Part 2. Project 4. Exercise 2

‘He’, the man and ‘the boy’ are nameless. Why? Does their anonymity change the way we feel about the characters? Can we still care about them without names? Do they still have an identity without a name?

The anonymity of the two characters does not affect how I (as the reader) feel about them. What it does serve to do is to put the focus onto the situation in which they find themselves. The atmosphere is quite apparent even in such a relatively short extract, this is reinforced by the characters behavior, their watching of the road and the awareness of the potential need to run. In my opinion the two characters do still have identity without names, they dont need names whilst they have descriptors, over time their individual characters would emerge.

How can we tell they’re in danger? Are they fleeing the danger or do they expect to encounter it along the way? What sort of danger? Human? Animal? Elemental?

We can tell the two characters are in danger from a couple of references within the text. One is that the man is watching the road behind them, this implies that he expects danger from behind. The reference to him watching the road implies that the danger is to come from other humans. Animals and weather do not use roads, only humans would find that natural.

Another reference that alerts us to their potential peril is the idea that they have to be ready to abandon the cart and run away. This implies that peril could also lie along their route, maybe from bandits or outlaws.

More subtle references to the idea that they are in a hostile environment come from descriptions of the ‘gunmetal light’ and ‘shuffling through the ash’.

The chrome motorcycle mirror tells us the time is roughly contemporary. So whats happened to the rest of the recognisable contemporary world? Or is it a story set in the future? Post-apocalypse maybe?

To me the most likely scenario is that it is a post-apocalyptic environment such as in Mad Max. Other options could include refugees fleeing from a natural disaster. Humans really show their true colours when recognised infrastructure is destroyed, hence the looting which always follows newsworthy events. The two characters could potentially just be fleeing to safety from something like an earthquake or volcano eruption.

What makes me lean towards the post-apocalyptic scenario is the complete lack of mention of th wider world, the trudging through ash, the light being gunmetal grey and the two characters being described as ‘each the others world entire’.

They are alone. ‘The road was empty’. Where is everyone? Why are they scared if no-one is around? Because no-one is around? Because someone might be around?

If two characters are walking down a road with no people, and they are scared, it makes sense that they are scared about the potential of other people. Having previously established they they are unlikely to be fearing the arrival of an animal or the weather, that leaves other humans as the only potential issue. This could be relevant to the event that they find themselves involved with, the time of day they are travelling or even the territory that they are crossing.

There’s been some sort of disaster: ‘wasted country….dead reeds…shuffling through the ash… What sort of disaster might it be?

This could be a natural disaster such as post-wildfire or volcaneo eruption. It could be man made such as in the middle of a war zone or post-atomic bomb or even in a few decades time when overpopulation has destroyed the planet.

They’re on a journey with everything they own. Where are they going? Where have they come from?

When people move with everything they own in a manner like this then they are fleeing some kind of inhopsitable environment in search of some kind of sanctuary. We do not know anything more specific than that.

The road is mentioned three times in these few lines. It is also the title of the book. What does it symbolise?

The road symbolises the journey that these characters are on. This could prove to be a physical, emotional or metaphorical journey. This could prove to be a journey for the reader as well as the characters potentially?

Can you spot any poetic devices in this short passage? What effect do they have?

Looking at this passage I can immediatly see a couple of metaphors; ‘serpentine river’ and ‘gunmetal light’. I can only see the one simile ‘each others world entire’. These three poetic devices all add to the overall atmosphere, Particularly the ‘gunmetal’ light.I don’t know if this counts as a poetic device but the length of some of the sentences assists with the narrative effect. The short length of the sentences makes it feel more precise, more measured, more as though the two characters are moving with purpose rather than dawdling. The atmosphere is definitely one of motion and survival rather than static contentment.

What other stylistic language choices does McCarthy make and why? Why might he not punctuate speech?

I’m not sure what the question means by ‘punctuate speech’. I think it means, why did he not use punctuation in the line which contains speech? Possibly the lack of speech marks? If that is the case then I would suggest that it’s potentially to keep the reading of the piece quite smooth? When a character speaks it normally brings all attention from the atmosphere onto whatever the character is talking about, if this is not the intent of the author then that could be a reason why he has not punctuated speech?

If the question means why is the scene not punctuated by more speech then that is easier to answer. In relatively few words the author has created a strong moody atmosphere, interrupting this with a conversation would certainly detract from the sense of place already generated.

What features give us a sense of where we are? How does McCarthy create a post-apocalyptic world? Would the impact be the same if he were to remove the man and the boy? Look carefully at the imagery, for example the grey ‘serpentine of the river’ and ‘the gunmetal light’. What is it about the choice of metaphor that creates a sense of danger? What does the serpentine symbolise? Think biblical perhaps. What effect will biblical and religious imagery, themes and symbols have in this genre of writing?

There are a couple of descriptive lines which give us a sense of where we are. The main setting is a road, this is mentioned several times within the text. We are in the middle of nowhere, no discernible features of human life. This is shown by the road being empty, and when the man does look around, it is into the valley at the serpentine river below. The mention of a valley and a river further generates thoughts of being in the countryside,though a devastated countryside as it is described both as ‘wasted country’ and of our characters trudging through ‘ash’.

McCarthy creates a post-apocalyptic world by referring to the emptiness around the characters, the absence of life and the absence of colour. A gunmetal grey light could be put down to it being near twilight, but to be trudging through ash, that puts a more apocalyptic twist onto the events.

If McCarthy were to remove the man and the boy the effect would not be the same. Reading about a dead, dangerous environment with no people might be a little interesting but nowhere near as engaging as knowing that this in the environment that our characters are stuck inside. The reader can relate to the characters, natural human empathy makes the reader want any character in danger to survive and triumph after defeating their obstacles. A character having to engage with a hostile environment is interesting, that hostile environment by itself is not.

The use of imagery and word choice such as ‘gunmetal’ and ‘serpentine’ makes the whole scenario lean toward that of life and death. A gun as a weapon is not a tool of negotiation. Serpentine, snake, leads back to the story of the garden of Eden where the snake lured Eve astray. Ever since the snake has been associated with distrust, lies, and in some countries, death. Serpentine in this use further adds to the impression that this environment is hostile to our characters and not somewhere that they should linger.

It is a common theme in apocalyptic films and series for there to be a lot of religious and biblical themes and symbols. The Old Testament was full of all the sex and violence that even Hollywood can only aspire to. Biblical symbols are always bigger, cruder and somehow more to the point which makes them ideal for inclusion.

What’s the prose style like? Are the sentences long or short? Are they rhythmic or choppy or stark? What impact does this have? Is the language complex or simple? Often the more dramatic or dark a piece is, the more simple and stripped back the prose. Why might this be? What would be the effect of more flowing, colourful and detailed prose?

The sentences within this extract are all quite short. I would have expected this approach to make it choppy but instead I find it quite smooth to read. I do find that it contributes to the sense of danger of the situation. As a reader I am very aware that these characters are moving with purpose, they are focused and on the alert for further danger.

Stripping back the prose sets the tone of the piece. If it was more flowing and colourful in the descriptions of the wasted land or serpentine river then attention is drawn from the main focus of the extract, the place and situation that our characters find themselves in.

This works well in conjunction with using simple language. We are frequently told at work that if we want someone to understand a message then to use as simple language as is possible. Using simple language will further aid the reader in being able to focus purely on the situation being described in the text, the plight of the characters.

How does it all make you feel?

I feel like I’m on the side of the man and boy characters features. Within this short excerpt I have already brought into their story, I want to know why they are on the road, what they are running from and wether they actually have a plan.

The environment that they are in feels hostile to me, it feels like there has been some kind of a disaster and that society has broken down. It seems as though they are surrounded by devastation but if they are still walking then they still have hope. I always love cheering for an underdog, and these two look like they fit the bill perfectly!


Part 2. Project 4. Exercise 1

In this exercise I am to re-write a few lines of the extract from ‘The Road’ using different types of narrator.

Original – He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things in case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them.

First Person – I pushed the cart. The boy and I both carried knapsacks, the straps cutting into our shoulders. We couldn’t lighten them, they contained the essential things we would need in case we had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror we had salvaged. I kept one eye on it, the road behind us. The handles were heavy in my sweaty palms, with tired arms I lowered my head and pushed on.

Second Person – You pushed the cart and both you and the boy carry knapsacks. In the knapsacks are essential things in case you have to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart is a chrome motorcycle mirror that you use to watch the road behind you.

If McCarthy had chosen the third person limited point of view, think about the difference between telling the story from the boys POV or the mans.

If McCarthy had chosen a third person limited point of view then he would only have been able to tell us the thoughts and feelings of one character. For this to work well he would have had to focus on just one character throughout the story as opposed to giving the pair equal importance. It would also mean that the relationship between the two could not be fully explored, there are two sides to every story!

What impact does changing the narrator have on the story? Why do you think McCarthy chose to use an omniscient narrator?

I think the ability of the omniscient narrator to know and see everything gives a lot of stories a significant advantage. It gives the author more options in exploring relationships and interplay between the characters making them more multi-faceted.

In this initial extract it also provides more mood. The reader does not know anything else about these characters, not even their names. The only information that we have is their setting, because of this, this is what we focus on. We start to wonder about their circumstances, whay are they in the position that we find them in? What are they running from or too?

Part 2. Project 4. Shimabuku’s Cucumber Journey

My first task within this project is to read chapter ‘Room Seven: Itinerancy’ of the course set textbook with focus on the ‘Cucumber Journey’. I am to examine how time, place and journey have an impact on the work.

Firstly, even after having completed the initial module on contemporary art, I do not see how pickling vegetables whilst travelling on a canal is art. I just can’t wrap my head around it. Seriously, is this one of those questions that they post in newspapers as recruitment advertisements for Mi5?

  The last line on page 156 summed up for me the ludicrous nature of this as an item of art, ‘the pickles will begin a new journey in peoples bodies’. There is probably a school of thought that as the pickle is broken down by the bodies enzymes and turned into kinetic energy that we use that energy to plant crops of new cucumbers and so a cycle of life is complete. There is also a school of thought that the Earth is flat and magic is real, but, I will try…

  Time is of relevance to this piece because with the passing of time not only the location but the form of vegetable itself changes. As the canal boat travels from London to Birmingham so the cucumber travels from a fresh state to a pickled one. This is reminiscent of how people travel through life, fresh and ‘green’ as described by Dylan Thomas in ‘Fern Hill’ , and, with the passing of time as they complete lifes journey, they slowly pickle in a marinade of experience and outside influence until they die and are returned to the soil. (To fertilise new crops of cucumbers I have no doubt…). One could argue that if a pickled cucumber is what exists when the canal boat reaches Birmingham, was there ever a fresh cucumber in London? With each passing moment the cucumber steadily ages, in this case in an artificially speeded up process. This could be seen as a reflection of society today. We live in a consumerist culture where companies are concerned only about making money and stress related mental health issues are at their peak, are we all being pickled in the vinegar of our everyday lives? The only way I can see that Place would be of relevance is to reiterate that in each location the cucumber was in a different form? In London it was a fresh vegetable, in Birmingham it was a cucumber. During the journey of the canal boat so too was taking place the journey of the cucumber?

Part 2. Project 3. Exercise 3

For this exercise I am to carry out a close reading of Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas. I am then to answer the following questions;

  • What’s the mood of the poem? How does it make you feel?
  • What poetic devices does Thomas use and what effect do they have on the poem?
  • How do the poetic devices help to evoke the sense of time and place? Can you identify any other theme running through this poem?
  • What is the poem saying about itme and place? (and any other theme you’ve identified)
  • What lines or images stay with you? What do they remind you of or how do they make you feel?
  • Whats the rhythm like? Is it choppy or is it flowing and smooth? How does they rhthym ipact on the poem?
  • Is the ‘speaker’ important? What are his views? Are they apparent or inferred?
  • Are there any lines that you don’t get? Can you hazard a guess as to what they mean or allude too?

Thomas, D. and Thomas, F. (2019). Fern Hill Poem by Dylan Thomas – Poem Hunter. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

To try and show where I have identified poetic devices I have used a combination of italics or bold writing on each line. The poetic device identified is then in brackets.

Fern Hill – Poem by Dylan Thomas

Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green, (similie), (alliteration)
The night above the dingle starry,
Time let me (personification) hail and climb
Golden in the heydays of his eyes, (personification)
And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns (metaphor)
And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
Trail with daisies and barley
Down the rivers of the windfall light.

And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns (metaphor)
About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home (similie)
In the sun that is young once only,
Time let me (personification)  play and be
Golden in the mercy of his means, (personification) , (alliteration)
And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman (metaphor), (alliteration) the calves
Sang to my horn (similie), the foxes on the hills barked clear and
And the sabbath rang slowly (metaphor)
In the pebbles of the holy streams.

All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
Fields high as the house (alliteration) (metaphor) , the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
And playing, lovely and watery
And fire green as grass.  (alliteration) (metaphor)
And nightly under the simple stars (alliteration)
As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
Flying with the ricks, and the horses
Flashing into the dark.

And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white (similie), (alliteration)
With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder (personification): it was all
Shining, it was Adam and maiden, (metaphor)
The sky gathered again
And the sun grew round that very day.
So it must have been after the birth of the simple light (similie)
In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking
warm , (alliteration)
Out of the whinnying green stable
On to the fields of praise. (similie)

And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long, (similie)
In the sun born over and over,
I ran my heedless ways,
My wishes raced through the house high hay (metaphor)
And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
In all his tuneful turning (personification) so few and such morning songs
Before the childrengreen and golden (alliteration)
Follow him out of grace. (personification)

Nothing I cared, in the lamb white (metaphor) days, that time would
take me
Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
In the moon that is always rising,
Nor that riding to sleep
I should hear him fly with (personification) the high fields
And wake to the farm forever fled from (alliteration) the childless land.
Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
Time held me green and dying (personification)
Though I sang in my chains like the sea. (similie)

  • Similie –  8
  • Metaphor – 8
  • Personification – 9
  • Alliteration – 12

Whats the mood of the poem?How does it make you feel?

The initial verses of the poem depict fond childhood memories. They seem to rotate around time spent growing up in the countryside, I grew up in the countryside myself so I can understand the sense of freedom and happiness that Dylan puts across.

  As the poem moves into verse 4 the mood of the poem starts to shift. ‘Fern Hill’ seems to depict an entire life cycle within it’s verses. Verse 4 is where I get the first sense of Autumn setting in, the rhythm of the poem seems to subtly speed up although I can’t quite put my finger on why I get that impression!

  The poem makes me feel sad. It reminds me of the awesome childhood I had and that, for me, further reinforces the sense that I have wasted years of my life in military engineering. It’s to start escaping from that, that I signed up for a Creative Arts degree! It won’t be the complete answer but I’m hoping it’ll be a gateway qualification into something a lot more satisfying. So for me personally, reading this poem is like rubbing salt in a wound, not an experience I enjoy.

  • What poetic devices does Thomas use and what effect do they have on the poem?

There are several poetic devices within this poem which I managed to spot. I can sense that there are others which are currently alluding me so I will keep coming back to it.

  The use of alliteration and personification is most prevalent (from what I’ve picked out so far). The use of personification in relation to the figure ‘time’ describes it as something of a kindly protector, reminds me of an Uncle? Something which allows the author of the poem to enjoy the freedom of the childhood at Fern Hill without the imposition of the outside world ruining that innocent era.

  The alliteration seems, to me, to be where I would normally expect to see more obvious rhyming words? Maybe it’s being used to have a similar effect?

  The metaphors and similes are used to increase the engagement of the reader with the authors narrative. By describing feelings and attitudes of youth with metaphor it becomes something more easily imaginable and identifiable by the reader.

  • How do the poetic devices help to evoke the sense of time and place? Can you identify any other theme running through this poem?

Time and place are key themes to this poem, in addition to this I also feel that Nostalgia plays a strong part.

 The description of childhood sensations and experiences through the use of simile and metaphor allow the reader to very easily identify with the author at the approximate age the poem is set at, the spring of youth.

  • What is the poem saying about time and place? (and any other theme you’ve identified)

The poem is saying that time passes, that while you sleep, both literally and metaphorically, seasons pass and time goes on. Place is somewhere that can be immortalised in memory even though the passage of time may render that place a different experience. An example of this is Chernobyl. Chernobyl was once a thriving vibrant community but due to just one event, the idea of the place will forever be associated with one particular moment in time until perhaps we have moved beyond living memory.

 Nostalgia can be both a blessing and a curse. In this poem, it seems to be a blessing. The reminiscing of the experience at Fern Hill is described as a golden age, and not one to be mourned, for without it there would be no author to tell the story.

  • What lines or images stay with you? What do they remind you of or how do they make you feel?

After reading the poem I am left with an image of a sun-soaked countryside farm with animals, trees to climb, wildflowers growing and big open skies. The poem reminds me of growing up in the countryside, of long summers and endless possibilities. It makes me feel homesick (I’m currently working through this module sat on a desolate barren island in the South Atlantic) and nostalgic in equal measure.

  • What’s the rhythm like? Is it choppy or is it flowing and smooth? How does they rhythm impact on the poem?

The rhythm of the poem is smooth but it does get faster as the verses go on. I couldn’t figure out why so I did some further reading on the Internet. At the webpage address I read that it is the frequent use of the word ‘and’ at the start of sentences that contributes to the speed of the verse. In the article it is likened to a child gabbling through a tory in order to tell the entire tale.

  • Is the ‘speaker’ important? What are his views? Are they apparent or inferred?

The speaker is essential to the poem. Fern Hill is a poem about childhood memory and nostalgia told from the viewpoint of the author, without the ‘speaker’ there is nothing to the poem.

  The views of the speaker are apparent rather than inferred. Word choice throughout the whole piece describes the time and place of Fern Hill as being a positive experience. Specific word choices such as ‘green and carefree’, and ‘happy as the heart was long’ confirm this overall impression of positivity.

  • Are there any lines that you don’t get? Can you hazard a guess as to what they mean or allude too?

There were a couple of lines which I did not understand.

  1. The night above the dingle starry, – I Google searched the word ‘dingle to discover that it means a small wooded hollow.
  2. blessed among stables, the nightjars flying with the ricks – I Google searched the word ‘nightjars’ to discover that it is a type of nocturnal bird

 Now that I understand these lines I re-read the poem and noticed something that hadn’t really registered before. The poem starts with quite a strong sense of realism. As it moves through to night time the description of the place becomes slightly more surreal. It is as though the concept of Fern Hill at that time and place is not just evolving to represent a life cycle but quite literally slipping away like a memory. The line that finally made me twig was “the nightjars flying with the ricks”. I’m assuming that by ‘ricks’ Dylan Thomas is referring to hayricks otherwise I imagine this is becoming quite a strange analysis of the poem!

Part 2. Project 3. Exercise 2

In this exercise I am to put what I have learnt about poetic devices into practice by studying other creative writing.

I started by visiting and looking at a copy of Seven Ages of Man by William Shakespeare. (2019). – William Shakespeare. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

Similie – I’m fairly confident I’ve picked out the Similies.

Metaphor – Initially I confused these with the Similies as opposed to the more definitie ‘giving it the identity of something else’

Consonance – I wasn’t sure about the Consonance. I think I’m right in highlighting the repetition of the letter ‘S’. I’m not so sure about my highlighting of the letter ‘L’.

Alliteration – Initially I thought that the words which started with the same initial sound had to be next to each other in the line for it to count as an example of Alliteration. When I re-read the definition in the course guide I realised it can be ‘two or more words in a line of poetry that begin with the same initial sound’. This made it easier to identify the lines in question.

Assonance – This one was completely new to me. I think I’ve correctly identified some examples of assonance…

Seven Ages Of Man by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage, (metaphor)
And all the men and women merely players, (metaphor)
They have their exits and entrances, (alliteration)
And one man in his time plays many parts, (alliteration), (consonance)
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant, (consonance), (metaphor)
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms. (assonance)
Then, the whining schoolboy with his satchel (assonance), (alliteration)
And shining morning face, creeping like snail (assonance), (alliteration)
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad (similie)
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier, (alliteration)
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, (similie)
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice (assonance)
In fair round belly, with good capon lin’d, (assonance)
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut, (assonance)
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. (alliteration)

I am now to ‘pick up a novel and see if you can find any of these devices employed in the text. Why did the writer use it at this particular point? What is its effect on the writing and so on the reader?’

The novel which I have handy is ‘Jamaica Inn’ by Daphne du Maurier and I set about studying the first page. Within it I discovered Similie, Metaphor, Rhyme, Alliteration and Assonance.

 ‘It was a cold grey day in late (Assonance) November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind

When studying this one page closely, I was very surprised by how many poetic devices were used within the text. The first lines assonance sets the rhythm of the coach which is continued throughout the excerpt.

brought a granite sky (metaphor) and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two

The use of the metaphor ‘granite sky’ instantly adds colour to the scene in the readers mind. Everyone has seen granite, the bleak depressing grey springs easily to mind. The comparison of the stormy grey with the time of afternoon normally considered to be when the weather is at it’s best adds further to this impression.

o’clock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold (Aliteration) and for all the tightly closed windows

The alliteration of ‘clammy’ and ‘cold’ further enhances the perception of the element being described.  

it penetrated the interior of the coach. The leather seats felt damp to the hands, and there must have been a small crack in the roof, because now and again little drips of rain fell softly through, smudging the leather and leaving a dark-blue stain like a splodge of ink (similie). The wind came in gusts, at time

Use of this commonly seen simile helps aid the visual image in the minds eye.

shaking the coach as it travelled round the bend of the road and in the exposed places on the high ground it blew with such force that the whole body of the coach trembled and swayed, rocking between the high wheels like a drunken man (similie). .

This similie is something that everyone can imagine and apply to the idea of a rocking coach. It further enhances the image the author is describing.

The driver, muffled in a greatcoat to his ears, bent almost double in his seat in a faint endeavour to gain shelter  from his own shoulders (Aliteration) , while the dispirited horses plodded sullenly at his command, too broken by the wind and the rain to feel the whip that now and again cracked above their heads, while it swung between the numb fingers of the driver.

The wheels of the coach creaked and groaned as they sank into the ruts on the road, and sometimes they flung up the soft spattered (Aliteration)  mud against the windows, where it mingled with the constant

The alliteration of ‘shelter’ and ‘shoulders, and ‘soft spattered’ provide descriptors but also rhythm within the text. They assist in the depiction of the carriage as a jerky unevenly lurching object across rough terrain.

driving rain, and whatever view there might have been of the countryside was hopelessly obscured.

The few passengers huddled together for warmth, exclaiming in unison when the coach sank into a heavier rut than usual, and one old fellow, who had kept up a constant complaint (Aliteration), ever since he had

The alliteration of “constant complaint’ and ‘fury’ and ‘fumbling’ further assist in describing the rhythm of the coach.

joined the coach at Truro, rose from his seat in a fury; and, fumbling (Aliteration) with the window-sash, let the window down with a crash (Rhyme) bringing a shower of rain in upon himself and his fellow passengers.’

In contrast to the first line of the excerpt in which the rhythm is fairly smooth, the final two lines of my excerpt are incredibly jarring. The use of the rhyme ‘ash’ twice in quick succession is what reinforces this.

Overall there are several poetic devices which I have spotted, all of which are put to work within the text to paint a picture for the reader. Word choices are used to put across the rhythm of the subject they describe, something I would never have noticed if I hadn’t been looking for it.

To be honest I’ve never read this book, I picked it off the shelf at random thinking that I should probably use a ‘proper’ book to work with for a Uni assignment. Studying this first page has got me quite interested in what the rest of the book may offer!

Examples of my own for each poetic device

Rhyme – It’s been four months since I had a well cooked meal, when I get to see real veg again I don’t know how I’ll feel!

Rhythm (excerpt from a nomination that I wrote for a section monthly competition for ‘biggest flapping b***ard award’) –

‘We have a nomination for a brand new category, the biggest flapping b***ard that this place has ever seen, the vein in his head has been throbbing away as day by day the dumpies sweep cobwebs from corners that haven’t seen light since the Argies were here, because dust is what matters right?!’

Repitition – I call this one. ‘A lament to Falkland Islands Internet connectivity’…..Terrible Internet, Terrible Internet, Terrible Internet. 

Aliteration – This is a piece of aliteration used quite widely by the services community. ‘Practice Prevents Piss Poor Performance’

Assonance – diverse iguanas practice guitar intermittently (I think this works as an example?!)

Consonance – Winter Weather thaWs slowly

Onomatopoeia – Plop-Plop-Plop , the sound of the water dripping from the broken water pipe in the corridor..

Personification – My lonely sketchpad sits on my work desk feeling utterly unloved.

Simile – On the morning of the day I leave this place I shall be as high as a kite

Metaphor – His back hair, a furry pelt…..

Part 2. Project 3. Imagery

In this next exercise I have been given an extract and am to try and spot the imagery, (simile and metaphor) within it.

The course manual gives me the following definitions to work from;

  • Similie – A figure of speech in which an image is evoked by likening one thing to another.
  • Metaphor – To describe something by giving it the identity of something else.

“When the evening is spread out against the sky

Like a patient etherised upon a table

Let us go, through certain half deserted street,

The muttering retreats,

Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels

And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells”

(The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock by T.S Eliot)

The last line has me a little confused about whether it is supposed to be a metaphor or a similie or if it is just a plain description. I’ve eaten in a lot of weird places so I’m choosing to take it as a descriptive line.

Part 2. Project 3. Rap or Romantic?

Rap or Romantic?

I have been given 5 lines in this exercise which I must try to guess whether they are excerpts from Rap songs or from Romantic poems.

Her untimely exit from her, heavenly body – Romantic

Five miles meandering with a mazy motion – Rap

Victims of worldly ways, memories stays engraved – Rap

A dead bird flying through a broken sky – Rap

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe – Romantic

Part 2. Project 3. Changing Face of Poetry

The Changing Face of Poetry

I’ve never been a fan of poetry, so I find answering the question of whether I prefer the modernist or postmodernist forms quite hard to answer. In school we were made to read a set list of poems and then analyse them to such an extent that all enjoyment was sucked from the exercise and we all groaned at the mere mention of ‘Poetry Lesson’. I think the only poetry I’ve looked at willingly since then has been the wording of ‘The Gruffalo’!

  From the example of a fractured poem that the textbook gave me and the description of it as ‘downbeat, austere and gloomy’, I do not believe that I would be a fan of the modernist style.

Part 2. Project 3. Exercise 1

For this exercise I am to read extracts from three poems; ‘The Herefordshire Landscape’ by Elizabeth Browning, ‘Slough’ by John Betjeman and ‘The Lost Land’ by Eavan Boland.

I am then to answer the following questions;

Which one…

  • Speaks about the place in relation to identity and exile?
  • Purely evokes a sense of place?
  • Makes a social comment about progress and place?

‘The Herefordshire Landscape’ by Elizabeth Browning.

This is my choice for ‘Which one purely evokes a sense of place?’. I chose this because within the excerpt there are only descriptions of sights and smells which relate to the subject.

‘Slough’ by John Betjeman

This is my choice for ‘Which one makes a social comment about progress and place?’. I chose this because within the excerpt there are several refences t the social situation at the time. It is clear that it is set during the war whilst Slough was being bombed. The food convoys were being attacked by the enemy so the country was highly reliant on preserved food. Living under conditions such as these affects peoples mental health which is being alluded to with the last line ‘tinned minds, tinned breath’.

‘The Lost Land’ by Eavan Boland

This is my choice for ‘Which one speaks about place in relation to identity and exile’. I chose this because of the language used by the poet. The excerpt speaks of leaving a loved land, of comparisons between that land and family.

Part 2. Project 2. Exercise 2

In this exercise I am to think of as many character archetypes as possible, I am then to research to find out some more.

Initial archetypes that I came up with.

  • Hero
  • Villain
  • Sidekick
  • Shapeshifter
  • Mentor
  • Narrator
  • Collateral Damage (bodyguard/red shirted guys in star trek)
  • Doomed Romance
  • Casanova/Ladies man
  • Scarlet Woman
  • Ne’er do well (for example Fagin in Oliver Twist or Greengrass from drama series Heartbeat)

I found a surprising amount of character archetype examples when I started to research the topic.

Oxford Dictionaries definition is that “an archetype is ‘a very typical example of a certain person or thing”

Initially I found this table of 12 common archetypes from

Writers Write. (2019). Welcome to Writers Write – Writers Write. [online] Available at: [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

The article then went on to further break down the 12 archetypes into ego types, self types and soul types.

The Four Ego Archetypes

1. The Innocent

Motto: Free to be you and me
Core desire: to get to paradise
Goal: to be happy
Greatest fear: to be punished for doing something bad or wrong
Strategy: to do things right
Weakness: boring for all their naive innocence
Talent: faith and optimism

The Innocent is also known as the: utopian, traditionalist, naive, mystic, saint, romantic, dreamer.

Examples of The Innocent that I could think of; Nancy(Oliver Twist), Mrs Barnum (The Greatest Showman), Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter)

2. The Orphan/Regular Guy or Gal

Motto: All men and women are created equal
Core Desire: connecting with others
Goal: to belong
Greatest fear: to be left out or to stand out from the crowd
Strategy: develop ordinary solid virtues, be down to earth, the common touch
Weakness: losing one’s own self in an effort to blend in or for the sake of superficial relationships
Talent: realism, empathy, lack of pretence

The Regular Person is also known as the: good old boy, everyman, the person next door, the realist, the working stiff, the solid citizen, the good neighbour, the silent majority.

Examples of The Orphan/ Regular Guy or Gal that I could think of; Ron Weasley (Harry Potter), Superintendent Hastings (Line of Duty), Robin Ellacourt (Cormoran Strike books)

3. The Hero

Motto: Where there’s a will, there’s a way
Core desire: to prove one’s worth through courageous acts
Goal: expert mastery in a way that improves the world
Greatest fear: weakness, vulnerability, being a “chicken”
Strategy: to be as strong and competent as possible
Weakness: arrogance, always needing another battle to fight
Talent: competence and courage

The Hero is also known as the: warrior, crusader, rescuer, superhero, the soldier, dragon slayer, the winner and the team player.

Examples of The Hero that I could think of; Rob Stark (Game of Thrones), Thomas Shelby (Peaky Blinders), Simba (The Lion King), Harry Potter (Potter franchise)

4. The Caregiver

Motto: Love your neighbour as yourself
Core desire: to protect and care for others
Goal: to help others
Greatest fear: selfishness and ingratitude
Strategy: doing things for others
Weakness: martyrdom and being exploited
Talent: compassion, generosity

The Caregiver is also known as the: saint, altruist, parent, helper, supporter.

Examples of the Caregiver that I could think of; Sybil Ramsbottom (Discworld series), Molly (Rivers of London series), Alfred the butler (Batman)

The Four Soul Archetypes

5. The Explorer

Motto: Don’t fence me in
Core desire: the freedom to find out who you are through exploring the world
Goal: to experience a better, more authentic, more fulfilling life
Biggest fear: getting trapped, conformity, and inner emptiness
Strategy: journey, seeking out and experiencing new things, escape from boredom
Weakness: aimless wandering, becoming a misfit
Talent: autonomy, ambition, being true to one’s soul

The Explorer is also known as the: seeker, iconoclast, wanderer, individualist, pilgrim.

Examples of the Explorer that I could think of; Neo (The Matrix), Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love), Jon Snow (Game of Thrones)

6. The Rebel

Motto: Rules are made to be broken
Core desire: revenge or revolution
Goal: to overturn what isn’t working
Greatest fear: to be powerless or ineffectual
Strategy: disrupt, destroy, or shock
Weakness: crossing over to the dark side, crime
Talent: outrageousness, radical freedom

The Outlaw is also known as the: rebel, revolutionary, wild man, the misfit, or iconoclast.

Examples of the Rebel that I could think of; all social superheroes ie Batman/Superman, Weasley Twins (Harry Potter), Timone+Pumba (Lion King)

7. The Lover

Motto: You’re the only one
Core desire: intimacy and experience
Goal: being in a relationship with the people, work and surroundings they love
Greatest fear: being alone, a wallflower, unwanted, unloved
Strategy: to become more and more physically and emotionally attractive
Weakness: outward-directed desire to please others at risk of losing own identity
Talent: passion, gratitude, appreciation, and commitment

The Lover is also known as the: partner, friend, intimate, enthusiast, sensualist, spouse, team-builder.

Examples of the Lover that I can think of; Romeo+Juliet, Lewis Litt (Suits), Emil (The Toymakers)

8. The Creator

Motto: If you can imagine it, it can be done
Core desire: to create things of enduring value
Goal: to realize a vision
Greatest fear: mediocre vision or execution
Strategy: develop artistic control and skill
Task: to create culture, express own vision
Weakness: perfectionism, bad solutions
Talent: creativity and imagination

The Creator is also known as the: artist, inventor, innovator, musician, writer or dreamer.

Examples of the Creator that I could think of; Kaspar (The Toymakers), Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio character in Inception), Granny Weatherwax (Discworld series)

The Four Self Archetypes

9. The Jester

Motto: You only live once
Core desire: to live in the moment with full enjoyment
Goal: to have a great time and lighten up the world
Greatest fear: being bored or boring others
Strategy: play, make jokes, be funny
Weakness: frivolity, wasting time
Talent: joy

The Jester is also known as the: fool, trickster, joker, practical joker or comedian.

Examples of the Jester that I can think of; Weasley twins (Harry Potter), Nimitz (Honor Harrington series), Jeremy Osbourne (The Peep Show)

10. The Sage

Motto: The truth will set you free
Core desire: to find the truth.
Goal: to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world.
Biggest fear: being duped, misled—or ignorance.
Strategy: seeking out information and knowledge; self-reflection and understanding thought processes.
Weakness: can study details forever and never act.
Talent: wisdom, intelligence.

The Sage is also known as the: expert, scholar, detective, advisor, thinker, philosopher, academic, researcher, thinker, planner, professional, mentor, teacher, contemplative.

Examples of the Sage that I could think of; Dumbledore (Harry Potter), Cormoran Strike (Cormoran Strike series), Mark Darcy (Bridget Jones Diary)

11. The Magician

Motto: I make things happen.
Core desire: understanding the fundamental laws of the universe
Goal: to make dreams come true
Greatest fear: unintended negative consequences
Strategy: develop a vision and live by it
Weakness: becoming manipulative
Talent: finding win-win solutions

The Magician is also known as the: visionary, catalyst, inventor, charismatic leader, shaman, healer, medicine man.

Examples of the Magician that I could think of; Harvey Spectre (Suits), Thomas Shelby (Peaky Blinders), Samuel Vimes (Discworld Series)

12. The Ruler

Motto: Power isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.
Core desire: control
Goal: create a prosperous, successful family or community
Strategy: exercise power
Greatest fear: chaos, being overthrown
Weakness: being authoritarian, unable to delegate
Talent: responsibility, leadership

The Ruler is also known as the: boss, leader, aristocrat, king, queen, politician, role model, manager or administrator.

Note: There are four cardinal orientations: freedom, social, ego, order. The types have a place on these orientations.

Examples of The Ruler that I could think of; Cersei (Game of Thrones), Voldemort (Harry Potter), Emperor Palpatine (Star Wars)

The article then led me to another table with a longer list of Character archetypes.

In total this then gave me quite an extensive list for which I was to then come up with an example for each from an existing story and describe their function whether psychological or dramatic for the next part of the exercise.

The way I am interpreting the function of the character is to think about whether their purpose is merely to add to the action of the moment (dramatic), or if their actions satisfy some expectation of or provoke a reaction within the reader/viewer.

Archetype Example Function
Hero Harry Potter (Harry Potter) Psychological. For the reader to cheer on to victory.
Villain Voldemort (Harry Potter) Psychological. For the reader to want to see thwarted by the Hero.
Sidekick Ron Weasley (Harry Potter) Psychological. To support the Hero, often with their own obstacles to overcome such as Loyalty.
Mentor Obi Wan Kenobi (Star Wars) Psychological/Dramatic. To guide the Hero on the Quest. Often used as a dramatic object such as a Martyr.
Narrator Narrator in non-fiction “Often achieves its momentum not just through narrative -but also through the meditative intelligence behind the story” ‘Narrators in Creative Nonfiction’ Accessed 02/06/2019
Collateral Damage Anyone wearing a red security team vest who goes on an Away Mission in Star Trek Dramatic. Often nameless victims to add to a body count.
Doomed Lover Bellatrix LeStrange (Harry Potter) Psychological. Engages with emotions of the reader.
Ladies Man Sir Lancelot Psychological/Dramatic. Often provides an obstacle for the Hero to overcome. Can also be the basis of a storyline in their own right, for example ‘Redemption’.
Ne’er do Well Mungdungus Fletcher (Harry Potter) Psychological. Engages with emotions of the reader in negative manner.
Creator Kaspar Goodman (The Toymakers) Psychological. Engages with the emotions of the reader. Promotes the idea that anything is possible, anything can be created with enough belief.
Caregiver Molly Weasley (Harry Potter) Psychological. Engages with emotions of the reader in a positive manner.
Ruler Lord Vetenari Psychological. Wields authority over a situation involving the Hero.
Jester Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter) Dramatic. Amusing side-line character with often no substantial contribution to the main plot.
Regular Guy/Gal Dean Thomas (Harry Potter) Dramatic. Additional low-level character with no substantial plot involvement.
Lover Lavender Brown (Harry Potter) Dramatic/Psychological. Dependent on their place in the plot. For example, in Wuthering Heights this character archetype has substantial contribution to make and would be more Psychological than Dramatic.
Outlaw Sirius Black (Harry Potter) Psychological. Engages with the emotions of the reader/viewer often in appositive manner. Outlaws are often pitched as a figure to admire.
Magician Jacques Goodman (The Toymakers) Dramatic. Has powers beyond that deemed ordinary or explainable by the confines of the story.
Innocent Neville Longbottom (Harry Potter) Psychological. Can be used as a tool for delivering justice. A champion for the innocent and unsullied.
Explorer Lara Croft Psychological. Engages with the emotions of the reader who can relate to the urge to explore and adventure into the unknown, often restricted by available resources in the real-world.
Rebel Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter) Psychological. Much like ‘Outlaw’. Engages with the emotions of the reader/viewer often in appositive manner. Rebels are often pitched as a figure to admire.
Sage Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter) Psychological/Dramatic. The wise all-knowing character that assists the Hero with the delivery of warnings/wisdom/information.
Analyst Sherlock Holmes Psychological. A methodically thinking character that delivers logical explanations for dramatic situations.
Anti-hero Newt Scamander Psychological. Relatable to a lot of readers. The Hero who is forced into becoming so through situational requirements.
Benefactor Tony Stark Psychological. A resource character who enables the actions of the Hero.
Bully Dudley Dursley (Harry Potter) Psychological. A character that will provoke negative reaction in the reader and unite them with the Hero/victim.
Beaurocrat Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) Undecided. A character designed to follow the rules. Possible use as Psychological when the character is lured into new behaviour?
Catalyst Princess Leah (Star Wars) Dramatic. A character who is the key to events progressing throughout the plot.
Child Peter Pan Psycological. Relatable to all readers, everyone can remember the optimism and imagination of youth.
Coward Wormtail (Harry Potter) Psychological. Stimulates the emotions of the reader in either a positive (redemption/showing courage) or negative (betrayal of the Hero) manner.
Curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge Dramatic.
Dreamer Walter Mitty Psychological. Engages the positive emotions of the reader. Everyone has a dream that they aspire to accomplish. Empathy with this character is simple.
Extraordinary Man James Bond Psychological/Dramatic. Engages with the aspirational emotions of the reader.
Gossip Unable to think of one. Dramatic. Secondary device that can be used in plot progression.
Guardian Newt Scamander (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them) Psychological. Protects the weak, provokes positive reactions from the reader/viewer.
Thrill Seeker Unable to think of one. Dramatic.
Hermit/Loner Mad Eye Moody (Harry Potter) Dramatic
Hunter/Predator Terminator/Alien Psychological/Dramatic. Archetype that could either be the main focus of a story or a secondary device used to advance the plot.
Introvert Walter Mitty Psychological. Could be used in an investigation of the psche or used as an ‘Awakening’ storyline.
Investigator Cormoran Strike Psychological. Often also the Hero.
Judge/Mediator Unable to think of one.  
Leader Margaret Thatcher – The Iron Lady Psychological. Can be used to show the many different facets required in being an effective leader.
Manipulator Harvey Spectre (Suits) Psychological. Often relatable to the audience.
Martyr William Wallace – Braveheart Dramatic. Often a sacrificial character frequently for a noble cause as seen by the character.
Masochist Unable to think of one.  
Masquerader Unable to think of one.  
Monster The Incredible Hulk Dramatic. Can be good or evil dependant on the storyline. For example, zombies vs Frankenstein.
Penitent Dr Bruce Banner Psychological. Penitent or remorseful character who wishes to atone for previous actions/constant character flaws.
Perfectionist Unable to think of one.  
Pleaser/Show-Off PT Barnum (The Greatest Showman) Psychological. Seeks admiration/applause from the masses.
Poet Unable to think of one.  
Rogue Han Solo (Star Wars) Psychological. Rogues often prove highly relatable. Can be Side-Kicks to the Hero or be of general assistance in the plot.
Saboteur/Betrayer Wormtail (Harry Potter) Dramatic. Can betray for either redemption back to the side of the good guys or fall victim to greed and betray the Hero. Not often the sole subject of a plot line.
Samaritan Unable to think of one.  
Scholar Unable to think of one.  
Sensualist Christian Grey (50 Shades of Grey)  
Slave Dobby the House Elf (Harry Potter) Psychological. Can be used to provoke sympathy within the reader/viewer.
Sycophant Bellatrix LeStrange (Harry Potter) Psychological. Slavish devotion
Temptress The Red Witch Melisandre (Game of Thrones) Dramatic. A temptation or obstacle for the Hero on the Quest.
Thief Artful Dodger (Oliver Twist) Dramatic. A character that takes whatever they require for personal gain. Depending on the pitch of the story could be seen in either a positive or negative light. For example in Oliver Twist the Artful Dodger provokes more sympathy than Bill Sykes.
Trickster/Jester Fred and George Weasley (Harry Potter) Psychological. An archetype that lightens the mood or brings levity to intense situations.
Victim Unable to think of one.  
Waif Puss in Boots (Shrek) Psychological. Appearing innocent and weak often as a deception.