‘The Choosing’ by Liz Lochhead is a poem which depicts the importance of the choices one makes in early phases of life. In this specific poem the main theme revolves around how wealth, family, different opinions about life and where a girl stood in the 80s influenced one’s choice; hence the title of the poem is ‘The Choosing’. In the poem the author compares her life to her best friend’s life. In their childhood days they were equal in almost anything they did including their appearance, behaviour at school, level in education and even houses because they were expected to be like that. As life moved on different decisions were made and the two girls had developed totally different characters. As the persona exposes the options that were available to the author it seems that she is purposely trying to ignore them in many different ways. Knowing that the girls did not embrace these characters themselves the persona becomes aware of the importance of one’s ability to make a decision independently. The author reveals her message using a variety of poetic devices including visual imagery, stereotyping, tone, paradox, poem structure, figurative language and also made use of framing. This could also have been all a matter of ‘choosing’.
In the first stanza the author mainly compares her childhood days to her best friend’s. She used a number of poetic techniques including visual imagery and stereotyping to make a clear comparison. Such use of techniques stimulates the reader’s senses by evoking their own childhood memories because it has been presented in a way the reader can easily relate back to. For example in the line, “we were first equal Mary and I”, this creates a sense of equality, friendship and friendly rivalry. Further on in the stanza, the composer writes “with same coloured ribbons in mouse-coloured hair and with equal shyness”, it is a stereotype used to enforce the fact that they are equal or same. The author makes use of such imagery and stereotyping...
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