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Thread: Need HELP! ASAP- POEM "PORTRAIT" AND "EXAMINER"

  1. #1
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    Need HELP! ASAP- POEM "PORTRAIT" AND "EXAMINER"

    I really need help with these two poems. I have researched and decoded as much as I can
    but I'm not very good with poems like these.
    I am suppose to find similarities and differences between the theme of the two poems.
    I wrote that both poems say that all children have passion and creativity but the galvanization of education stamps them out as they joint he race to succeed. I'm not sure if this is correct..
    I have many questions and I would really appreciate if someone who is good with English can assist me.



    Poem: Portrait by Anne Marriott, & Examiner by F.R Scott

    Portrait:
    Book-thin behind the desk
    with fingers rigid as pencils she stamps
    stacks returns, read or unread
    she cares not.
    Bloodless as paper she, and lifeless as dead words on dull binding are her eyes,
    looking not in or out, only seeing
    date-print on card and flyleaf;
    and mute
    as volumes never off the shelves her tongue -
    the rubbered pencils used to point
    the novel overdue she scanty fine.

    O life - love - something - burst the resisting doors -
    ignore the silence sign - vault the tall desk
    and on her locked blank pages
    write a living tale.



    Examiner:
    The routine trickery of the examination
    Baffles these hot and discouraged youths.
    Driven by they know not what external pressure,
    they pour their hated self-analysis
    through the nib of confession, onto the accusatory page.

    I, who have plotted their immediate downfall,
    I am entrusted with the divine categories,
    ABCD and the hell of E
    the parade of prize and the backdoor of pass.

    In the tight silence
    Standing by a green grass window
    Watching the fertile earth graduate its sons
    with more compassion - not commanding the shape
    of stem and stamen, bringing the trees to pass
    by shift of sunlight and increase of rain,
    for each seed the whole soil, for the inner life
    the environment receptive and contributory -
    I shudder at the narrow frames of our text-book schools
    In which we plant our so various seedlings.
    Each brick-walled barracks cut into numbered rooms, black-boarded,
    Ties the venturing shoot to the master's stick;
    The screw-desk rows of lads and girls
    Subdued in the shade of an adult-
    their acid subsoil-
    shape the new to the old in the ashen garden.

    Shall we open the whole skylight of thought
    to these tiptoe minds, bring them our frontier worlds
    and the boundless uplands of art for their field of growth?
    or shall we pass them the chosen poems with the foot-notes,
    ring the bell on their thoughts, period their play,
    make laws for averages and plans for means,
    print one history book for a while province, and
    let ninety thousand reach page 10 by Tuesday?

    As I gather the inadequate paper evidence, I hear
    across the neat campus lawn
    The professional mowers drone, clipping the inch- high green.

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    Both poems are portraits

    1/ compare how the poets make their comparison of their subject. What language do they use, and devices & how effective are they?

    2/ Both poems compare academic/literary life with an alternative "o love - life - something - burst the resisting doors" & "Shall we open the whole skylight of thought". What do they mean here? A sense of "otherness" or escape or an alternative way is common in poems. What do you think they mean in these poems, and how do the poets describe them?

  3. #3
    I am suppose[d] to find similarities and differences between the theme of the two poems. I wrote that both poems say that all children have passion and creativity but the galvanization of education stamps them out as they joint he race to succeed. I'm not sure if this is correct..

    Sounds like you are asking for advice on a homework assignment. I'm not sure if LitNet members are allowed to give such advice, but since I'm not sure I'll go ahead for now.

    The first poem is not about children at all. It describes a presumably adult female librarian checking off returned library lending slips. She does so mechanically, without displaying any sort of human interest or emotion. The poet laments her cold mechanical behavior and seems to wish that she would display more emotion.

    The second poem is about children taking exams, who ...pour their hated self-analysis/through the nib of confession, onto the accusatory page. BTW, that's a really fine image... More important, the poem is spoken from the point of view of the students' teacher, who has to grade their exams. He mentions grades A, B,C,D, and E. Here in the USA we don't use E. The next grade down from D is "F." The poet laments the restrictive sterile nature of schools that seem to take the life and joy out of learning, and examinations that perpetuate this academic sterility. The poet uses an extended metaphor in which he compares the education of students to the horticultural care of plants.

    If there is a connection between the two poems it is that the librarian of the first poem can be seen as a "dead" product of the education of the students described in the second poem.

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    Bibliophile JBI's Avatar
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    I don't know the first one, but Scott's work is not in the public domain, and should not be posted here. Interesting that someone would assign the Canadian modernist though.

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    Registered User Calidore's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nick Capozzoli View Post
    Sounds like you are asking for advice on a homework assignment. I'm not sure if LitNet members are allowed to give such advice, but since I'm not sure I'll go ahead for now.
    I don't know if it's an issue of "allowed to" or not, but I think it would be bad for this place to become known as somewhere lazy students can go to get their work done for them. Nudges, pointers, and feedback, absolutely, but outright answers to questions they don't want to bother answering themselves, no.
    You must be the change you wish to see in the world. -- Mahatma Gandhi

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Calidore View Post
    I don't know if it's an issue of "allowed to" or not, but I think it would be bad for this place to become known as somewhere lazy students can go to get their work done for them. Nudges, pointers, and feedback, absolutely, but outright answers to questions they don't want to bother answering themselves, no.
    Agreed. I assumed that the OP was just reaching out for "feedback" and "pointers." Let's see what "Insane" has to say.

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    In both poems, the automatons of the scholastic domain are trapped in the vestiges of decorum. The librarian mechanically performs her mundane tasks, but never escapes into the world of adventuresome experiences. Her world is a collage of spent works that are recycled over and over. In the second poem, the school kids are melded to their cookie cutter classrooms and their sterile text books. Both poems are an indictment of the formal, bland process of institutional learning.

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    I like the second poem. It is clever linguistically (alliteration, puns etc.). It is thoughtful without being radically so. The examiner is conscious of a certain sterility in the machine that is public education - and his part in it. Just another brick in the wall I guess. The ending is symbolic. Symbol more of a feeling than a thought. Yep, a good poem that one. Though I actually am not convinced by the intellectual premise. Shouldn't that read "whole province" by the way.

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