Thursday, October 26, 2006

Part of a critical essay I've been working on.

This is part of an essay I had to write for homework over the holidays. It is on "You lived in Glasgow" by Iain Crichton Smith.

The poet still feels guilty about rejecting his mother’s faith years later; therefore it must be significant to him. He sees Calvinism as a “black figure” which was devoid of pleasure. Through “the gaslit blue” it can be seen that a visual element from the past has remained with the poet. Also there is a contrast with the “fiercer voltage” described by the poet, which through imagery also shows the significance of the past as the image of the “gaslit blue” has not been forgotten by the poet. The poet feels that “The past’s an experience that we cannot share”, an important theme of the poem, perhaps because he feels the past is so important that full recognition cannot possibly be given to it.

(Also I struggled with this paragraph)

A harsh tone is used when the poet states that: “the bulldozer breaks raw bricks to powder” to present how harsh he found the resurrection of the city during the building programme and how Glasgow’s previous state will always be missed by the inhabitants of the city. Towards the end of the poem Iain Crichton Smith finally accepts that “buildings sail into the future”, and the tone becomes more upbeat showing he has finally accepted that things change. The poet, as a symbol of Gaelic culture, remembers the “old songs you sang” which shows that although trends change, the past will always be remembered. In the last line of the poem, the poet reflects on the changes music has experienced over the years, “scale on dizzying scale”. As this line is a pun, he also accepts the sheer scale of change Glasgow has experienced over the years, and how significant this has been.


PS-Thanks for all your help, it's great to be back in the world of blogging!

1 comment:

Chris said...

OK. I'm away from home right now, so have no access to the poem, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as I can concentrate on what you've written.
Your discussion of the gas and the "fiercer voltage" is a little clumsy: I'd like a more simple and direct link to be made between the dim light of the past and the brighter lights of now when we have electricity. (I don't know what ICS has to day about this - does he?)
Don't jsut say 'through imagery' - discuss how the imagery works.

I don't like the writing in the second para. I'd try:

The poet uses a harsh tone when he tells us that “the bulldozer breaks raw bricks to powder”. The resurrection of the city during the building programme was not achieved without pain, which comes out in the use of the word "raw".
As in creative writing, active verbs tend to make for better writing than passive ones.

You should comment on the use of the verb "sail" - what connotations do you feel with this word? confidence? irresistible force?

You need to explain the pun - not in detail, but show that you get it! Why is he talking about music here?

The poet isn't a symbol of Gaelic culture, is he - your syntax suggests that.

This is good. Keep it up!It's fun to have someone actually working too current S-grade blogger has gone off the boil!