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In Mrs Tilscher's Class By Carol Ann Duffy

1429 words - 6 pages

"In Mrs Tilscher's class" by Carol Ann Duffy is about rites of passage, the transition from childhood to adolescence and the things we learn at school, from our teachers and from our peers. Duffy writes this accessible poem using a variety of techniques that make it a memorable read.The opening stanza has no real hint of what is to come: Duffy shows us a typical day in Mrs. Tilscher's class:You could travel up the Blue Nilewith your finger, tracing the routewhile Mrs Tilscher chanted the scenery.Throughout the poem Duffy refers to "you"- while really she is referring to her own memories- but by writing in the second person she invites us to share her experience. The image itself tells of the ...view middle of the document...

Duffy remembers "a window [was] opened with a long pole" suggesting how embedded the experience of this class was to her, as well as the heat of the room. The familiar images are continued in the final line of the first stanza "The laugh of a bell swung by a running child" where the transferred epithet suggests the happiness remembered at the end of the lesson. Alternatively, "laughing" may be a metaphor for the vigorous ringing of the bell, once again though suggesting the joyous feeling.The start of the following stanza may be a little odd; "Better than home", but Duffy means that there was more to do and to satisfy an intelligent child's imagination than in her home. The use of the word "Enthralling" builds on this idea and suggest the magical experience of the books for her. The almost clichéd simile used in the following line: "classroom glowed like a sweetshop" suggests the simple thinking of the children as well as the sense of fun that is continued with the familiar images of "Sugar paper. Coloured shapes." Duffy then talks about how safe the classroom seemed to her as she talks about how "Brady and Hindley/ faded, like the faint, uneasy smudge of a mistake."; these outside horrors could not penetrate the classroom although like the pencil rubbing, there was till that impression of the horrors, faint as it was. The next line seems to offer the explanation as to why these horrors could not penetrate, "Mrs Tilscher loved you." simply stated in a small sentence as if the answer was obvious. This love, to the children, is clearly seen by the "good gold star" on their work and the positive sound of the line adds to the feeling of complete belief in this. This feeling of love for the classroom is seen at the end of this stanza when Duffy recalls the "scent of a pencil slowly, carefully, shaved" telling of the deliberateness of the motion and the wanting to please while the final line of this stanza goes back to recalling the fun had in Mrs Tilscher's class.Thus far in the poem there had been no sense of time moving on, until we reach the third stanza which can be described as the transition stanza in the poem, for it is in this stanza that Duffy predominately describes the slow changes that take place in the closing terms of primary. Duffy describe how the "inky tadpoles changed/ from commas into exclamation marks" where the growth of the tadpoles is reflective of the children themselves. Using punctuation as the descriptive tool tells of some of the things that children had been learning in the class but also shows a growing confidence; "exclamation marks." The following section in the stanza where the "dunce" frees the frogs hints at the trouble to come for the children are not concerned about the frogs and are instead, amused. The word choice of "hopped" creates a clear image of the movement while also suggesting the energy and fun of the...

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