'A Comparison of two poems about school'.

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Zara Baig 11/9 12th October 2002

‘A Comparison of two poems about school’

I am going to compare two poems, which portray different aspects of school life for children. The first poem that I will be analysing is “Leaving School”, written by ‘Hugo Williams’, this is basically about a child’s experience of starting school. The poem that I will compare to this is “Dear Mr Lee”, written by ‘U.A. Fanthorpe”, this poem is about the emotions of a pupil towards ‘Mr Lee’ (a writer). In order to identify various areas I shall be looking at content, style, language, theme and tone.

The content of “Leaving school” describes a brief summary of what starting boarding school is going to be like, also the poem starts with a lot of description “I was eight… wearing a grey flannel suit” this successfully sets the scene and gives the readers and indication of the child’s age.

                     The child has a lot of expectations of starting school such as ”I thought it was going to be fun”, the child expects the school to be ‘fun’ his brings back any memories he had of school when he was younger. This is also a sign of maturity and growing up his old experience is a contrast to his experiences now i.e. his previous less- stressful and less experience pressure of work. However now the teachers expect full concentration on work.

                      The child does feel lonely in he second stanza, “I’d read before like the Billy Goat Gruff books”, at this point the readers realise how children can be once they are isolated from the usual routine they used to have. This is done by how the child is speaking as if he is sill in his own school and nothing has changed. Acceptance is a big part learning to accept that you are in a school with new people and new rules is a difficult task to adapt. “Then I started saying nothing”, this quote shows lack of confidence and self-esteem it indicates while adapting in the environment a sense of loneliness and isolation comes into place.

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                  However “Dear Mr Lee” is about an older pupil’s experience at school. This poem is more mature and formal. The pupil has experiences of exams, which help him to increase his confidence and face challenges. The student criticizes his teacher’s and judges their personalities by the way they speak or act, “Mr Smart is roughly my least favourite person”, this is due to the fact that the child does not like English so much and finds doing ‘Shakespeare’, is a difficult task with all the type of languages he uses. ...

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