Presentation on theme: "‘One Flesh’ Elizabeth Jennings"— Presentation transcript:
1 ‘One Flesh’ Elizabeth Jennings LO) To explore how Jennings uses structure and linguistic features to describe the autumn years of a relationship.
2 BackgroundElizabeth Jennings was a well-educated English woman who worked in publishing and as a librarian.She was born in 1926 and died in 2002She devoted much of her poetry to spiritual and emotional topics of a personal nature.She explored suffering, relationships, loneliness and religious faith.
3 One Flesh What is it about? Read the poem once and then listen to the poem. One Flesh = Elizabeth JenningsWhat do you think the poem is about?One Flesh
4 ThemeIn this poem, Elizabeth explores the nature of a marriage relationship in old age. It is very personal as she is dealing with her parents.The title of the poem comes from the description in the bible of two people becoming one flesh in marriage. The word ‘one’ stands for their physical unity and the poet’s link to her parents as she observes and thinks about them.Elizabeth Jennings ponders how her mother and father’s traditional marriage has ended in silence and physical separation: ‘silence between them’
6 Shows the gulf between the couple Contrast between light and dark, Showing how different the coupleNot happy, wishing for the pastLying apart now, each in a separate bed, He with a book, keeping the light on late, She like a girl dreaming of childhood, All men elsewhere - it is as if they wait Some new event: the book he holds unread, Her eyes fixed on the shadows overhead Heroic couplet (iambic pentameter + couplet) helps to reinforce their binding marriage – structure of this juxtaposes with lack of rhythm before, reinforcing their separateness.Neither of them are talking, he has the book “unread” not really interested. She stares at “the shadows overhead” . They are both not just sleeping in separate beds but living apart. There is nothing between them – no communication.
7 Flotsam – wreckage floating in the sea Flotsam – wreckage floating in the sea. Shows that this is all that is left after their passion as a younger coupleShows a loss of the passion of youth, it has faded from their lives.Expresses powerful emotion previously feltTossed up like flotsam /from a former passion, How cool they lie. They hardly ever touch, Or if they do, it is like a confession Of having little feeling - or too much. Chastity faces them, a destination For which their whole lives were a preparation.Their life before was “passionate” but that is now lostReligious words, show that they keep to their vows even if unhappyline 7: ‘Tossed up like flotsam’ is an image of abandonment and ‘passion left far behind’ expresses the powerful emotion that was previously felt.Chastity = not having sex (sexual abstinence)
8 Sibilance - repetition of the s sound - emphasises the silence in a house where the elderly inhabitants don’t converse anymoreRepetition, suggests it is not how things should be.Strangely apart, yet strangely close together, Silence between them like a thread to hold And not wind in. And time itself's a feather Touching them gently. Do they know they're old, These two who are my father and my mother Whose fire from which I came, has now grown cold?Simile, their connection is weak, not as strong as in a younger couple.Metaphor, The gradual unnoticed effects of time are compared to the touch of a ‘feather’Contrast The image of fire is contrasted to coldness. Thus, the poem compares love in youth to separateness in old age.Conveys unusual in their distance & proximity; implies awkward relationship emphasised by commaSibilance = ‘s’ or ‘sh’ sounds close together
9 Rhyme The rhyme scheme in stanza 1 and 2 is ababaa Gives the poem a steady, repetitive feel. There are 10 beats per line which make it sound monotonous like the couples marriage.In stanza 3 it changes to ababab .This is where the poet reveals the identity of herself and the old couple.
10 Tone The poem sounds depressing The couple are unhappy The poet sounds regretful that this is what has become of her parents.Would you agree with this? Why/why not?
11 The simile is effective because their relationship has become a wreck The simile is effective because their relationship has become a wreck. They haven’t got much to hold on to.
12 This simile is effective because it’s like they have done something wrong. Guilt over the flaws in their marriage (their lack of physical connection)This simile is effective because the ‘thread’ suggests that their marriage has become weak. ‘To hold’ suggests desperation to make it work.This metaphor is effective because ‘feather’ suggests it’s soft, fragile and delicate like their marriage.This metaphor is effective because it shows that they once had a really strong passionate marriage in which their child was born.
13 Over to you How do you think the parents would respond? Do you think they would agree with how their daughter sees their lives.Write down the parents response, using evidence from the text.What is your personal response to the poem?Remember you will need to write about this for every poem studied!
14 ComparisonWhich poem that we have studied so far would you compare One Flesh to?Choose one other poem that we have studied and write down the similarities and differences between them.
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