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How much of himself does Causley reveal in his poem 'Richard Bartlett'?

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Introduction

How much of himself does Causley reveal in his poem 'Richard Bartlett'? The poem "Richard Bartlett" by Seamus Causley discusses Causley's grandfather's death and, what effect the event had on him and his family. The fact that his death was ninety years before the writing of the poem, tells us that the incident certainly had a big impact on Causley. The poem does not only tell us about this man's death. Clever use of language allows him to also tell you something about the way in which he writes poetry. The poem is written from the voice of the newspaper and Causley's thoughts. The poem does not have and does not need an introduction - it immediately starts at the point when he reads the newspaper, which he describes it as being "singed". The fact that it is discoloured and that it is "ninety-year-old" tells us that it has been ninety year since this newspaper was published. Causley is talking about his "shadowed grandfather". He uses the word "shadowed" very cautiously, giving it two meanings. The shadow tells us that he didn't know him but, on the other side, also gives us the feeling that there is something not quite right about this and, in this case, it is because he died and he will be "greatly missed". ...read more.

Middle

There are several voltas in the poem, mostly before and after a quotation from the newspaper as the vocabulary and style change as the source changes. The use of language switches from being as if he's trying to find out something to a more formulaic style. There is also a volta after the first strophe as there is an elapse of time and there is a change of focus from the description of the man to the cause of death. There is also a volta after the second strophe as there is an obvious time elapse and another change of focus. The word "singed" does not only tell you that it is discoloured, it also gives the feeling of a very old newspaper, created by the long vowel. The list Causley gives to describe is very factual, flat sounding and has no emotion whatsoever. The article in the newspaper solidifies that idea as it is even more factual and holds even less emotional. The second strophe starts with something very contrasting to the rest of the poem, in order to show how dreadful the death actually was. The use of consonance and alliteration in "to split a stone" gives it a very sharp sound, causing imagery of this stone. ...read more.

Conclusion

Just like something went wrong with the stone-cutter, there will be times when there are things going wrong with the poet. He therefore is trying to get the message across that it is very hard work as a poet and, that the way to make a poem is by trial and error and, most importantly, hard practice. Even though the literal meaning of the poem is the grandfather's death, the idea of his grandfather is used to describe something more about himself. At the end of the poem, a direct link is made between Causley and Bartlett, telling the reader that a poet is just like a craftsman; hard work has to be implemented and frequent modifications have to be applied in order to get the ultimate result. As the poet reads more of the newspaper, the amount of emotion involved increases and so does his understanding of his grandfather. In the end of the poem, clever metaphors such as a "leper's life" are used to create this idea. This poem is very cleverly put together and, we should understand that this poem is not intended to give us more information about his grandfather but, to inform the reader about himself and the way in which he writes poetry. - Oscar van den Bosch 10G - 10/10/2002, English - Word Count: 1700 Oscar van den Bosch 10G "How much of himself does Causley reveal in his poem 'Richard Bartlett'?" Page 1 of 4 ...read more.

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