The poems I am comparing in this essay are 'Half-past two' and 'Reports' by U.A. Fanthorpe and 'Leaving school' by Hugo Williams.

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20th Century Poetry comparison

The poems I am comparing in this essay are ‘Half-past two’ and  ‘Reports’ by U.A. Fanthorpe and ‘Leaving school’ by Hugo Williams.

All three of the poems are about school, and about the different aspects of it. There are several points of view expressed in the poems, such as that of a teacher, the confusion of a child starting boarding school, and a child who cannot tell the time.

In the poem ‘Half-past two’, the poem tells of a child who, after being told off as been told to stay inside until half-past two and then he can go. To the dismay and confusion of the child, he cannot tell the time and so wonders what to do when and if, half-past two ever came. In this poem, the style is very much that of a child speaking firsthand to himself and thinking in his head. The poem begins with ‘Once upon a…’ which is a harsh cliché of old fairytales of which the majority of them started in this way. In the first paragraph, as he is so young he did ‘something very wrong’ but then carries on to say that he had forgotten what it was that he had done to deserve his punishment.

At the end of the lines in the first verse, there is no punctuation so that the reader doesn’t pause and is forced to carry on reading to reach the end of the sentence, and enable them to have a pause. This is written just how a child would tell a story, by not taking a pause until the most important bit of a story is told. When the child speaks of phrases that he hears often, they are written as, ‘Gettinguptime, timeyouwereofftime.’ As the child cannot tell the time, he classes these as ways to tell the time.

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U.A. Fanthorpe attempts to recreate the voice and thoughts of the child by describing a clock as having ‘little eyes’ and ‘two long legs for walking’ meaning the hands of the clock.

In the 8th verse, the deliberate repetition of the opening words of each line ‘Into the’ are used to suggest a change of mood. The longer lines suggest how his mind escapes and his imagination starts to unwind. This contrasts with the other verses and situation.

When the child writes about his teacher, he uses capitals when addressing ‘Her’. U.A. Fanthorpe has done this to show how ...

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