difference between the planners and the city planners

Topics: Poetry, Stanza, Tercet Pages: 2 (662 words) Published: September 22, 2013
Both poems use the word Planners in their titles and both deal with cities as their topic, focussing on the structures and organization of urban spaces. Kim Cheng uses the third person ‘they’ to create a sense of distance - of us and them, whereas Atwood uses the inclusive ‘we’, to suggest that this experience of cities is one that we can all relate to and share. Her attitude - and the narratorial tone of the poem - seems negative. She uses words like ‘offends us’, ‘discouraged’, ‘avoidance’, ‘sickness lingering’, including the semantic field of illness. These seem mostly quiet, and passive, but as the poem progresses, she shifts into a more violent tone, with ‘hysteria’, ‘bruise’, ‘vicious’, ‘capsized’, and ‘insane’. In contrast, the language of the Planners seems to have a far more positive tone: ‘possibilities’ ‘desired’ ‘gleaming’. However, this is the planners’ view, which is not shared by the poet. He describes the planners’ vision using a rule of three, as ‘anaesthesia, amnesia, hypnosis’, which suggests control, numbness. Like Atwood’s poem, the second half of Cheng’s poem shifts into violent imagery: ‘hurt’ ‘bleed’ and ‘stain’ - to show that this ‘gleaming’ vision, when imposed by force, hurts. Atwood uses an irregular structure, which gives the effect that ideas, and flow, are forcibly cut short, as where she breaks the sentence ‘what offends us is / the sanities’. Cleanliness here seems almost antiseptic, or negative and the idea of perfect regulation in ‘sanities’ repeats in ‘sanitary’, ‘levelness’, ‘straight’, ‘pedantic rows’ and ‘rational whine’. There is an uncomfortable edge to this perfection. While the first stanza is full of the semantic field ofregulation, and control, the second is rising ‘hysteria’, where even inanimate objects take on a ‘vicious’ tone. Pathetic fallacy puts ‘sickness lingering‘ in the garages, the ‘plastic hose‘ is ‘poised‘ like a snake. This neat, mundane, urban landscape is twisted into something sinister, as houses...
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