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A naughty, naughty man..  What’s it about?  Is it an allegory?  Are there inferences/references to anything other than suburban decay?  What does.

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Presentation on theme: "A naughty, naughty man..  What’s it about?  Is it an allegory?  Are there inferences/references to anything other than suburban decay?  What does."— Presentation transcript:

1 A naughty, naughty man.

2  What’s it about?  Is it an allegory?  Are there inferences/references to anything other than suburban decay?  What does it tell us about James K Baxter as a poet?  What does it tell us about James K Baxter as a person?

3  The couple: National Mum and Labour Dad.  Mum lives in the past (“Mum takes down the family files…”).  Dad lives in his own world (“Dad sits and reads the Sporting Page/Then ambles out in boots of lead”). Gardening is his solace/escape.  Dad has been unfaithful with a neighbour. Mum will never forget (…he/Will get no sugar in his tea).  Their children and grandchildren visit on Saturdays.

4  One of the grandchildren “ploughs down” one of Dad’s prized irises. Dad overreacts (“Dad himself can go to town”).  The grandchild’s parents soothe things down and leave.  The daughter and her husband are self- satisfied, overweight and opinionated (“Daughter Alice, fat and loud”; “Stuff their tripes with trained endurance”).  The two old people are left to their “fouled nest” when everyone has gone.

5  Baxter then delivers his scathing commentary on them and their lives. He goes from subtly undermining their lives by observing them, to giving his outright opinion.  “Habit, habit clogs them dumb” What the…?  “The Sacred Heart above the range…”

6  A pagan reference: “Yin and Yang will never meet”. What is Baxter trying to say here?  Why the repetition: “In Calvary Street, in Calvary Street”?  So… is it an allegory? The definition of allegory is “a symbolic work; a work in which the characters and events are to be understood as representing other things and symbolically expressing a deeper, often spiritual, moral or political meaning.”

7  Spiritual  Moral  Political  Social?  As a person, this reflects James K Baxter’s despair with the decay he associates with suburbia. This relates closely to his affinity with Maori culture and way of life.

8  In Baxter’s words, the poet “should remain as a cell of good living in a corrupt society, and in this situation by writing and example attempt to change it”.  One way in which he has attempted to do this is by exposing what he sees as the emptiness of suburban life.  “The elegance of his poetry is what makes the poem effective as a piece of social commentary.” Really? What do you think?

9 LLook back at the poem “High Country Weather”. In comparing the Baxter of these two poems, what is he saying about what he values?


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