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iGCSE English lit - Poetry > My Parents > Flashcards

Flashcards in My Parents Deck (24)
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1
Q

My Parents Kept me

A

Stephen Spender

2
Q

Themes

A

Rites of passage
Conflict
Childhood

3
Q

Form

A

Written in very simple four line stanzas, reminiscent of stories read as a child at school
Four line stanza are called quatrains and these are ballad stanzas

4
Q

Language

A

While the poem describes childhood it has further more subtle connections with childhood. The speaker constructs his sentences using loose co-ordination, repeating the word ‘and’ again and again. This is how very young children tell stories. This feature makes the tone of the speakers language very child like, and other phrases in the poem seem to recall nursery rhymes and playground taunts

5
Q

Speaker

A

Adult speaker looking back on their childhood thinking about the relationship they had with their parents

6
Q

Conflict

A

There is a lot in the poem that can be linked to the idea of conflict in the poem
Obvious conflict between the speaker and the ‘rough’ children
Also conflict between the speaker and their parents
This opposition can be seen in the way that the poem shifts backwards and forwards between I/my and they/their - the different pronouns reflecting the ideas of the opposing side

7
Q

What kind of sentences are used?

A

Ones of polysyndetic nature

8
Q

“Who were rough”

A

This is very open as ‘rough’ is not clearly defined
Perhaps there is a social division taught to the boy by the over protective parents, as they introduced ideas of prejudice into the young mind of the speaker

9
Q

“Threw words like stones”

A

It seems to evoke playground rhymes such as ‘sticks and stones’ whilst at the same time (ironically) alluding to the effectiveness of the taunts

10
Q

“Who threw… who wore”

A

Is anaphora which suggest a educated correctness to the speaker’s voice, contrasting him from the ‘rough’ children

11
Q

Stephen Spender

A

Never allowed to play with poor children
Spender’s sister Christine claimed they, “Were never allowed to play with poor children because my mother regarded them as not only rough but perpetual carriers of infectious diseases’

12
Q

“Ran” “Climbed” “Stripped”

A

Strings of dynamic verbs provides the readers with images of unrestricted play and freedom desired by the soekaer

13
Q

“Their thighs showed through rags”

A

Offends the sense of propriety installed in the speaker by his over protective parents, this portrays the speaker as a very snobbish
Also suggests the physicality of the children, either intimidating the speaker or drawing him in, as he longs for their freedom

14
Q

“I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron”

A

“Tiger” is very reminiscent of nursery books and childish fears, couple with “muscles like iron” it is a very cliche simile and very child like
Furthermore he realises the children are the more real threat, however the simile suggests a sense of guarded admiration

15
Q

“Their jerking hands”

A

Here the modifier ‘jerking’ suggests a spazmodic and uncontrolled type of movement and a sense of forcefulness

16
Q

“Knees tight on my arms”

A

First introduces sense of proximity, captures speakers experiences of claustrophobic character of physical bullying, and echoes Spenders accounts of playground bullying in his own writing about his childhood

17
Q

“The salt coarse pointing”

A

Interesting image because of the synaethesia-like blurring of the senses sight and taste
Salt connotations of tears, or of rubbing salt into the wounds of the speaker
‘Salt cours(ness)’ could suggest sweat and the physical nature of the encounters
Pointing suggests being singled out by the bullies

18
Q

“Who copied my lisp behind my back”

A

Mockery
Lack of sibilant sounds throughout the poem
Speech and how it can divide people

19
Q

“They were lithe”

A

Again highlights the speakers guarded admiration

also suggests a zoomorphic comparison

20
Q

“Sprang” “Threw”

A

Again very dynamic verbs highlighting the freedoms of the rough boys
“sprang” also suggests the speakers vulnerability and being caught off guard by boy

21
Q

“Like Dogs they bark”

A

Links to lithe, dehumanises them and divests them of language, making an unbridgeable gulf between them

22
Q

“Our world”

A

Makes this a very learnt and educative insult as he heightens the idea of separate worlds and separate lives

23
Q

“I longed to forgive them”

A

Suggests an educated religiousness of the speaker reflecting Christ’s injunction to ‘turn the other cheek’ and love ones enemies

24
Q

“I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled”

A

Ambiguity of the pronoun offers two criminals to the reader the parents and the boisterous children
Longed suggests the strength of emotion
Here, the poem is transformed from being an account of bullying, to that of a broader sense of regret for all that has been withheld and denied to the speaker through the actions of the parents