Wednesday, September 18, 2019
Homecoming AQA Coursework This poem is a puzzle for the reader - there :: English Literature
Homecoming AQA Coursework This poem is a puzzle for the reader - there are some things the poet has not told us. This poem is a puzzle for the reader - there are some things the poet has not told us, and without them, our reading of the poem relies on guesswork. This seems deliberate, as the first thing the poem invites us to do is to look at two things separately, then put them together. The poem is written mostly in the second person, addressed to Ã¢â¬Å"youÃ¢â¬ . This may at first seem to be the general reader, but later in the poem, Armitage writes Ã¢â¬Å"IÃ¢â¬ and Ã¢â¬Å"weÃ¢â¬ - and it seems that here he speaks to a particular individual. The context and other clues suggest this is a lover or friend (someone he meets Ã¢â¬Å"sixteen yearsÃ¢â¬ after the incident he describes in the second section of the poem). Perhaps he wants the reader not so see this as something that happened once to another person, but as something all of us can, and maybe should, do. The first stanza - after the opening line - is quite easy to follow. The poet invites us think of a trust game. (Teachers and students of drama may know this game. Readers of the poem will perhaps have played it, or something like it.) Ã¢â¬Å"Those in frontÃ¢â¬ spread their arms wide, and Ã¢â¬Å"free fallÃ¢â¬ backwards, while those behind catch them and Ã¢â¬Å"take their weightÃ¢â¬ . The point of the game is for those in front, to overcome the instinct to bend their legs and fall safely. The Ã¢â¬Å"rightÃ¢â¬ way to fall is only safe because there is someone to catch us. The second stanza is far more puzzling, but will be familiar to anyone who knows school cloakrooms. A yellow cotton jacket has come off its hook. On the Ã¢â¬Å"cloakroom floorÃ¢â¬ it is trampled on - Ã¢â¬Å"scuffed and blackened underfoot.Ã¢â¬ The sequel to this is that Ã¢â¬Å"back homeÃ¢â¬ , a mother (presumably the mother of the child whose jacket this is) Ã¢â¬Å"puts two and two togetherÃ¢â¬ and gets the wrong answer (Ã¢â¬Å"makes a...fist of itÃ¢â¬ in the dialect phrase). We do not know what the right answer would be. One possible reading is that the mother blames the child for being careless and not checking that the jacket was hung on its hook. There is a further sequel - the child sneaks out of the house at midnight. She does not go far (Ã¢â¬Å"no further than the call-box at the corner of the streetÃ¢â¬ ). We do not know whom she rings, or what becomes of it.