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Simon Armitage likes to look at ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Discuss this view with reference to at least three poems.

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Introduction

Simon Armitage likes to look at ordinary things in an extraordinary way. Discuss this view with reference to at least three poems. All of Simon Armitage's poems in the Anthology have 'ordinary' subjects but Simon Armitage does not look at them from an ordinary point of view. This is as true of his account of a failed romantic gesture in "I Am Very Bothered" as it is of his view of a simple scene through new eyes in "Cataract Operation". Probably his most explicit expression of the wonder of ordinary things is contained in "It Ain't What You Do It's What It Does To You". In "I Am Very Bothered" Simon Armitage describes a schoolboy's prank in somewhat gruesome detail. The reader's initial impression is that the heating of the scissors is simple cruelty but by the end of the poem a completely different view emerges. that was just my butterfingered way, at thirteen of asking you if you would marry me. ...read more.

Middle

The final two lines of the poem express the mystery of human behaviour but do not attempt to explain it. Here's how they rated him when they looked back: Sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that. In "Cataract Operation" Simon Armitage looks at a very ordinary scene through fresh eyes. The title of the poem is interesting in that it could mean that the person speaking has just had a cataract operation to restore his or her sight, or that the poem is a cataract operation itself - an attempt to get readers to look at the world with fresh vision. Armitage uses a series of similes and metaphors to give a new twist to a simple scene. For instance, the hens pecking for food look like people looking for a contact lens, whereas the fan of a pigeon's tail feathers looks like a fan of cards in a conjuring trick. ...read more.

Conclusion

His language is also very simple, straightforward and direct. His "Cataract Operation" is unusual in its use of metaphors and similes as he is usually content to let the context give significance to individual words and phrases. For instance, in "I Am Very Bothered" the hot scissors leave rings on the victim's hands which are Marked, the doctor said, for eternity. These "eternity" rings are symbols of romantic commitment and anticipate the declaration of love that is to follow. In "It Ain't What You Do It's What It Does To You" Armitage uses physical sense impressions to convey a larger set of meanings. And I guess that the tightness in the throat and the tiny cascading sensation somewhere inside us are both part of that sense of something else. That feeling, I mean. "Poem" is unusual in its use of end-stopped lines; elsewhere Armitage uses run-on lines to give his poems an informal, conversational feeling. Simon Armitage's verse is consistently 'ordinary' in its subject matter but through his work there is a sense of mystery and wonder that makes the things he talks about far from ordinary. ...read more.

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