Notes on Poems

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Born Yesterday| Point| Example| Effect|
F| 2 stanzas of irregular length * First stanza talks about positive wishes made by the rest of society which are wished for every child * Second stanza echoes the structure of a sonnet (14 lines long and ends with a rhyming couplet)| In the first stanza, the poet talks about wishes of ‘being beautiful’ and ‘of innocence and love’ made by the rest of society, whilst the second stanza he wishes for her to be ‘ordinary’ and ‘dull’.| By presenting them in a stanza each, it clearly contrasts them to demonstrate his point of how unrealistic the wishes of the rest of society are.The second stanza has been written in the form of a sonnet (which is usually about love) and is about his realistic wishes to show he is wishing her these things because he cares for her and not out of spite.| L| Colloquial languageTwo meanings for the titlePivotal wordDirected at the babyAssonance| ‘stuff’, ‘well’, ‘in fact’‘Born Yesterday’‘But’‘Wished you’, ‘May you be’‘Unemphasized, enthralled’| * Friendly towards the baby and the informality gives the impression that the poet knows the baby * Meaning 1: The baby was born yesterday/ is a new-born OR Meaning 2: the poet is referring to the saying, ‘I wasn’t born yesterday’, which shows the poet is not ignorant of current life, hence the realistic wishes he has made for the child. * The pivotal word at the start of the second stanza prepares the audience for the change in tone of the second stanza, which shows that all the previous positive wishes made for the child, are not what he wishes for the child * Directed at the child suggests that he knows the child as it makes it quite personal, however the poet still sounds detached from the baby by referring to her as ‘girl’ rather than her name or terms of endearment. This shows he is not a parent to the child. * Assonance literally ‘unemphasizes’ the word enthralled.| I| EnjambmentMetaphors| ‘Running off a spring’, ‘nothing uncustomary to pull you off your balance’‘Tightly-folded bud’ | * Makes the line literally do so by ‘running’ over the line into the next. It also pulls the rhythm ‘off balance’ in the other use of enjambment. * ‘Bud’ is a metaphor for new life as it is the start of life for a new flower. ‘Tightly-folded’ suggests the curled up position of a new-born baby. It prepares the reader for the idea that the poet expects wonderful things to grow from the ‘bud’ which of course, he doesn’t.| R| Rhyming couplet at the endNo pattern of rhyme or rhythm (free-verse)Syndetic list| ‘Enthralled’ and ‘called’‘Skilled, vigilant, flexible…’| * Mimics sonnet to reinforce he loves/cares for her and that is why he’s wishing realistically for her * The use of irregular rhyming and rhythm patterns it reflects his irregular and unconventional wishes for the baby. * Syndetic list adds speed and gives the impression of launching his wishes so they come true. The word ‘enthralled’ at the end of all the uninspiring characteristics sums up his hopes; he wishes her a happy and wonderful life.| T| RealisticFriendly/caringOpen mindedHas a message| ‘should it prove possible’Informal tone‘may you be dull’| * Doubts that the wishes of the other people in society will come true (e.g. money, fame, beauty) * Reinforces him talking to a person of a young age * Explores all possibilities of her life * Message: By being ordinary, good things can happen/ they will love her no matter what she is like.|

Brothers| Point| Example| Effect|
F| 3 stanzas; * Stanzas 1 and 2 told from a child’s point of view * Stanza 3 is told from the speaker as an adult reflecting backStanzas one and two are of equal length (quintains) but stanza three is only a quatrain| | * It gives the impression that the speaker is looking back on what had started the differences in their relationship. At the beginning we see no regret towards the way he is treating his brother as the...
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