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Consumer’s Report By Peter Porter

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1 Consumer’s Report By Peter Porter
Done by Joel Zanon and Storm Strydom

2 The name of the product I tested is Life,
I have completed the form you sent me and understand that my answers are confidential. I had it as a gift, I didn’t feel much while using it, in fact I think I’d have liked to be more excited. It seemed gentle on the hands but left an embarrassing deposit behind. It was not economical and I have used much more than I thought (I suppose I have about half left but it’s difficult to tell) – although the instructions are fairly large there are so many of them I don’t know which to follow, especially as they seem to contradict each other. I’m not sure such a thing should be put in the way of children – it’s difficult to think of a purpose Also the price is much too high. Things are piling up so fast, after all, the world got by for a thousand million years without this, do we need it now? (Incidentally, please ask your man

3 to stop calling me ‘the respondent’, I don’t like the sound of it.)
There seems to be a lot of different labels, sizes and colours should be uniform, the shape is awkward, it’s waterproof but not heat resistant, it doesn’t keep yet it’s very difficult to get rid of: Whenever they make it cheaper they seem to put less in – if you say you don’t want it, then it’s delivered anyway. I’d agree it’s a popular product, it’s even got into the language; people even say they’re on the side of it. Personally I think it’s overdone, a small thing people are ready to behave badly about. I think we should take it for granted. If its experts are called philosophers or market researchers or historians, we shouldn’t care. We are the consumers and the last law makers. So finally, I’d buy it. But the question of a ‘best buy’ I’d like to leave until I get the competitive product you said you’d send.

4 Biography of Peter Porter
Poet Peter Porter was born in Brisbane, Australia in He moved to London in 1951 and worked in bookselling and advertising before becoming a freelance writer and broadcaster in 1968. His background in advertising clearly influences this poem. London has been an important base for the development of Porter's poetry and literary journalism. He met Shirley Jannice Henry in 1958 and they married in They had two daughters born in 1962 and Jannice committed suicide in In 1991 Porter married Christine Berg. His wife’s suicide may be the cause to his cynical outlook on life. In 2004 he was one of the nominees for the prestigious position of Professor of Poetry at Oxford University.

5 Analysis/interpretation
The title refers to a report that a consumer is filling out on a product. In this case the product is life. In the poem the style is similar to a report, the first 16 lines or so sound like entries in boxes on a form. Consumer’s Report is generally about a man’s report on life. The poem is an extended metaphor which compares life to products that are consumed. It is a satire criticizing the capitalist state of society. The poem, written in 1939, has relevance to society in which we live in today. Themes: Life, disadvantages of life, report, philosophical. Mood: Purposeless, formal, skeptical, slightly and humorous. My personal response is it is good as it comments on lifes actualities.


7 Line by Line Analysis The first stanza is ripping off/poking fun at life as if it is something you can buy. Ironic that he says “my answers are confidential” but he tells us anyway. The second stanza is one long stanza with no particular rhyme scheme. First line refers to life as if it is a gift he has received. Second and third line says that he has no feeling in life and is not satisfied by it. Fourth line refers to life being compared to a product. He adds humour by comparing life to soap. Fifth line refers to the embarrassing moments in life that cannot be forgotten. Sixth line refers to life being expensive and draining. Seventh, eighth and ninth lines refer to how he is older than he thought and how life goes to fast.

8 Tenth to thirteenth lines refer to religion as being instructions to follow. He also says they are confusing, life doesn’t make sense. Fifteenth line refers to how certain products should be kept out of the reach of children. Metaphor of life being a harmful product. Sixteenth line refers to how life has no purpose. Seventeenth repeats how life is expensive. Eighteenth line refers to how life’s collectable objects build up over time. Nineteenth to twenty- first lines refer to how for millions of years the Earth has got by without human life, the poet feels that life isn’t necessary now. Twenty-second to the twenty-fourth lines makes it seem as if the company who made the product has written a letter to the tester in which he has been addressed as a respondent. Twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth lines refer to how there are stereotypes in life. Twenty-seventh and twenty-eighth refers to how the human body is waterproof, not fire resistant and doesn’t last/doesn’t take care of itself.

9 Twenty-ninth line refers to how life is hard to dispose of.
Thirtieth and thirty-first line refers to how parents don’t seem to put enough time into their children. They put less into the life they have created. Thirty-second line refers to how you have no choice to live life. Thirty-third line refers to how life is lived by many people. Thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth lines refer to how life is universal and how many people love it. Thirty-sixth line gives the poets own opinion on how life is overrated. Thirty-seventh and thirty-eighth lines refer to how life is a small thing and many people are making a fuss over life. Thirty-ninth line refers to how he thinks life should be taken for granted, it is not something significant to be appreciated. Fortieth to Forty-third lines refer to life being compared to a product. Porter tells we can live life as we want, we are the law makers and the consumers. The last three lines are his opinion on life as a product, he tells us he would live it, but he would rather have something to compare it to before he says that this life is the best life. It also shows that consumers in this society are never satisfied and are on a constant pursuit on something better.

10 Language and Structure
The poem has two stanzas, one seems to be a short prelude explaining what his poem is about. There is no rhyme scheme, no traditional structure. No regular rhythm or metre. The language is informal, modern for it’s time. It is not typical of earlier century language. There seems to be rather normal and everyday word choice in the poem, this gives the impression of an informal monologue or a conversation.

11 Task Name 10 disadvantages of life that the writer complains about.
Not satisfying Price is too high Embarrassing deposit left behind Too many instructions Goes by too quickly Doesn’t keep Not heat resistant No choice to live life Difficult to get rid of Not exciting

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