Analysis of Poems. Half Past Two

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Half Past Two

'Half Past Two' is a poem in which Fanthorpe describes how a young child is given a detention for an unspecified misdemeanor and is forgotten by his teacher. Fanthorpe draws on her experience as a teacher to describe the scene as seen through the child's eyes. The Title of the poem tells me a lot of information even before I read the poem. The information it puts across is that: A boy is told to stay behind until 'Half Past Two' but this has no-meaning to him because he has no concept of 'time'. The boy can’t tell the time but yet he divides the day up into familiar, recognizable units, as in 'schooltime', 'lunchtime', 'hometime'.

: "Half Past Two" uses a lot of different tones, tones such as: Nostalgic, Innocent, Dream Like!

Stanza One: In this stanza Fanthorpe includes the first of his markers of the day which the boy recognizes as a time in the day. This is set out as a 'compound word': 'Schooltime'. Fanthorpe uses capital letters at the beginning of the words "Something Very Wrong", he does this to show us how significant and important the incident was to the teacher, Whereas the words "(I forgot what it was)" and the use of parenthesis (brackets) show that it wasn't all that important to the boy.

Stanza Two: Again in this stanza, Fanthorpe uses the use of capital letters to give the teacher a God- Like status "She" in the boys eyes. Also the use of repetition, of 'Something Very Wrong' shows the 'serious' nature of his wrongdoing. In this stanza the words 'Half Past Two' shall come across to us for the first time (except for the title). These words are used to tell the boy, what time he has to stay in the school- room till.

Stanza Three: Human nature; She's cross, He's scared...... Result? .... He is abandoned! Note the use of again of a capital for "Time" to show the importance of this mysterious entity.

Stanza Four: In this stanza the boy describes his version and understanding of a 'clock', the boy tells the time of day by dividing the day up into recognizable units that he understands these are written as 'compound words' in the poem e.g. 'Gettinguptime'. I acknowledged the use of enjambment to lead us into Stanza five.

Stanza Five: In my mind I think this stanza tells us a lot about the poems contexts. Here the boy shows that he can recognize that significant, repeated events occur at the same time each day. 'But not Half Past Two' reinforces the fact that he cannot tell the time, although he is familiar with the clock face.

Stanza Six: The boy uses the language employed by adults teaching the time to small children. "He couldn't click its Language". This one quote tells us that the boy does not understand the clock and the time on the clock, he does not know how to read off the clock, it is like it speaks a different language to you and what the boy speaks. In this stanza there is use of ambiguity in the word "Click", this has two meanings here, one of them is the understanding of the clock and the other meaning is the sound the clock makes as it moves round and points towards the time, so we are able to read off the clock face accurately with the use of the hands. The boy recognizes the 'hands' as "Two legs for walking" presenting to us that he knows what a clock face looks like.

Stanza Seven: In this stanza the boy is not confined by time or restricted by deadlines. He is able to escape through sublimation into physical sensations, which are explained in stanza eight.

Stanza Eight: Fanthorpe uses the technique of imagery by using words like "Smell, Touch, Sound" to create a visual impression of how the boy escapes into a myste

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