Explore how Porter comments on life in A Consumers Report. Use examples from the poem to support your answer.

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Explore how Porter comments on life in ‘A Consumer’s Report’. Use examples from the poem to support your answer.

Peter Porter opens his poem ‘A Consumer’s Report’ with the statement that ‘the name of the product I tested is Life’, implying that the ‘product’ which his poem describes is life in itself. The poem opens in the form of a product review, hinting that Porter believes life to be considered a product by many, and that the poem mimics a report in which people ‘review’ life as a product. The title ‘A Consumer’s Report’ suggests that the poet believes that many people detach themselves from the value of life, hence the bland description of their review, which is simply labelled a ‘report’. Porter maintains the sustained metaphor of life being a product throughout the whole poem in order to comment on people’s perception of life as a whole.

Porter first comments on life as ‘[having] it as a gift’, suggesting that he himself did not choose to live life, and comments on the spontaneous nature of life in which people are not able to choose what kind of life they will live in. He also carries on with ‘I didn’t feel much while using it’, suggesting that many people may not value their life while they are still living out the beginnings of it, and Porter gives evidence for this by suggesting that ‘I’d have liked to be more excited’ about receiving the product of life.  Porter continues his sustained metaphor of life being a product when he describes it as ‘leaving an embarrassing deposit behind’, commenting on how actions that people take in life will lead to consequences. Porter also mentions that ‘the instructions are fairly large’, another likely suggestion that in life many things can be done, and therefore it is hard to follow the ‘right’ way of doing things, evidence which is given for when he continues with ‘I don’t know which to follow, especially as they seem to contradict each other’. This may hint at the vastly different beliefs, traditions and customs of different people that are all living, making it hard for him to live out his life properly.

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Another comment given on life is that ‘It’s difficult to think of a purpose for it’, hinting that the poet himself struggles to think of reason that the product of life is necessary, and carries on to suggest that ‘it’s just to keep its maker in the job’. Porter describes the product having ‘things…piling up so fast’, indication that life is full of events that we may find hard to handle, and the purpose of the product is once again questioned when he states ‘After all, the world got by…without us, do we need it now?’. There is also a ...

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