• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Commentary on poem "Two Hands"

Extracts from this document...


Anandita Puri Commentary: "Two Hands" There are various familial relationships that most of us would often take for granted. Jon Stallworthy, for example, highlights that of a father and son in his poem, "Two Hands". Throughout his depiction of these two characters, he emphasizes how two people who seem so similar, and are supposed to be intimate or close by default, can be almost alien to each others' personalities and emotions. Several techniques, such as diction, themes and structure are utilized to portray the contrast between father and son. In "Two Hands", there are two main characters present: the son, who also narrates the text, and his father. The reader can depict the father to be a surgeon, or at least have a profession in the field of medicine, because of the use of terms such as "scalpel" or "lancet", as well as expression like "fingers that have stitched new life". In contrast, the same 'two hands' of the son have been utilized in a rather contrasting way; that of the field of literature. We can deduce this from his "fingers [that have] some style on paper." Furthermore, there is no mention of any other characters in this poem, which can portray the significance of his father to the narrator, or even display how much he truly needs a father who is too preoccupied with his career. ...read more.


This tone of abandonment informs the readers of the son's feelings of insecurity and inferiority in front of his father, while all alone he tries only to be close to him. In a poem, the structure and topography play an extremely crucial role in the way a readers depicts the writing. Stallworthy has laid out "Two hands" in one long stanza, with a great deal of enjambment as well. This implies run-on thoughts, as well as providing a tone of overall reminiscence to the text. The lack of a concise structure gives the effect of thoughts being haphazardly thrown onto paper, in whichever order they may occur. Moreover, this style makes it seem like a story is being told. This is useful in depicting the character of the narrator, as well as provides the impression that he is writing a biography on his father. Once again, the line, "Hand, you may have your chance to stitch a life for fingers that have stitched new life for many," reveals the narrator's intentions. Where 'stitching a life' means writing a book to the son, to the father the very same phrase has a more literal meaning; that of saving a life, perhaps in surgery. ...read more.


These two models illustrate the father as extremely hard working and skilled in his field of work. In contrast, an expression like "The phone has sobbed itself to sleep" highlights an extremely striking image of a young boy trying to cry himself to bed. It provides a saddening effect on the reader, and also emphasizes the lack of emotion in the father. It is almost as if the situation is so depressing that even inanimate objects are crying out in sheer desperation. Finally, the son's confusion and uncertainty is represented through the symbol of his hands, "whose indecisions keep [him] cursing nightly; fingers with some style on paper, elsewhere none." He is perplexed by his current situation where his own hands seem so worthless in comparison to that of his fathers', which leaves him in an unknowing state. In general, Stallworthy utilizes various poetic devices in order to provide the simple of contrast between the father and son. The "Two Hands" signify that of the sons', which seem so insignificant relative to his fathers', who have saved so many lives through what can be called a graceful art. His inferiority, loneliness and helplessness are highlighted throughout the text, through the symbol of the two hands. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Languages section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Languages essays

  1. Fasting Feasting by Anita Desai Detailed Study Notes

    Uma is able to take herself to another world, but is brought back down from that world by Mira-masi who wakes her up by saying things such as "'The Lord has...chosen you for Himself", and waking her up to the reality that she cannot leave.

  2. English Commentary

    The second paragraph continues with abrupt sentences but adds exclamations to put the reader directly in the novel's current setting. Here the rain imagery affects the reader such that wetness is felt along with the distortion rain brings. The protagonist, Pi is crying the name Richard Parker repeatedly emphasising the desperation and vitality he is experiencing.

  1. Parachute and Otherwise Poem Commentary

    It also gives the parachute man a sign of relief and calmness from the thrilling experience when diving. In the second to last stanza the Earth itself is also personified in the poem, The Earth travels in orbit, it does not know where to go, which is similar to the

  2. Comparative Commentary on two Texts about Science

    What the two texts do have in common as regards to imagery is that neither has extenced imagery.

  1. Keats Journal

    In "Ode on a Grecian Urn", Keats utilizes ambiguity to display his feelings about death and love. The sense of ambiguity comes from the narrator representing Keats' own life and the images on the urn. The images are directed to a point of synthesis on the emotional suffering of Keats' inability to be close to someone he loves.

  2. The Canonization - Commentary

    Wastes no time in presenting plot of the poem, as first line is 'For God's sake..' line significant as reader automatically understands the character wants others to leave him alone and let him love who he chooses to. First line requires a lot of emphasis and is often stressed and forceful, creating dramatic opening to poem.

  1. All My Sons Reading Journal

    In this act he is not passing on more marriage experience, but shown comforting a distressed Kate, and using his wisdom, he tells her that "we all come back. These private revolutions always die. The compromise is always made", assuring her that Chris will eventually come back to them.

  2. Commentary on Two hands

    no one, dance with this pencil" hints at resentment as if the son feels inferior to his 'life saving' father since he is 'only' a poet. He says that he is only good for writing, not for saving lives or helping people.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work