereotypes of an old man and a successful businessman. A narrator, who can be taken to be the old man's daughter, tells the poem 'Old Man, Old Man'. The poem uses imagery and different poetic techniques to strengthen the imagery and personalities. One of the main techniques used in both poems is enjambment. In 'Not My Best Side' it involves the reader and encourages them to guess what is about to happen. Alternatively, in 'Old Man, Old Man' it creates an element of confusion, giving the reader an in-sight into the old man's feelings. 'Now you ramble / In your talk around London districts, fretting / At how to find your way from Holborn to Soho.' This highlights the confusion an old man is feeling as he begins to forget things that were once well known, and realises he is not as independent as he once was. ...read more.

Middle

The dragon comes across very differently in the poem, he appears to be shy and self-conscious shown in the first line by 'Not my best side, I'm afraid'. The dragon is more of a victim than the maiden, being victimised by the knight (having killed him) and the artist (having cut off two of his legs!). However he seems to sympathise with the artist as he refers to him as 'Poor chap' perhaps because he also sees the artist as a victim due to his inability in painting. The dragon is actually a kind character and can not sympathise with the ostentatious people in society namely the knight, 'Why, I asked myself, should my conqueror / Be so ostentatiously beardless,' I think the dragon is also jealous of the knight and would rather be popular without having to fulfil history. The dragon knows his destiny, death, and knows there is no escape, however it is made clear that he would rather die after a fight and by a more dangerous looking knight. The maiden is also definitely not a victim, 'It's hard for a girl to be sure if / She wants to be rescued.' She is very forward and knows her own mind and we can see that she didn't really want to be rescued. She states how she 'didn't much fancy him' (the knight) and preferred to know what equipment she was getting at a glance. Through this Fanthorpe is contrasting modern society and the traditional mythical roles. However, even though the maiden is against being rescued, Fanthorpe shows how, even though women are more dominant and opinionated than in ...read more.

Conclusion

As her father grows old, he needs his daughter's help and can no longer run his own life, let alone a business, efficiently. The daughter has waited her whole life to be able to do something for her father and it is only in his old age she is allowed to do so. Within both poems there are many contrasts and comparisons between characters. I think Fanthorpe has managed to create the different characters extremely well through many different methods. She has incorporated poetic techniques to make characters and their feelings stand out, and language to show how personalities have developed. Humour is used to make 'Not My Best Side' enjoyable whilst putting across a serious point of view, and imagery to bring 'Old Man, Old Man' to life. As well as the different stereotypes employed, Fanthorpe has used the relationships between characters to create many strongly formed personalities within the poems. I think my favourite poem out of the two is 'Not My Best Side', purely because of the humour and the light-hearted way of conveying a serious point. I also feel I can identify better with it because it covers many common, modern day issues, which have affected me more than the effects of old age. I feel that Fanthorpe, in both poems, has made a lasting impression on the reader. The humour of 'Not My Best Side, has certainly moved me, and I admire the ingenuity of taking a picture and changing the personalities of the characters. Fanthorpe adds depth to 'Old Man, Old Man' by subtly suggesting the old man's confusion on a level below the everyday situations. In this way the poem conveys the difficult changes of ageing in a touching manner. Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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