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A2 English & Literature Poetry - Carol Ann Duffy

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1 A2 English & Literature Poetry - Carol Ann Duffy

2 Beachcomber Structure first. Five irregular sections
Lines of irregular length and no set rhythm pattern Mainly short lines with one or two very long ones. No apparent rhyme scheme.

3 Beachcomber The Sequence The Title refers to the girl described in the poem. Double meaning in so far as it describes her activities but could also mean a tramp. The poem is recollecting a distant past.

4 Beachcomber First Section The poet speaks directly to “You”.
Who is “you”? First line suggests extreme concentration in order to do something – but what?

5 Beachcomber “scare yourself” is an unusual idea followed by an almost but not quite familiar expression –”within an inch of the …heart” Is this a weak heart, is “you” an old person? Age is then referred to directly in the next lines, asking “you”’s age. Is it important?

6 Beachcomber Enjambment to next section.
Introduces the subject of the poem – the child. Sepia suggests an ancient photograph but, by saying “not in sepia” the poet suggests remembering a living child, not a picture.

7 Beachcomber “Lives” on a line all to itself suggests that it is important to see her as a living being. Life is important. The next line identifies it as a girl. Then places her geographically & makes it clear the child is alone. The bucket & spade suggest she is occupied, therefore alone, not lonely.

8 Beachcomber List of things in the bucket. (Duffy likes lists – where else do we see them?) How the crabs were caught is a typical childhood thing, fishing for fun, not purpose. “Don’t move.” An instruction to the reader. “Trow” = think, believe.

9 Beachcomber Third Section
Begins with another instruction to the reader. Getting them to focus – getting a clear recollection. No need to externalise the sound by describing it – just hold firmly on to the thought. Image of platinum – metallic & reflective.

10 Beachcomber “Earth seemed to turn away” play on words – earth does turn in real terms but does this also mean turn away, reject? And, if so, from whom? (Reader, child, writer?) Then abrupt change away from the scene to the child itself.

11 Beachcomber Fourth Section.
First line emphasises that there is a reason for this focus, followed by urging the reader “you” to think harder, concentrate. We have returned to the narrative about the child’s actions. Short phrases recollecting real childhood experience. Present tense – makes it live.

12 Beachcomber Listening to the shell is another childish play activity – listening for the sea. Speaking directly to the “you”. Question & Answer Answers on behalf of “you” – confirming

13 Beachcomber Fifth Section Reminder that it is just a memory.
“Nearly there” – is this a case of “so near and yet so far” or “so near and no nearer”? Is the writer putting the restrictions on?

14 Beachcomber Open your eyes – having been closed in order to concentrate – back to reality; the here and now. Who do the hands belong to? The you? Is the “you” an old person? Where’s the evidence? Why can’t they touch the child?

15 Beachcomber Time = distance again? (like which other poem?)
Another list- this time of all the symbols of childhood the “you” can no longer reach. This list summarises the things that have been mentioned before.

16 Beachcomber Repetition of “What” puts force into the question.
Followed by “of all people” makes it clear the “you “ has nothing in common, nothing left to say to the child. Why? Is “you” the adult remembering being the child?

17 Beachcomber Is “you” someone who harmed the child?
Asks the question & appears to wait for an answer; gets none and treats the silence as agreement that “you” has indeed nothing to say. If so, why? What should “you” want to say?.

18 Beachcomber Even if you could say something, what could you say?
Warnings, explanations, advice? What could “you” say that the child would understand?

19 Beachcomber General points.
Short, simple words appropriate to to a child or an old person. Equivocal meanings. Questions left unanswered. Quite menacing. Isolating key words & phrases

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