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The Spirit is Too Blunt An Instrument Anne Stevenson By Lwazi Mangwana & Michael Thomson.

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Presentation on theme: "The Spirit is Too Blunt An Instrument Anne Stevenson By Lwazi Mangwana & Michael Thomson."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Spirit is Too Blunt An Instrument Anne Stevenson By Lwazi Mangwana & Michael Thomson

2 The Poem The spirit is too blunt an instrument To have made this baby. Nothing so unskillful as human passions could have managed the intricate exacting particulars: the tiny blind bones with their manipulating tendons, the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae, the chain of the difficult spine.

3 Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent fingernails, the shell-like complexity of the ear, with its firm involutions concentric in miniature to minute ossicles. Imagine the infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments through which the completed body already answers to the brain.

4 Then name any passion or sentiment possessed of the simplest accuracy. No, no desire or affection could have done with practice what habit has done perfectly, indifferently, through the bodys ignorant precision. It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent love and despair and anxiety and their pain.

5 Dictionary Ganglia – bunches of nerve endings Involutions – curled structures Ossicles – small bones Infinitesimal – most tiny Capillaries – fine blood vessels Neural – of nerves Filaments – threads Vagaries – capricious fluctuations

6 Biography of Author Ann Stevenson was born in England in She was educated in Ann Arbor, Which is a large town in Michigan, where the largest part of the campus for the university of Michigan is located. Her father was professor of philosophy at the University of Michigan. Her fathers occupation had an effect on her life, and undoubtedly had an influence on the way she writes. After obtaining her bachelor's and master's degrees, and graduating with honours from Michigan, she moved to Great Britain where, claiming citizenship, she has lived for most of her life. Other Works Stone Milk A Lament for The Makers Granny Scarecrow Five Looks at Elizabeth Bishop Four and a Half Dancing Men

7 Analysis The spirit is too blunt an instrument to have made this baby The spirit could refer to human nature Blunt suggests something crude, dull or ineffective Humans couldn t possibly have created a baby Nothing so unskillful as human passions could have managed the intricate exacting particulars: Unskillful suggests something that is raw or uncultured about human emotions

8 the tiny blind bones with their manipulating tendons, the knee and the knucklebones, the resilient fine meshings of ganglia and vertebrae, the chain of the difficult spine The author is describing the baby in great detail. The language she uses paints a complex picture of the baby, and reinforces the idea that human passion could not have created such a complex being. Observe the distinct eyelashes and sharp crescent fingernails, the shell-like complexity of the ear, with its firm involutions concentric in miniature to minute ossicles. Here the poem focuses on describing the baby s features, again, in detail. The writers seems to be in a state of wonder at the complexity of the baby. She is comparing the babies ear to a shell. Shells can be richly patterned

9 Imagine the infinitesimal capillaries, the flawless connections of the lungs, the invisible neural filaments through which the completed body already answers to the brain There is a contrast between the previous lines because here the poet is describing the internal features of the baby instead of the external features. Again, there is a sense of awe and wonder at the intricacy of the babys body. Then name any passion or sentiment possessed of the simplest accuracy. These lines are saying that one cannot define or explain a human thought or emotion simply or particularly accurately.

10 No, no desire or affection could have done with practice what habit has done perfectly, indifferently, through the body s ignorant precision. habit could refer to evolution, where the process has been repeated over and over again till it s perfect. It is left to the vagaries of the mind to invent love and despair and anxiety and their pain. The baby is unconscious in the womb, and so is perfect until the mind becomes active. When this happens, the baby will no longer be perfect. It will inherit the flaws of the mind. This point is illustrated by the poem ends on a negative note (e.g.: despair ) to represent the loss of brilliance as the baby grows up.

11 Language There is no particular rhyme scheme. It is freeform and uses adjectives to create effect. She uses sometimes obscure medical terms to try and make the baby sound more special and complex. Whilst using plain words to describe the human spirit, e.g.: blunt, unskillful.

12 The poem ends rather poignantly with the word pain, in connection with the human mind to illustrate the darker and more vague nature of it on comparison toindifferent precision.

13 Response The poem is about the poets wonder at the creation of new life, its complexity and perfection. It uses a derogatory tone when talking about the mind and human nature to illustrate their imperfection and create a contrast. Themes: Wonder at the creation of life

14 Task Do you agree with the writers opinion of human nature and its ability to produce children? Justify your answer


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