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Hieroglyphics - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Hieroglyphics. Anne Donovan. What is the poem about?. About the poem. Dramatic monologue. 1 st person – shows her thoughts. Setting. The setting zooms in from generic to specific. grey cityscape. (could be anywhere) Drumchapel (specific town)

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Anne Donovan

About the poem
About the poem.

  • Dramatic monologue.

  • 1st person – shows her thoughts.


The setting zooms in from generic to specific.

  • grey cityscape. (could be anywhere)

  • Drumchapel (specific town)

  • Kinfauns drive (specific road)

  • High school - how is it described?

  • Specific class

  • Shows her lack of experiences of different places. Along with fact she hadn’t seen animals until school trip, what does this tell us about her background?


  • What do you think the point of this is?

Easy to imagine her tone and feelings.

Helps us to identify with, and understand, the character.



Introduces the theme.

Introduces setting and character.

Hyperbole – pointlessness in what she is learning.

Turning point
Turning point.

“Then ah startitdeain the hieroglyphics for real.”


“And the wan day ah couldnae take it oany longer.”

Emotive language and sense of hope.

Pride in her work and happy of her achievement.


  • Her letters

  • Hieroglyphics

  • Grey

  • Way she draws her teachers

  • Her letters – misplaced on the page, moving, scary.

  • Hieroglyphics – indecipherable. Shows a lack of progress.

  • Grey – lack of opportunities and excitement in her life.

  • Way she draws her teachers:

    Miss Niven – half sparrow – delicate, beautiful.

    Mr Alexander – half fish

    Mr Kelly – God of Underworld

    Head master – sun god or Sphinx


  • Description of Mr Kelly:

    “sarky bastard”

    “he used to squint at ye…as if he wis examining ye through a microscope an hid jist discovered some new strain a bacteria that could wipe oot the entre population a Glesga.”

  • Describing the journey into the next life as being like going to Ayr for the day. Shows her lack of experiences.

  • 2nd paragraph when talking about the likelihood of seeing animals where she lives.

    “You could of looktoot the windae at some big hairy orange beast devourinyer wee sister…”

What are the differences between the characters of the different teachers?

What are their attitudes towards Mary? How do they help or hinder her (use evidence from the text).

Tone. different teachers?

  • Conversational/chatty

  • Colloquial/informal

  • Frank/honest – makes us sympathise because we see how innocent and vulnerable she is.

    What is the tone at the end?

Themes different teachers?

What are the themes?

  • Childhood. different teachers?

    Childish imagination.

    Belief in “fairy godmother” shows innocence.

  • Hope.

    Despite everything she draws a smiley face and shows her optimism.

  • Isolation and prejudice.

    Way people are picked on for their differences, and shows the way it can effect people.

Imagery. learn differently.

Find 2 examples of imagery.

“only the learn differently.furst two or three could keep up wi him.”

“The rest wurscribblin furiously…then he’d tease them wi a pause…he wisaff again liklightnin.”

“ah wis the wan that fell at the furst fence.”

“The class were aw learn differently.sittin up like circus lions at this point, wonderin whit the ringmaisterwisgonnaedae next.”

Describing letters or her writing as insects. learn differently.

“dancinroond like big black spiders.”

“like wee scarab beetles scurryinaboot the page”.

Mary s character
Mary’s character. learn differently.

How do you feel towards Mary?

  • Determination despite lack of help.

  • Has to learn to help herself.

  • No support at school.

  • Isolated from peers.

  • Tutor has left.

  • Belief she can’t learn/ is stupid.

  • Mary has good memory.

  • Intelligent learn differently.

  • Aware of her own weaknesses

  • Helps others

  • Strong numeracy skills

  • Good at art

  • Creates own form of communication

  • From working class background

  • Father not around

  • Doesn’t appear to have friends

Should we feel sorry for Mary or is she capable of overcoming these problems? Quote evidence to back up your point.