Presentation on theme: "Basking Shark Annotation of Poem"— Presentation transcript:
1Basking Shark Annotation of Poem Learning Intention:I can show my analysis of a poem through annotation of the text
2Poet’s Main IdeaThis poem depicts the startling encounter MacCaig had with a Basking Sea.Basking sharks are one of the largest species of the shark family, in fact they are the second largest species of any fish, reaching sizes in excess of ten metres and weighing several tonnes.They are harmless filter feeders, having no true teeth, and as such pose no real danger to humans. Still, a surprise close encounter with a creature of that size would be unnerving, particularly if close enough to touch the oars of a small boat, as happened to MacCaig.
3Basking sharks in the uk Every year, holidaymakers flock to the coastline in the hope of seeing these enigmatic sharks for themselves.Reaching lengths of up to 12m, Basking Sharks are the largest fish in British waters and the second largest in the world after the Whale Shark.One of only three plankton-feeding shark species, these gentle giants re-appear in our coastal waters each spring and summer.
4Theme of poemThis encounter sparked in him a reflection on the comparative paths of evolution such differing species took: basking sharks on the one hand, relatively unchanged for millions of years, and humans on the other, vastly changed since the days when marine life first crawled ashore and adapted to a life on land.This train of thought leads to a disturbing question: who is the monster? Is it the shark, literally monstrous in size and aspect to the human; or is it the poet himself, representative of the human race and all the dark, monstrous deeds of which our race is capable?The thought remains with the poet, unresolved, as the shark swims off.
5StructureThis poem is set out in five stanzas, each of three lines, and each line being end-rhymed with the others in the stanza. The meter of the poem is also fairly regular: the first two lines of each stanza have five stressed syllables, while the final one has four. The effect of the final shorter stressed line is to create a sense of fitting closure to the stanza.In this poem the tightness of structure serves to encapsulate the uniqueness of the experience, and the regularity of rhythm and rhyme matches the rhythmic quality of the rise and the fall of the sea itself, and likewise the steady pulling of the oars.The subject of the poem is never mentioned in the body of the poem itself, instead we infer from the title what the poet's small boat collided with that day.
6To stub an oar on a rock where none should be, Stanza OneTo stub an oar on a rock where none should be,To have it rise with a slounge out of the seaIs a thing that happened once (too often) to me.
7To stub an oar on a rock where none should be, Stanza OneInfinitive verbsCaptures attentionMetaphor comparing the shark to a rock – bulky/solid without feeling or intelligenceTo stub an oar on a rock where none should be,To have it rise with a slounge out of the seaIs a thing that happened once (too often) to me.Although the poet is frightened he tries to inject humour to make light of the situationSlounge – onomatopoeia – noise of waves, clumsy movementShark that it is in charge
8But not too often - though enough. I count as gain Stanza TwoBut not too often - though enough. I count as gainThat once I met, on a sea tin-tacked with rain,That roomsized monster with a matchbox brain.
9But not too often - though enough. I count as gain Emphasises experience is worthwhile – explains reasons why in rest of poemStanza TwoDash – indicates no rush. While it is frightening at first, he now thinks experience is worthwhileBut not too often - though enough. I count as gainThat once I met, on a sea tin-tacked with rain,That roomsized monster with a matchbox brain.Met – experience is now not a shockVisual/aural imageryCan see and hear the rain on the seaBasic animal - large animal with small brain – like a dinosaur. Opposite to usRoomsized – emphasises sizeMonster – low down on evolutionary scaleThere is clever use of long and short vowels in this final line too: the long vowels in roomsized monster appropriately extend and elongate the expression to reinforce the size of the shark in contrast to the short, clipped vowels of matchbox brain.
10He displaced more than water. He shoggled me Stanza ThreeHe displaced more than water. He shoggled meCenturies back - this decadent towneeShook on a wrong branch of his family tree.
11He displaced more than water. He shoggled me Stanza ThreeIdea of shark making him rethink his life and man’s position in it.Shark in control again – shark moving him. Self deprecatingUse of colloquial words.He displaced more than water. He shoggled meCenturies back - this decadent towneeShook on a wrong branch of his family tree.He is reminded that this shark too is part of our own family tree and is inextricably linked to us in much the same way as any other ancestor.Decadent townee –Moved far away from his originsDecadent -- he has lost a sense of purpose in his life and become too immersed in the pursuit of hedonistic pleasuresEnjambment –Draws attention to the words.Shows he is thinking back to prehistoric times.
12Swish up the dirt and, when it settles, a spring Stanza FourSwish up the dirt and, when it settles, a springIs all the clearer. I saw me, in one fling,Emerging from the slime of everything.
13Swish up the dirt and, when it settles, a spring An analogy is made at the opening of this stanza between stirring up dirt in a spring and the water then being all the clearer, and the present situation the speaker finds himself in.Stanza FourThe dirt in this case is the murky thought of how humans evolved into what they now are. The idea of dirt in our origins continues with the choice of the word slimeThe onomatopoeic swish of the water also alludes to the idea of displacement in the previous stanza.Swish up the dirt and, when it settles, a springIs all the clearer. I saw me, in one fling,Emerging from the slime of everything.Growing up from prehistoric times.The word emerging in the final line of this stanza reinforces this new, almost epiphanic sense of clarity associated with coming out of the dark into light,he primeval slime from which we and all other living organisms were created, linking the evolution of humanity once more with that of the shark.How the poet is connected to every animal.
14The tall fin slid away and then the tail. Stanza FiveSo who's the monster? The thought made me grow pale For twenty seconds while, sail after sail,The tall fin slid away and then the tail.
15The tall fin slid away and then the tail. This magnificent, awesome creature is monstrous simply because of its relative size, but in the metaphorical sense it is clear the speaker now considers humanity to be the true monster.Stanza FiveNot so confident as to who the superior being isSo who's the monster? The thought made me grow pale For twenty seconds while, sail after sail,The tall fin slid away and then the tail.Shark is an elegant being – contrast to at the start of the poemDoesn’t think about it for long – emphasises how man is the monster
16An overview of the stanzas Stanza One – MacCaig describes the chance meeting with the shark and makes it clear it has happened before.Stanza Two – the meetings have had an effect on him and he thinks back to one particular meeting.Stanza Three – he begins to question his position in the evolutionary process.Stanza Four – explains how indistinct humans were from other species at the beginning of the evolutionary process.
17Stanza Five – his opinion of the shark changes and the poet reveals that he is not so sure of his own superiority over the rest of nature.
18Reflective nature of the poem In the interview ‘A Metaphorical Way of Seeing Things’, MacCaig maintained that poetry is a ‘psychological Optrex, it clears your eyes and you see things’.Like many of MacCaig’s poems, ‘Basking Shark’ moves from description to reflection. This experience leads the poet to reflect on his own and humanity’s relationship with the natural world and to ponder ‘Who’s the monster?’.
19Reflective nature of the poem The encounter with the shark caused the poet to reflect on some big ideas.Complete the following table, explaining how the quotations illustrate the poet’s reflective process.
20Details/quotationsExplanation/effect1. ‘I count as gain’2. ‘he displaced more than water’3. ‘he shoggled me/Centuries back’4. ‘this decadent townee’5. ‘Swish up the dirt and, when it settles, a spring/Is all the clearer’6. ‘emerging from the slime of everything’7. ‘So who’s the monster?’1. On reflection MacCaig feels that he has benefitted from the experienceComplete the following table, explaining how the quotations illustrate the poet’s reflective process10 minutes