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An Elementary School Poetic Devices
By- Stephen Spender
- ‘gusty waves’ — the privileged children are compared to gusty waves — energetic and exuberant.
- ‘future’s painted with a fog’ — refers to the future of the slum children which has been compared to the fog because it is uncertain and unclear.
- ‘sealed in with a lead sky’ — refers to the dull and grey colour of the sky and also the depressing future of the slum children
- ‘stars of words’ — refers to the words or literature written by writers like Shakespeare that create images which are as bright, beautiful and inspiring like stars
- ‘from fog to endless night’ — refers to the future of the slum children which is without any ray of hope, a future that can only go from bad to worse
- ‘wear skins peeped through by bones’ — refers to the thin emaciated bodies of the children which has been reduced to mere skin and bones
- let their tongues /Run naked into books’ — refers to the act of allowing children to go taste/experience the variety life as depicted in the books or giving the children an experience of the beautiful bright world outside the depressing confines of the slum
- ‘whose language is the sun’ — refers to the children who live in pleasant surroundings and thereby have happier lives
- ‘like rootless weeds’ — the children have been compared to weeds or the unwanted section of society.
- ‘like bottle bits on stones’ — The spectacles frame their stony-eyed expressions/hard faces.
- ‘windows that shut upon their lives like catacombs’ — the classroom and the homes in which the slum children live have been compared to underground burial chambers
- ‘weighed down’ — refers to the burden of poverty and hopelessness that weighs down the slum children
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- ‘reciting’ literal — the boy is reciting the lesson. figurative — he is more prominently reciting his father’s disease i.e. he has inherited his father’s disease of twisted bones and deformity.
- ‘sour cream’: literal — the neglected walls have turned a dirty yellow figurative — a dismal place where all dreams turn sour (in this case the classroom)
- ‘lead sky’ literal — sky polluted with industrial fumes figurative: A sky that does not open opportunities.
- ‘squirrel’s game’ — something that helps the child to escape the grim reality of his surroundings `civilized dome riding all cities’ — cities that show the progress of the civilization and its marvellous architecture (also Personification — riding all cities).
- ‘open-handed map’ — a map drawn arbitrarily by the people in power and the privileged.
- ‘map with slums as big as doom’ — the grim reality of the lives of the slum children.
- ‘fog’ — bleak and unclear.
- ‘ships and sun’ — adventure and beautiful lands offering opportunities.
- ‘slag heaps’ — industrial waste, toxic filth and squalor.
- ‘windows’ — windows of the slum classroom do not open out to opportunities and the wide world. They show only fog covered slums where they are confined.
- ‘green fields, gold sand’ — colour, happiness, nature and golden opportunities.
- ‘white and green leaves’ — learning from pages of books and nature.
- ‘run azure’ — experience the rich colours of the blue waves.
- ‘sun’ — symbol of enlightenment /clarity/ equality/purity.
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Break O break open till they break the town
‘ Far, far’