Poem Commentary: in Mrs. Tilcher's Class

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The poem ‘In Mrs. Tilscher's Class' written by Carol Ann Duffy, is written in free verses and includes four stanzas. The poem illustrates the perspective of a carefree, innocent and happy young girl going through the first stages of life, primary to high school. The poem examines the rites of passage and the change that is taken place between childhood and adolescence. This essay will outline the areas in which Duffy uses different literary terms to define the theme of growing up.

The first two stanzas sets the mood of a carefree, positive and relaxed tone where the narrator reminisces her childhood. The atmosphere is filled with excitement as children learn about different things. The relation with the five senses of sight, touch, sound, smell and touch helps enrich us the journey of growing up. As Mrs. Tilscher chants the different places that travel up the Blue Nile, "Tana. Ethiopia. Khartoum. Aswan", Duffy paints a picture image of Mrs. Tilscher pointing at a map and going down the Blue Nile with her finger, teaching Geography to her class. The class ends with Duffy personifying the "laugh of a bell swung by a running child" giving us the image of children running excitingly around jubilantly after class.

The opening of the second stanza speaks the mind of a child as she reveals to us how much she loved going to school, and that it was even "better than home". "Enthralling books", "sugar paper" and "coloured shapes," describes the atmosphere of the "sweetshop" classroom; the bright, innocent and warm classroom acts as a refuge from reality. When Duffy refers to real-life examples of Brady and Hindley, it punctuates the acknowledgement of a terrible crime against children. It reminds or tells us that life is not that simple and reveals the cruelty of adult world. However, because "Mrs. Tilscher loved you"; it shows us her unconditional love and highlights her protection and reveals that not all adults are evil which makes Brady and Hindley not so scary...
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