Not My Best Side

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How does the lanuage used create effects?

The following paragraphs explore how language is used to create effects in the poem Not my Best Side by U. A. Fanthorpe, an ekphrastic poem that uses the free verse form arranged in three stanzas of nineteen lines each. It's purpose is to entertain, which it does through the use of humour, using Standard English in an informal, conversational manner. Dramatic monologues from the characters re-tell from their own perspective, the historical myth of a brave knight that slays a fearsome dragon and rescues a damsel in distress. There are some differences however, and playing with the readers expectations and using modern stereotypes in place of the historically accepted character roles is where much of the humour is derived.

the dragon, unlike it's mythological counterpart has quite a sophisticated vocabulary, use of adjectives like 'ostentatiously beardless' and the idiom 'old chap' suggests an intelligent, well spoken, stereotypical British, Upper Class gentleman, the antithesis of a ferocious monster. The line 'Not my best side, I'm afraid.', reveals the dragon's self conciousness and obsession with appearance, a reocurring theme. The nouns 'artist' and 'pose' indicate the poem is about a character in a painting and the dragon is highly critical of both the painter, 'Poor chap, he had this obsession with Triangles, so he left off two of my Feet.' and the other characters, 'Why should my victim be so Unattractive as to be inedible,'. It is the comical and conversational tone that makes the dragon so likeable and lots of rhetorical questions draw the reader in, particularly '(What, after all, are two feet To a monster?)' which, enclosed in brackets gives the impression the dragon is addressing the reader directly.

Continuing the pattern of reversing the stereotypes, the girl is presented as a slightly feminist, with a mind of her own, 'It's hard for a girl to be sure if She wants to be rescued.', not the...
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