Analysis of Country School by Allen Curnow

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Country School - Allen Curnow By Abdulla Al-Muhannadi

In this poem ‘Country School’, Curnow basks in reminiscence of his old school where he drifts away in recalling his childhood. As this poem reflects childhood reminiscence, the narrator seems to realise that things aren’t as dull and bad as they seemed before, along with the portrayal of the overall issue of ageing. However, the tone of the narrator seems to sway between enthusiastic and apathetic as there are many times when the tones seem to differ between two extremes. The persona is describing a country school that seems to be somewhat dilapidated in condition. The vivid image drawn by the alliterative phrase ‘paint all peeled’ supports the fact that the school is indeed deteriorating. ‘Tufts topping’ enables the reader to visualise a country school architecture, with ‘pinus tufts’ on its ‘roof ridge’, establishing an image of a typical country school. Through the usage of colloquial language, these vivid images hold more detail then one might think they do at first. For instance, the word ‘dunny’ evolves a picture of local Australian toilets enlightening the audience to the smallest of details. Furthermore, ‘girls squeal skipping’ conjures up an auditory image as the little children are playing around him (supported by the sibilance). Several kinds of onomatopoeia help to describe what the persona is experiencing. THe fluid ‘r’ sounds in ‘rank’ and ‘roof-ridge’ help to integrate the ideas, linking them and helping form a wider image of the country school. Also, the ‘b’ sounds in ‘bargeboard, weatherboard’ and ‘gibbet belfry’ calls attention to the detailed observation, helping build up a solid image. Curnow employs parallelism as well as repetition in order to create links in this poem. The parallel comparison, or contrast, of ‘how small; how sad’, draws a link with how he seems to be recalling his days back in school. The passing of time and his ageing is revelaed as the very doors that seemed huge from...
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