Hey there! Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free
    • Thread Starter

    As above, could you please help me?
    Thanks in advance.

    A wake is the part of the funeral process that involves viewing the body on the morning of the burial. People often get the wake mixed up with the gathering of people that takes place after the burial but it is very important to the meaning of this poem that you do not get this mixed up.

    Because a ‘wake’ is a viewing of a dead body, the title adds to the tragedy of the poem by treating the old man dieing of lung cancer as if he is already deceased. If we are to take this principal further though, is every encounter with a person not a ‘wake’ of sorts, if we are all going to die eventually? Remember that we are dealing with a collection of poems in which everything is wearing away, or breaking apart in one way or another, just like Skirrid Hill itself.

    Sheers indicates to us that we are back on familiar ground (in terms of subject and location) by the fact that we are back in tercets after our brief structural foray into the experimental United States.

    The ‘two pale oceans’ used to describe the lungs are resonant with the ‘shore of the other chair’ in intermission. The sea here works as a recurring image for forces of nature which cannot be defeated and something which keeps things separate.

    Whilst death is a recurring theme in the collection, this poem offers an insight from a slightly different angle. How do doctors emotionally deal with their own terminal illness? Sheers refers to this as ‘the old curse / of too much knowledge’, another reference back to the book of Genesis where humankind’s curse is self-awareness. We are certainly arriving here at Sheers’ fleshed out conclusion that the negative areas of the human condition stem from the way that we stop ourselves from engaging with the natural world with our own inventiveness and inquisitive nature.

    The line ‘we both know there has already been a passing’ is a sign that Sheers has matured a great deal since the day he failed to recognise his father’s illness in ‘Trees’. The subtle indication here is that the collection has followed the structure of a bildungsroman and that the world has made the poet more perceptive to the lives of others.

    I have more detailed notes of like linguistic features as well if you'd like xx
Who is your favourite TV detective?
Useful resources

Make your revision easier


Ultimate Of Mice And Men Thread

Plot, context, character analysis and everything in between.


Revision Hub

All our revision materials in one place

Love books

Common grammar and vocabulary problems

Get your questions asked and answered

Useful literary websitesStudy help rules and posting guidelines

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.