jennanotion
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I'm reading this poem called the Schoolchildren (taken from iGCSE CIE world literature May 2015/02 paper) and cannot figure out what the line "As though consciousness demands pursuit"
Here is the rest of the poem for context, and all apt responses are welcome!

Like leaves startled by a gust of wind
they peel away from the tight-knit group,
one child, two, another, more,
taking flight, ruffling up the street,
blown into it, propelled into merging,
unravelling the throng,
then seeking it again, and falling into place.
Magnetism drives them apart, then pulls them together,
spilling them into the street,
then dragging them back again. Strange
how they take shape, becoming themselves.
As though consciousness demands pursuit.
They are sought out, touched, gathered in.
Nothing happens, till they face
an obstacle, one by one.
Two or three have made it,
two or three more begin to pull away,
until energy becomes infectious
and their ‘crocodile’1
dissolves,
reassembles,
and they cross the road in line. A wisp
is left behind, an enveloping tenderness,
summoning the stragglers, making them realise
the others have gone, the group
is over there now. All
as easy as a breeze,
softly, like a pattern
they come together once again
and are still
Last edited by jennanotion; 1 month ago
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Orpheusclay
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The author is implying that merely existing is something which requires effort to maintain. By its very nature, consciousness doesn't need pursuit (action) to create because it's an ongoing, inherent part of living which occurs involuntarily. Through my interpretation, the author is showing us how the schoolchildren are proactively living and purposefully engaged with their own life, as opposed to passively existing as many people do. The line also establishes a neat juxtaposition between two concepts which we don't expect to find together. Consciousness is almost invariably considered automatic, and not something which anyone has to think about each day (breathing and digestion are other physical examples).
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jennanotion
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(Original post by Orpheusclay)
The author is implying that merely existing is someth

ing which requires effort to maintain. By its very nature, consciousness doesn't need pursuit (action) to create because it's an ongoing, inherent part of living which occurs involuntarily. Through my interpretation, the author is showing us how the schoolchildren are proactively living and purposefully engaged with their own life, as opposed to passively existing as many people do. The line also establishes a neat juxtaposition between two concepts which we don't expect to find together. Consciousness is almost invariably considered automatic, and not something which anyone has to think about each day (breathing and digestion are other physical examples).
Thank you so much, that was so helpful. I was looking at each individual word without the big picture. Do you have any idea what the imagery of magnetism (and specifically magnetism) means. Like why are the children moving out and then coming closer back together
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Orpheusclay
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(Original post by jennanotion)
Thank you so much, that was so helpful. I was looking at each individual word without the big picture. Do you have any idea what the imagery of magnetism (and specifically magnetism) means. Like why are the children moving out and then coming closer back together
A magnet has opposite poles which attract each other and identical poles which repel. You could interpret the poem to be claiming that the children's similarities are being demonstrated by the magnets' tendency to push them away from one another. Perhaps the children share alike opinions, hobbies and backgrounds; the author may be trying to avoid explicitly stating this in order to encourage the reader to infer the information for themselves (using the magnets to express this).

The theme of magnetism is also commonly used to imply two people's affinity for one another. The magnet is such a powerful and virtually unavoidable force that it's strength looks generated by an entity completely out of our control (nature, the divine etc). In that sense, the magnet could be referring to an overarching presence which bonds the children together in a preordained and uncontrollable manner.
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Esther101
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Kindly dm your 'e mail' for help
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Bc23
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(Original post by Orpheusclay)
The author is implying that merely existing is something which requires effort to maintain. By its very nature, consciousness doesn't need pursuit (action) to create because it's an ongoing, inherent part of living which occurs involuntarily. Through my interpretation, the author is showing us how the schoolchildren are proactively living and purposefully engaged with their own life, as opposed to passively existing as many people do. The line also establishes a neat juxtaposition between two concepts which we don't expect to find together. Consciousness is almost invariably considered automatic, and not something which anyone has to think about each day (breathing and digestion are other physical examples).
Could you please mark my work and tell me what I should improve. What grade would you give my work.
I chose Kamikaze as my second poem.

Compare how poets present the ways people are affected by difficult experiences in "Remains" and one other poem.


Both Remains and Kamikaze explores the reality of conflict and the long term impact this has on a person through the ways in which war strips away people's humanity, dehumanising them in order to turn them into weapons of war.

Both poems emphasise the reality of war through the soldier's challenging experiences.In the poem, Kamikaze, Garland examines the effect social pressures has on a person. When setting off on his mission the Kamikaze pilot is shown to have a "flask of water,a samurai sword…, a head full of incantations". The fact that the pilot had a "samurai sword" and a "shaven head" is used to indicate how deeply engraved samurai culture is with in the military which shows how he was expected to give up his life in order to fulfill his mission. The use of the word "incantations" suggests that the Kamikaze pilot is under a spell, which in this instance the "spell" that the pilot is under is the effects of psychological conditioning from patriotism and Japanese culture, this shows how the pilot is unable to make his own decisions. Garland uses the long listing sentence to reflect how immense social pressures were for the soldiers.Moreover, the listing sentence is presented in a matter of fact tone which shows the pilot's indifference to the assortment of cultural items. This implies that the pilot felt unwilling, and therefore was pressured, to join the military as the pilot doesn't seem to have a strong sense of patriotic duty for his country. The poet begins to expose the way in which people were coerced into joining the military and were expected to give up their identity and lives for the sake of their country. In a similar way, Remains demonstrates the effect of military expectations through the way soldiers lose their individuality. Armatige uses the image of the three soldiers to present the loss of soldiers individuality. The soldiers are never mentioned by name but are referred to as "three of a kind", this makes clear their loss of individuality and humanity as they have been stripped of the aspect of what makes them human - their names. Perhaps, Armatige could have also not given the soldiers a name to highlight how this one soldier affected by this but a collection of soldiers, especially as the poem was based on the experiences of real service men.The poet shows how war has made all soldiers to think the same way, suggesting that they become emotionless beings that suspect everyone being the enemy. Both poets expose the way in which soldiers are conditioned to serve the military with blind obedience and are treated as tools of war instead of human beings.

Both poems explore struggle through soldiers' life after conflict. Armatige portrays the way trauma affects an individual after war. In Remains the speaker states that "his blood-shadow stays on the street", after he returns home from war. The long vowel sounds in this line contrasts the short vowel sounds at the begin of the poem, which is used by the poet to reflect the way the imprint of the dead body lingers in the soldier's mind. The word "shadow" suggests that his experience at war is haunting, despite leaving Iraq and cleaning the literal blood shadow, the memory of him killing the dead looter has stayed with him. The word "shadow" could also be used to reference the darker part of the human psyche which suggests that the soldier has been completely changed by his experience. This idea is reinforced by the matter of fact tone which shows the speaker's lack of emotion and highlights how the soldier has been completely desensitised to the horrors of war. Armatige shows us how only after war, soldiers begin to consider the implications of their actions and the way soldiers are altered by PTSD they have suffered as a consequence of the conflict they fought in. This allows the reader to be aware of the impact of PTSD and allows the reader to begin to question the treatment of soldiers. Contrastingly to Remains, in which an individual is affected, in Kamikaze the poet presents the ways in which a family is affected by conflict.Garland presents this through the impact the Kamikaze pilot, by not completing his mission, had on the pilot's family as well as himself. Garland states that his family treated him as though he no longer existed". This quotation is used to highlight the theme of shame, the pilot brought shame and dishonour to him and his family as he didn't complete his mission. Garland shows us how the pilot's family has been completely destroyed by conflict as although the father is alive they can never acknowledge him. Garland has included four generations in the poem to emphasise the way this conflict will keep on affecting the family. The poet also demonstrates the impact of conflict has had on the pilot through the structure of the poem. Garland uses the third person omniscient narrator to emphasise how the pilot has been completely shunned by his family and society as the reader never gets to hear the story of the pilot through his own voice. Both poets explore the theme of shame-in Remains the soldier is seen as losing his sense of self and in Kamikaze the pilot has lost his family and place in society- to highlight that conflict has long lasting impacts on people, even through the initial conflict has passed it is still very difficult, and even impossible, for soldiers to adapt to normal life.

Both Remains and Kamikaze explore the intensity of guilt. Armatige clearly presents the soldier's guilt in the last line which states "his bloody life in my bloody hands". In this quotation, Armatige alludes to Shakespeare's character, Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth demonstrates guilt through the way she constantly sees blood on her hands. This image of Lady Macbeth is used to clearly convey the soldier's endless guilt as he too feels as though the possibly innocent looter's blood is constantly on his hands. The use of the possessive pronoun "my" is used to emphasise how the soldier feels completely responsible for the looter's death.This contrasts to the beginning of the poem where the collective noun "all" is used which suggests that the speaker is trying to shift the blame onto the other soldiers in order to reduce guilt and the painful memories that come with it.Armitage also uses the plosive "B" sound in "bloody", which functions almost like a physical punch to these painful memories as they pierce the conscience of the soldier and disrupt his every aspect of his life. This idea further alludes to the serious reality of soldiers suffering from PTSD and the huge impact this has on their life.This quotation coupled with the blood motif is used by the poet to demonstrate how the soldier can not remove the image of blood from his mind, and how the soldier's guilt will stain his soul forever; nothing, including substance abuse, can get rid of the metaphorical stain. Likewise, in Kamikaze, Garland clearly demonstrates the pilot's guilt in the last lines of the poem which states, "he must have wondered which had been the better way to die. ". By ending the poem with this quotation, Garland emphasises how the guilt from not carrying out his mission and dishonoring his family had an immense impact on the soldier. The use of the cesura at the end of the line could highlight the way in which the pilot feels trapped by his own guilt, as there isn't any enjambment which is sometimes used to signify freedom.The poet clearly demonstrates the way in which the pilot has been severely affected by guilt through how the pilot's guilt torments the pilot as he is left wishing that he had died as a Kamikaze instead of metaphorically dying.Both poems clearly highlight how guilt consumes a soldier as they are left to deal with conflicting emotions that haunt soldiers for the rest of their lives.

Both Armatige and Garland use structure to reflect an attempt to control conflicting emotions. In Kamikaze, Garland deliberately shifts from third person to first person in order to reflect the way the pilot's daughter tries to deal with her conflicting emotions about her father. This shift in narration from third person to first person acts as a volta and signifies a dramatic shift from external to internal, which shows how this is a personal memory for her.This suggests that the daughter is trying to empathise with her father, which allows some of the daughter's inner conflict to be eased.Where as, in Remains the soldier is less successful in controlling his conflicting emotions, this is shown by the couplet at the end of the poem.Armatige uses this irregular stanza at the end of the poem to perhaps reflect how the soldier is unable to control his PTSD, which suggests that the soldier has been permanently affected by his traumatic memories- he is unable to subdue his internal conflict and will continue to be tortured by his painful memories of war.

Overall, both poems clearly highlight guilt from war and the devastating ways in which people are affected by war.Kamikaze acts as a mouthpiece to ventriloquise and expose the reality for the Japanese soldiers through the consequences, on the individual as well as the community, behind not obliging to Japanese culture and expectations. While in Remains, Armatige warns society about the impact of war on the human psyche and the lasting effect it has on soldiers- as soon as the soldiers have finished serving their country they are discarded and left to deal with the devastating impacts on their own.
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Orpheusclay
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(Original post by Bc23)
Could you please mark my work and tell me what I should improve. What grade would you give my work.
I chose Kamikaze as my second poem.

Compare how poets present the ways people are affected by difficult experiences in "Remains" and one other poem.


Both Remains and Kamikaze explores the reality of conflict and the long term impact this has on a person through the ways in which war strips away people's humanity, dehumanising them in order to turn them into weapons of war.

Both poems emphasise the reality of war through the soldier's challenging experiences.In the poem, Kamikaze, Garland examines the effect social pressures has on a person. When setting off on his mission the Kamikaze pilot is shown to have a "flask of water,a samurai sword…, a head full of incantations". The fact that the pilot had a "samurai sword" and a "shaven head" is used to indicate how deeply engraved samurai culture is with in the military which shows how he was expected to give up his life in order to fulfill his mission. The use of the word "incantations" suggests that the Kamikaze pilot is under a spell, which in this instance the "spell" that the pilot is under is the effects of psychological conditioning from patriotism and Japanese culture, this shows how the pilot is unable to make his own decisions. Garland uses the long listing sentence to reflect how immense social pressures were for the soldiers.Moreover, the listing sentence is presented in a matter of fact tone which shows the pilot's indifference to the assortment of cultural items. This implies that the pilot felt unwilling, and therefore was pressured, to join the military as the pilot doesn't seem to have a strong sense of patriotic duty for his country. The poet begins to expose the way in which people were coerced into joining the military and were expected to give up their identity and lives for the sake of their country. In a similar way, Remains demonstrates the effect of military expectations through the way soldiers lose their individuality. Armatige uses the image of the three soldiers to present the loss of soldiers individuality. The soldiers are never mentioned by name but are referred to as "three of a kind", this makes clear their loss of individuality and humanity as they have been stripped of the aspect of what makes them human - their names. Perhaps, Armatige could have also not given the soldiers a name to highlight how this one soldier affected by this but a collection of soldiers, especially as the poem was based on the experiences of real service men.The poet shows how war has made all soldiers to think the same way, suggesting that they become emotionless beings that suspect everyone being the enemy. Both poets expose the way in which soldiers are conditioned to serve the military with blind obedience and are treated as tools of war instead of human beings.

Both poems explore struggle through soldiers' life after conflict. Armatige portrays the way trauma affects an individual after war. In Remains the speaker states that "his blood-shadow stays on the street", after he returns home from war. The long vowel sounds in this line contrasts the short vowel sounds at the begin of the poem, which is used by the poet to reflect the way the imprint of the dead body lingers in the soldier's mind. The word "shadow" suggests that his experience at war is haunting, despite leaving Iraq and cleaning the literal blood shadow, the memory of him killing the dead looter has stayed with him. The word "shadow" could also be used to reference the darker part of the human psyche which suggests that the soldier has been completely changed by his experience. This idea is reinforced by the matter of fact tone which shows the speaker's lack of emotion and highlights how the soldier has been completely desensitised to the horrors of war. Armatige shows us how only after war, soldiers begin to consider the implications of their actions and the way soldiers are altered by PTSD they have suffered as a consequence of the conflict they fought in. This allows the reader to be aware of the impact of PTSD and allows the reader to begin to question the treatment of soldiers. Contrastingly to Remains, in which an individual is affected, in Kamikaze the poet presents the ways in which a family is affected by conflict.Garland presents this through the impact the Kamikaze pilot, by not completing his mission, had on the pilot's family as well as himself. Garland states that his family treated him as though he no longer existed". This quotation is used to highlight the theme of shame, the pilot brought shame and dishonour to him and his family as he didn't complete his mission. Garland shows us how the pilot's family has been completely destroyed by conflict as although the father is alive they can never acknowledge him. Garland has included four generations in the poem to emphasise the way this conflict will keep on affecting the family. The poet also demonstrates the impact of conflict has had on the pilot through the structure of the poem. Garland uses the third person omniscient narrator to emphasise how the pilot has been completely shunned by his family and society as the reader never gets to hear the story of the pilot through his own voice. Both poets explore the theme of shame-in Remains the soldier is seen as losing his sense of self and in Kamikaze the pilot has lost his family and place in society- to highlight that conflict has long lasting impacts on people, even through the initial conflict has passed it is still very difficult, and even impossible, for soldiers to adapt to normal life.

Both Remains and Kamikaze explore the intensity of guilt. Armatige clearly presents the soldier's guilt in the last line which states "his bloody life in my bloody hands". In this quotation, Armatige alludes to Shakespeare's character, Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth demonstrates guilt through the way she constantly sees blood on her hands. This image of Lady Macbeth is used to clearly convey the soldier's endless guilt as he too feels as though the possibly innocent looter's blood is constantly on his hands. The use of the possessive pronoun "my" is used to emphasise how the soldier feels completely responsible for the looter's death.This contrasts to the beginning of the poem where the collective noun "all" is used which suggests that the speaker is trying to shift the blame onto the other soldiers in order to reduce guilt and the painful memories that come with it.Armitage also uses the plosive "B" sound in "bloody", which functions almost like a physical punch to these painful memories as they pierce the conscience of the soldier and disrupt his every aspect of his life. This idea further alludes to the serious reality of soldiers suffering from PTSD and the huge impact this has on their life.This quotation coupled with the blood motif is used by the poet to demonstrate how the soldier can not remove the image of blood from his mind, and how the soldier's guilt will stain his soul forever; nothing, including substance abuse, can get rid of the metaphorical stain. Likewise, in Kamikaze, Garland clearly demonstrates the pilot's guilt in the last lines of the poem which states, "he must have wondered which had been the better way to die. ". By ending the poem with this quotation, Garland emphasises how the guilt from not carrying out his mission and dishonoring his family had an immense impact on the soldier. The use of the cesura at the end of the line could highlight the way in which the pilot feels trapped by his own guilt, as there isn't any enjambment which is sometimes used to signify freedom.The poet clearly demonstrates the way in which the pilot has been severely affected by guilt through how the pilot's guilt torments the pilot as he is left wishing that he had died as a Kamikaze instead of metaphorically dying.Both poems clearly highlight how guilt consumes a soldier as they are left to deal with conflicting emotions that haunt soldiers for the rest of their lives.

Both Armatige and Garland use structure to reflect an attempt to control conflicting emotions. In Kamikaze, Garland deliberately shifts from third person to first person in order to reflect the way the pilot's daughter tries to deal with her conflicting emotions about her father. This shift in narration from third person to first person acts as a volta and signifies a dramatic shift from external to internal, which shows how this is a personal memory for her.This suggests that the daughter is trying to empathise with her father, which allows some of the daughter's inner conflict to be eased.Where as, in Remains the soldier is less successful in controlling his conflicting emotions, this is shown by the couplet at the end of the poem.Armatige uses this irregular stanza at the end of the poem to perhaps reflect how the soldier is unable to control his PTSD, which suggests that the soldier has been permanently affected by his traumatic memories- he is unable to subdue his internal conflict and will continue to be tortured by his painful memories of war.

Overall, both poems clearly highlight guilt from war and the devastating ways in which people are affected by war.Kamikaze acts as a mouthpiece to ventriloquise and expose the reality for the Japanese soldiers through the consequences, on the individual as well as the community, behind not obliging to Japanese culture and expectations. While in Remains, Armatige warns society about the impact of war on the human psyche and the lasting effect it has on soldiers- as soon as the soldiers have finished serving their country they are discarded and left to deal with the devastating impacts on their own.
Hello,

I need to clarify that I'm not a qualified teacher and I'm therefore incapable of providing you with an accurate assessment of your work. I don't have a rubric or examination criteria to judge your writing, and it could be misleading to assess anything which I don't have the wherewithal to evaluate.
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Bc23
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(Original post by Orpheusclay)
Hello,

I need to clarify that I'm not a qualified teacher and I'm therefore incapable of providing you with an accurate assessment of your work. I don't have a rubric or examination criteria to judge your writing, and it could be misleading to assess anything which I don't have the wherewithal to evaluate.
Thats ok i just need to know on what i can improve.
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