One thing Duffy does very well is to write her first and last sentences carefully. These relate to violence very well. The first sentence "Today I am going to kill something", this is a very strong start and very different. Usually the first sentences of poems are happy and then they might gradually turn into something bad, but Duffy uses a high impact sentence which appeals strongly to your feelings, making you feel surprised or shocked.
This means the reader will want to carry on to see why would the person would want to kill.The last sentence, well three or four sentences builds up to the speaker going to get a bread knife. The speaker says "The pavements glitter suddenly. I touch your arm". These sentences are also very violent and also have a big...
impact like the first sentence.
The speaker in the poem is boiling up inside then getting the knife and touching your arm, which involves the reader. This is very clever by Duffy because involving you the reader creates a good effect. It scares you as you could turn around and there could be the killer.It would be especially scary if the reader were sitting alone at night.
Another thing, which the Duffy does well, is to write the poem in first person. She changes from thought to thought so you can get into the speaker's head and see why he wants to kill, what are his reasons etc. By using a teenager and using colloquial (e. g. "I pour the fish down the bog") speech Duffy can put across her views about violence. Most people who are violent have ofte
been mistreated, ignored etc in their life so they take it out on other people/animals/objects.
The reasons for the speaker's violent actions are because he has been mistreated at some point in his life. The speaker illustrates this when he says to himself in the second line "I have had enough of being ignored", so he decides to take out his anger on things that can't fight back just like a bully. The speaker's attitude to violence is that he doesn't even care when he kills, he does it because he is bored and has nothing else to do and he can just turn off and not feel guilty.The speaker likes the power and control whether it is a fly or a fish. Duffy portrays the teenage boy as very arrogant.
" I am a genius" and "I walk the two miles into town for signing on. They don't appreciate my autograph". This shows that he thinks very highly of himself and with his violence he doesn't care if he hurts anyone. Even his cat avoids him as the cat can even sense something sinister about the speaker. Duffy also uses very well chosen words throughout the poem. These are used to create a mood and an effect.
Such words as panicking, in this poem meaning a fear of death and this mood rubs off on us, which means Duffy has succeeded in creating a strong feeling. The panicking shows that the budgie similar to the cat can sense something sinister about the character. But unlike the cat the budgie can't escape because it is in a cage so is therefore panicking. The word makes you feel
sorry for the budgie as it is defenceless and can't escape.
Also another word kill is used in the first line. It is a very strong evil word. It shows the person has lack of control and is very insecure therefore also rubbing off onto the reader.The second poem "Hitcher" written by Simon Armitage is also about a troubled person, this time being a bit older than the person in "Education for Leisure" who is a bit annoyed with life and also wants to take his anger out on something.
This person is also a bit sick in the head and doesn't feel guilty of doing wrong. Like Carol Duffy in "Education for Leisure" Simon Armitage uses the technique of writing in first person and colloquial speaking. Armitage writes about violence in a very relaxed manner just like the person would have thought "without a care in the world".This is for the same reasons, so the reader can access the speaker's thoughts and get the real story, rather than just planned assuming someone is thinking that. The speaker in "Hitcher" is a lot more violent than the speaker in "Education for Leisure" as he has planned on killing a person that he doesn't even know. He isn't just doing it because he is bored but because he is frustrated.
This is understandable as in "Hitcher" the person is much older and has more responsibilities and stress whereas the other speaker wouldn't risk anything too major.Similar to Duffy, Armitage uses some well-chosen words. For example the word screaming. This is a piercing sound, a sound that relates to a receiver of violent action. Armitage uses high
impact words very early in the poem too therefore drawing you into the poem to see what is going to happen.
I think the reasons for the speaker's actions are because he is depressed. He says he is under the weather, tired and fed up with work so he decides to get away from it all and without thinking doing something violent and stupid. He can't do with it anymore everyday and wants to do something out of the ordinary.In the third stanza the speaker describes how he beat up the hitcher and the fact that he was proud that he didn't swerve which is very sick. The hippie is helpless while being beaten up.
The speaker just like in the other poem is a bully and likes the sense of control and power. Then the speaker throws the hippie out the door and then says how they were more a less the same age and how the hippie said he liked the breeze through his hair. How he can say that just after he has beaten up the hitcher, must mean that it is a big joke to him and he doesn't care just like the speaker in "Education for Leisure".The speaker in "Hitter" has nothing against the hippie but he his very jealous of the way he has no responsibilities and is free. The opening sentences are very different in this poem compare to "Education for Leisure". In "Education for Leisure" they are very big impact using big words with the speaker on the edge and involving you whereas in Hitcher the opening and finishing scenes are much more relaxed.
I think inside
the speaker was much worse then he was on the outside, because he expressed his emotions differently than the speaker in the previous poem.Between the two poems Duffy and Armitage have written about violence to show that people often have been mistreated before they turn to violence and have reasons. But that is no excuse to turn to violence, there is no need for it not even if it will make you feel better. The effect the two poems had on me was brilliant, at first they were confusing but once I had read them a few times a fully understood what they thought about violence. The poems have a big impact on you and put things into perspective that you are very lucky and don't have to resolve to violence to make you feel better.
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