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Topic question: How does Fleur Adcock use color, language and the theme of rebellience through out
this poem?

Overview (summary explaining what the poem is about): The poem "Heidi With Blue Hair"
written by Fleur Adcock is about a girl named Heidi who gets challenged by the rules and the authority
of the school because she dyed her hair blue and that is violating the school rules.

Situation was tragic for Heidi. Her mom has passed away and the school is not allowing her
to attend the school with her hair dyed.

However she found support from her 'freedom-loving' father trying to win this battle
between the authority to argue about violations that Heidi has made. In the end, Heidi and
her dad won the battle, not having to be suspended.

Historical Context (important background information about the poet/poem): Fleur Adcock
was born in Auckland, New Zealand. The type of Adock's poems asks questions about
identity and belonging. She was born in 1934.
She has worked as a librarian at the Foreign and Commonwealth office.

Adcock has said that the poem 'Heidi With Blue Hair' was written with the influence of a
real incident experienced by her god daughter.

Language devices (Key words, phrases and poetic techniques deployed in the poem and
explain their significance):

Tone (The emotions of the poetic voice and idea of how it could be read):

Themes: Rebellience, Family, Authority, Freedom, independence

Stanza 1: The poem gives us an insight of whats happening. Imagery showing what she looks like. It also
tells us about her suspension "You were sent home from school"

Stanza 2: Then the introduction of the authority, Headmistress. Just because her hair was not done in
the school colors, the headmistress ridiculously sends Heidi home. The headmistress also says "apart
from anything else" is she being reasonable? She is not being open about the reasons why she sent her
Stanza 3: This stanza is where the readers would often feel sympathy, sadness and pity for Hedi because
she was showing tears in the kitchen. Tears indicate the soft side of Heidi. Fortunately, Heidis father is a
great man who believes in freedom. Heidi's father rings the school to argue that her style and behaviors
has no correlation.

Stanza 4: The arugment between the freedom loving father and the headmistress carries on. Heidi's
father explains that Heidi got permission to dye her hair blue. Adcock makes this situation even more
realistic by adding dialogue such as "she discussed it with me first we checked the rules"

Stanza 5: Then in stanza 5 the readers start to realize that Heidis mother has passed away and the whole
atmosphere and the tone changes. However her father doesn't use this information to explain Heidi's

Stanza 6: The last stanza explains about Heidi's victory. It also explains about how one of her friends
arrived with her hair done in grey, white and flaxen yellow.

Possible exam questions:

How does Fleur Adcock use conversational dialogue to make this poem more realistic?

What is the relationship between Father and Heidi throughout the poem?

How does this poem show conflict of Heidi over the school rules?

Introduction: In this poem 'For Heidi With Blu Hair' written by Fleur Adcock

Some key points:

1. Rebellience is shown through out the poem

Thesis statement: The theme of rebellience is shown by Heidi who violated the school rules and dyed
her hair not in school colors.

*How is the theme of rebellience shown in this poem?

To show that rebellience is shown in this poem, we have to know what rebellience means.
Rebellience is shown when someone goes against the authority and control. In this poem,
Heidi clealy shows the theme of rebellion because she went against the school rules and
resisted against authority by dyeing her hair not in the school colors.

Evidence: "You were sent home from school" - this quote shows that Heidi has done something wrong.
If a student gets suspended, the student has obviously done something prohibited and innapropriate on
the school grounds.

"was not done in school colors" - Schools have rules. You have to follow them. School rules are there to
minimize the level of crimes and guilt that happens around the school. School rules might also set a
good standard for new students to enrol. Therefore if a student didn't dye their hair in school colors, he
or she would show rebellience since the student is resisting the school system.

"with a crest of jet-black spikes on top" - black can symbolize lots of things such as darkness, horror,
mysteriousness, strength, rebellion and authority. Having spikes on top of such negative color can create
a punk style which is what school doesn't allow. It clearly shows an aggressive image of Heidi.

2. Color can be used to link the characters emotions in the poem and symbolize lots of events that are
happening throughout the poem.

First, the title it self contains color which foreshadows the content of the poem that this might be
about a student named Heidi who has blue hair.

In Korea, dyeing your hair with an unusual color can give you very weird images. My friend dyed her
hair bright yellow and she was scared that people would think that she is a punk or a psychopath.

Blue symbolizes loyalty, truth and faith.

The colors are ususally specified in the poem or in parenthesis.

Evidence: 'For Heidi With Blue Hair' - the title shows imagery as it introduces the poem.

"When you dyed your hair blue (or at least, ultramarine for the clipped sides, with a crest of jet-black
spikes on top)"

3. Adcock uses language to create conversational tone and imagery for the readers to read with

We can see a lot of dialogue has been used in the poem. Such as "She's not a punk in her behaviour,
it's just a style." and "She discussed it with me first - we checked the rules". This conversational tone
creates the sense of realism and by sharing a realistic tragedy for Heidi, it creates sympathy towards
the readers.
The readers might not be able to picture this as clearly, but we can sense the love and understanding
from Heidi;s father as well.

By using everyday language, Adcock shows school life, authority, authority, friendship, family
relationships and support which are important in a students life such as Heidi.

Elegy For My Father's Father

Topic Question: How does James K Baxter consistently portray the theme of death and isolation
throughout the poem?

Overview: This poem is a sad poem full of sorrow and regret. This poem is directed to a specific person
which is the poet’s grandfather. It is like a tribute to his grandfather who didn't receive much love but
was very appreciated and respected in his youth. However the situation completely changes as the time
passes. As the grandfather gets old, he becomes physically and emotionally weak and vulnerable. As he
grows old, his isolation and regret grow as well.

Author context: James K Baxter is a New Zealand poet, playwright and critic. He includes philosophy,
religion, natural cycles and classic mythology. He was born in 1926, he always judged society harshly. He
showed sympathy and concern towards the poor who was marginalized by society. He is also a major
poet in the 20th century.

Language devices: Contrast in used because elegy is used for someone who has a high level of respect
and the title of the poem says "my father's father" which sounds quite distant and not respected.

Tone: It’s an elegy where the tone changes from celebration, sorrow and regret. There's a point where
the tone sounds like it is full of regret.

Themes: Tribute, regret, family relationship, nature, death, memory

Possible exam question: What are the significant effects of the flashback on the narrator’s fathers

How does the theme of sorrow and regret get shown in this poem?

In this poem 'Elegy for my father's father, written by James K Baxter portrays the theme of death
throughout the poem by using the method of flashback, nature analogies and the theme of aging. This
poem is about the narrator’s father's father who never expressed his feelings to others in his eighty
years of days.

1. The theme of death is a big part in this poem because it is universal, and nobody can avoid it.

"He knew in the hour he died" (personal response) - This line gives me a very sad feeling because this
clearly states that there has been a loss of life and his final thoughts before he passed away were full of
regret and misery. As a reader this line gives sympathy. This line is repeated on the poem to emphasize
the tragedy of his passing.

"O, for the tall tower broken" is a metaphor. Comparing life with a tall tower. The process of building a
tower and growing in life is quite similar. As time passes, humans gain knowledge, and experience
mental and physical growth. The floors of the tower represent the ages of life. The taller the tower, the
riskier it would be to fall. When the tall tower breaks down, it symbolizes death. "Eighty years of days"
also has a connection with the tower.
Lots of death related words such as graveside, cairn, old and blind were used too.

2.The theme of death is also portrayed by using nature analogies.

Death is a part of nature and James K Baxter loved using natural cycle.

"The winter world in their hand" - Winter is the time where the plants die and the leaves fall. The
surrounding is full of white, unpredictable coldness. This might represent the death of the narrators
father's father. How he can't feel a single drop of love.

"And the leaves the wind had shaken" - Indicates that the time has come for the narrators grandpa to
fall off from the tree and become a part of the soil.
The wind represents the cause of death and shows how vulnerable the leaves - humans are when it
comes to death and mortality.

3. Aging and isolation was also felt when the method of flashback was used in the poem.

Evidence: "He could slice and build" - Describes the old days when he had strength and muscles. The
author is also praising him for his passion and skillfulness when his father's father was in his prime years.

"When he was old and blind He sat in a curved chair All day by the kitchen fire"
- Then when he aged, it contrasts the imagery that had been shown previously.
- There is a very old cartoon called courage the cowardly dog. In the cartoon, there is always a
grandmother who sits on a curved chair sitting by the kitchen fire. Curved chair is a seat usually for old
- The fact that he needed kitchen fire implies that the old man needed some warmth, love and
brightness in his life to carry on.

As people age, we tend to lose everything. Our memory, strength and life.

The Trees Are Down

Topic question: How does Charlotte Mew show that humans are inhuman because of what they did to
the environment?

Overview: This is a part of eco poetry. This uses language to make people feel responsible and make
people acknowledge environmental issues by using poetic devices and language.

Historical Context: Charlotte Mew was an English poet born in 1869. She wrote literature between the
time of Victorian poetry and modernism. Her father died in 1898 and her siblings suffered from mental

The poem talks about the trees being cut down but in reality, Mew's life was constantly cut down by the
deaths of her siblings around her.

Language devices: Contrast, Hyperbole, biblical references.

Themes: Nature, destruction, mankind, construction

Structure: This poem has a shape of a tree. Rhyme flows through this poem as well. The repetitive usage
of onomatopoeia and imagery.

Tone: Humans do not care or realize the significance of what they are doing to the environment. The
majestic pride of nature contrasted with the sense of bitterness that humans created.

Possible exam question: How does Mew show his love towards the trees throughout the poem?

Introduction: In this poem 'The Trees are Down' written by Charlotte Mew shows how mankind is
inhuman and has corrupted by their actions towards the natural environment. This shows through
biblical references, actions of the humans and imagery in this poem.

1. In the beginning of the poem, Mew used a quote from 'Revelation'. That is the final book of the bible
about the end of the world. This means a lot because this means that if people are continuously cutting
down trees and ruining the environment, we will see the end of our world.

"and he cried with a loud voice: Hurt not the Earth, neither the sea, nor the trees"

This quote was used to prove how important and essential nature is to human life. Also showing that
cutting down trees is against god's will.

in the modern terms we can change that to 'Apple is down' instead of 'The Trees are Down' since we are
so desperate for new technology.

"But I, all day, I heard an angel crying: 'Hurt not the trees'." - this is also another biblical reference in the
end of the poem. Mew is providing further evidence that falling of the trees is like a sin that makes you
go against god.

The angel is a messenger of god. The angel might be crying because it is a signal for the end of the

2. There were lots of mankind operations that was going on in this poem.

"They are cutting down the great plane-trees at the end of the gardens"

The fact that Mew used 'They' instead of specifying them makes it feel like they are worthless. Showing
that they're so inhuman that they dont deserve anything.
They disobeyed gods orders and were monsters in their destructive actions when it came to cutting
down trees.
This straightly contrasts with the 'great plane-trees' because while humans are so worthless, trees are
grandeur and important. Therefore this quote explains the men are very different to the trees.

"When the men with the 'Whoops' and the 'Whoas' have carted the whole of the whispering loveliness
The addition of onomatopoeia emphasizes they carelessness and joy in contrast to Mew's misery and
frustration. Mew is praising the trees by saying "whispering loveliness" this implies a sense of calm,
peacefulness, love, soft, soothing sibilance. This quiet whispering loveliness is juxtaposed by the loud
men in the beginning of the sentence indicating that men are directly opposite the trees by their

3. Lots of imageries of nature is shown throughout the poem. Mostly negative due to the actions of

"Swish of the branches", "Crash of the trunks" and "The rustle of trodden leaves"
Those 3 are imageries of the plane trees. It allows us, as readers to picture the trees with the horrific
sound of it being cut down. The violence of mankind is also shown in those imageries. The words like
"swish", "Crash", "Rustle" is somewhat quite onomatopoeic

"I remember thinking: Alice or dead, a rat was a good forsaken thing, But at least, in May, that even a rat
should be alive"
- Rat is usually an animal that symbolized as virus, dirty and trash.
However it is part of nature and rats still deserve to live just like the trash. Mew showing pity for such
animal shows how he loves nature and shows how he wants to preserve them.

This single word spring gives a very beautiful imagery. We can imagine the flower blossom, leaves
growing back out again. Yet the poet says its spring time when the trees are being cut down, which
suggests that humanity shows no mercy in ruining the beautiful sight with their own hands.

Conclusion: We as humans has destroyed natural habitats, biodiversity and nature should be ashamed.
This poem is what makes us feel responsible for what we have done.

The Trees
How does Phillip Larkin present the relationship between nature and humanity?

1. Extended metaphor
An extended metaphor is used throughout this poem explaining how nature is just like humanity.
Evidence: "Is it that they are born again and we grow old? No, they die too"
The word "born" is usually used on humans. But having said that to the nature shows relevance and
connection between nature and humanity.

"Their greenness is a kind of grief"

As trees grow, there are more greenness due to more leaves. So if we metaphorize humans with trees at
this point, it is implying that grief grows as humans grow.

2. The use in cycle of nature

Evidence: " In full grown thickness every May"

May is like the middle of the year. So may would be the age of 35 for humans.

"Last year is dead, they seem to say."

This again emphasizes the cycle of nature and shows how people are vulnerable and weak
against death. Trees die just like humans.

"Begin afresh, afresh, afresh"

New people are growing afresh afresh afresh every year just like the cycle of nature with the

The cycle of rhyme scheme implies that nature doesn't stop. It keeps refreshing with new

The poet compares the trees life cycle as humans lifespan.

3. The theme of life is present through out the poem.

Evidence: Humanity has life, nature has life.
"the trees are coming into leaf"
This is a short poem that concentrates on renewal, specifically in the new growth of leaves
and trees that comes around annually which is a part of saseonal cycle in nature. Theme of
life has been shown in the quote by saying the trees are growing.

"Is it that they are born again?"

"Born" again symbolizes life
using a term that is used on humans gets used on nature.
Conclusion: By reading this poem, I was fully convinced that the cycle of nature is a great
analogy for cycle of humans. This poem was very intelligently written to show how the
relationship between nature and humanity was actually pretty much the same.


Topic Question: In what ways does Siegfred Sassoon create feelings of fear in this poem

Sassoon shows the readers what the First World War was about throughout the poem using the theme
of war and horror, biblical references and war equipment.

Possible themes: War, suffering, patriotism, pain, soldier.

The theme or war and horror is clearly shown to create fear and despair.
The usage of war machines and equipment to create tension.
Biblical references such as "O Jesus, make it stop!"
Atmosphere of war builds up as the poem goes on.

1.The usage of war machines and equipment has created tension and fear to the readers.
Evidence: "The menacing scarred slope; and, one by one, tanks creep and topple forward to the wire."
The usage of a very dominant and strong war machine can create fear since tanks is one of the most
destructive weapons in the modern era as well.
"one by one, tanks creep" - specifically saying one by one creates imagery and suspension as these giant
weapons of doom moves up.

"With bombs and guns and shovels and battle gear,"

This is the climax. They are preparing for war. This imagery creates horror because all those weapons
are used for killing.

2. The biblical references escalates the theme of fear, war and horror as well.
Evidence: "O Jesus, make it stop!"
First, the exclamation shows that the soldiers are frightened for his life crying for his life.
This biblical reference of Jesus creates a theme of fear because Jesus is known to be holy, a symbol of
peace and light.
By calling out to Jesus, it shows the soldiers desperateness and dedication on finding peace and safety.
This also shows that the war zone is a terrifying place. The soldiers need hope and peace.

This cry for help isn't just shouting for help for himself. But for the whole nation and for the people
fighting this unnecessary war sacrificing their lives.

3. This build up of war and horror is everywhere in this poem filling the readers with fear.
Evidence: "
"Men jostle and climb to, meet the bristling fire" - Describing fire as 'bristling' emphasizes the intensity
of the war zone. This imagery of the aggressive, unstoppable fire gives
"Lines of grey, muttering faces, masked with fear," - In army, soldiers put lines of grey on their faces for
their preparation of battle
Masked with fear - This is interesting because the 'masked' was used. It shows that soldiers have to look
strong, fearless and courageous. However this shows that the mask of fear is unavoidable
"And hope, with furtive eyes and grappling fists, flounders in mud." - furtive eyes further indicates
nervousness of the soldiers in war
flounders in mud - imagery of helpless soldiers struggling in mud just creates violence and dirty imagery
which everyone wants to avoid.
Sassoon thought war was needless and he showed that by showing such violence throughout the poem.

Topic Question: How does Stephen Spender show the theme of bullying throughout the poem?
Topic Sentence: In this poem of 'My Parents' written by Stephen Spender clearly presents the theme of
bullying through his use of simile, metaphor and imagery

1. simile
Evidence: "Muscles like iron"
Iron is very hard, it is indicating that the bully's muscles were so strong that it was as hard as iron.
Ironic because the bullies were considered quite poor. "their thighs shown through rags" which implies
that the bullies are quite poor. Poor people do not have money to have healthy diet.
"Like dogs to bark at my world."
implies that the bullies are uncivilized people. People don't like to get compared to animals such as
dogs. Spender used an analogy to compare the bullies with a dog to bark. (psychological criticism,
sociological criticism)
"Who threw words like stones"
Explanation: The words were like getting hit by stone physically because it was so savage and harsh.
Represents toughness and hardness from the other boys.
Impacts and effects:
Use of terminology:

2. Metaphor
Stephen Spender uses metaphor to illustrate fear and the theme of bullying to escalate the tension
throughout the poem.
Evidence: "children who were rough"
- The word "rough" describes the attitude and actions shown by the other boys. Rough boys are exactly
the type of boys that the speakers parents didn't want.
"my world"
Indicates that the speaker has a different world and mindset from the other boys who denies the
"feared more than tigers" - Tigers are one of the most violent and aggressive predators in the wild. This
shows that the speaker is a prey that the predators is trying to hunt. Prey fears predators. I personally
think this is an analogy between the speaker and the bullies.
3. imagery

"Their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms" - A fighting scene to describe how 'rough' the
kids were. Also portrays the theme of bullying because school fighting is disobeying the law. Reference
to 'Heidi with blue hair' because she also violated rules.

"Who copied my lisp behind me on the road."

- Again an imagery of the bullies making fun of the speaker. By copying his lip motion.

"Sprang out behind hedges"

"pretending to smile" - The speaker wanted to interact and do something good and be friendly. The
speaker even "longed to forgive them" after what they've done.
"they never smiled" - Implies that the boys are cold blooded.

Conclusion: The speaker admires the bullies freedom and flexibility, but the theme of bullying stops the
speaker from enjoying his life with social satisfaction.