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long distance Essay

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Below is an essay on "long distance" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

‘From “Long Distance’- or, to give it its proper title, “Long Distance II”, is a deep, touching and impressively subtle poem by Tony Harrison. Born in 1937 in the North of England, Harrison is a poet known both for his left-wing political views as well as his first-rate command of rhyme and structure and use of colloquial language. While “Long Distance II” is anything but political, it impressively showcases Harrison’s other qualities. As it as one of two similar poems rather than an excerpt from a poem, it can be considered and examined as an individual piece of work.

The poem is concise and tightly constructed, with four quatrains, each with a consistent abab rhyming pattern. In this sense it is traditional, and in style if not in content Harrison could be linked to the Movement, an important group of English poets of his generation (primarily poets born in the interwar years, such as Philip Larkin, D.J. Enright and Thom Gunn). Yet this tight construction is no hindrance at all to his communication of meaning and emotion. The first stanza establishes his situation effectively, informing the reader of the background to the poem while also establishing several questions in the reader’s mind. It is indeed worth quoting in full: “Though my mother was already two years dead/ Dad kept her slippers warming by the gas/put hot water bottles her side of the bed/and still went to renew her transport pass”. This stanza does a number of things: at the simplest level it tells us of the death of the poet’s mother, and of the strange behaviour that his father exhibits, behaviour that one assumes is the result of “living in denial”. It also, however, evokes an image of working-class England: from the slippers warming by the gas to the transport pass it is a vivid and memorable set of images.

The next two stanzas are an elaboration of the theme. Thus we hear of more of his father’s “symptoms”, as well as the fact that he is internally somewhat ashamed and tries to hide his...

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