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  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: English
  • Document length: 1064 words

Refer to D.H. Lawrence's 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' and B. Patten's 'Dead Thick.' Compare and contrast where appropriate. In your concluding comments, say which you prefer and why.

Extracts from this essay...

Introduction

English Coursework Task: Refer to D.H. Lawrence's 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' and B. Patten's 'Dead Thick.' Compare and contrast where appropriate. In your concluding comments, say which you prefer and why. 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' and 'Dead Thick' are to poems by D.H Lawrence and Brian Patten respectively. 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' expresses a mood of bitter desperation at the thanklessness of an English teachers' work and details his thoughts as he yearns for the conclusion of the lesson. He conveys his thoughts in a unique and entertaining way. Patten also uses an English teacher as his subject in 'Dead Thick'. The teacher is very hypocritical and seems to be answering a series of questions. The title 'Dead Thick' illuminates the teachers' ironic lack of intelligence as a teacher and his lack of passion is evident. In 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' the teachers weariness, 'I can haul them and urge them no more' and negative state of mind, 'No longer now can I endure the brunt of the books...'

Middle

He is also very obstinate saying, 'If I have to' suggesting that reading a book is a chore. He seems disinterested in books as he says he has read 'A few but nothing new' and he also seems dismissive 'Too busy for literature.' Both of the poets are indifferent towards the children and their job. In 'Last lesson of the afternoon' the changing emotions indicate his belief that this is a vocation, he knows that he is, 'supposed to care with all [his] might.' In 'Dead Thick' this belief is not there, he thinks that teaching is just a job not a vocation and he makes clear the lack of care he appears to take in his job. Both poems are also different structurally as 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' has irregular rhythm and consciousness, which supports Lawrence's style of self-questioning. The mixture of end rhyme 'Hunt/Brunt' between stanzas one and two; half rhyme 'Point/Aunt' in stanza five and integral rhyme 'Won't/Don't' in stanza six, together skilfully bind Lawrence's thoughts together.

Conclusion

the 'Quarry' - the intended prey, the implication of being that is a matter of survival of the fittest in the classroom! Or, to 'Quarry' for knowledge means to extract facts laboriously from books which is ironic as these children have no interest in books and all that they offer is a 'Scrawl/Of slovenly work.' Patten's poem is more modern and conversational but less poetic and formal. It is colloquial in that 'Nothing's grabbed my fancy' and 'I haven't kept up with the modern stuff.' This is effective because it shows the teachers laziness in writing which is ironic because he is an English teacher. There is no real imagery in 'Dead Thick' we just get a sense that it is an interview 'What do I do? Teach. English. It's exhausting.' And the teacher is the person being interviewed. To conclude, I prefer 'Last Lesson of the Afternoon' because it is more poetic and more formal. It is more structured than 'Dead Thick,' which is a more colloquial and contains more relaxed language.

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