In ‘Education for Leisure’, written by Carol Ann Duffy, the reader gets the impression the person in the poem is disturbed. They go on a killing spree, starting with whatever they can find, after “there is nothing left to kill” they get a knife and go outside, however the reader does not know what happens next.
The person in the poem feels resentment when people ignore them: “I have had enough of being ignored”. This makes the reader think that they have bin rejected and that they are now bitter about it. They say, “They don’t appreciate my autograph” which makes the reader think that the person in the poem wants to be famous, however is instead ignored. This is quite contrasting, as the person in the poem is very arrogant. “I am a genius”; “I could be anything at all”. Also many of the lines begin with “I” which shows how they talk about themselves a lot. So this could be why they are so confused, the person thinks very highly of itself however no one else seems to.
A major theme in this poem in death and killing. They kill a fly and a fish, which makes the person in the poem feel powerful and intelligent; also maybe a cry for attention. However, the reader can see a lack of intelligence by the use of colloquial language: “I pour the goldfish down the bog”. Death is also a key theme in ‘Hitcher’ by Simon Armitage.
In this poem, the narrator picks up a hitchhiker. However he beats him up, whilst driving and then throws him out of the car. “You can walk from there”
At the beginning of the poem the narrator is stressed, which contrasts to the end of the poem where he is much more relaxed; after killing the hitchhiker. Like in ‘Education for Leisure’ the narrator boasts when saying how he “didn’t even swerve”. Throughout the poem there are many inappropriate remarks about how the hitcher was “bouncing off the kerb”. The fact that he says these sick jokes in such a casual way is quite disturbing; it seems as though its not a big deal, like with ‘Education for Leisure’ the person in the poem does no care what they kill, as long as they kill something.
Both poems have five stanzas. They both feature enjambment and caesura throughout to show the lack of control; along with a narrative structure and in 1st person.
Both poems are about death. The person in each of the poems ends up killing at least one thing, whether it’s an animal or a person; once they have murdered they get a sick pleasure and satisfaction.
Compare the ways in which the attitudes of the speakers are presented in two poems from the pre 1914 poetry bank
In ‘The Laboratory’ the woman feels very angry towards her husband/lover and his new mistress. She feels as though they have made a fool of her: “they laugh, laugh at me”. She is jealous; her lover is having an affair with some one else. Jealousy is also featured in ‘My Last Duchess’. The Duke suggested that his Duchess flirted with everyone: “all and each would draw from her alike the approving speech, or blush, at least”. Therefore is jealous that her attention is not on him all the time.
In both poems, jealousy ends in death. In ‘The Laboratory’ she poisons the new mistress and wants it to be painful: “let death be felt”, she also wants revenge on her lover for being unfaithful: “He is sure to remember her dying face!” She wants her lover to see his mistress when she dies, which shows the extent of jealousy she has. In ‘My Last Duchess’ there is a sinister tone, which makes the reader suspect that he killed his Duchess: “as if she were alive” implies that she is dead now. Also when the Duke says: “all smiles stopped all together” the reader is very suspicious of him. His tone suggests he was satisfied with the results of his “commands”.