hide and seek by vernon scannell l.
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Hide and Seek by Vernon Scannell. Before he got into poetry he spent time in tough occupations including boxing and the army. He took part in the D-Day landings. He was interested in writing poems about war and childhood. Themes. Childhood Excitement Loneliness

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Before he got into poetry he spent time in tough occupations including boxing and the army.
  • He took part in the D-Day landings.
  • He was interested in writing poems about war and childhood.
  • Childhood
  • Excitement
  • Loneliness
  • The observational skills of children
  • The nostalgia for childhood friends?
Call out, call loud -"I'm ready. Come and find me!"The sacks in the tool-shed smell like the seaside.
  • The poem starts with a mix of the internal and external voices of the speaker….
  • OR Perhaps the first line is that of someone telling the story in the present looking back at the past
  • The game starts and the speaker notices the unusual smell of the space he is in – what do you associate with the Seaside?
They'll never find you in the salty dark,But be careful that your feet aren't sticking out,Wiser not to risk another shout.The floor is cold.

They'll probably be searching the bushes, near the swing.Whatever happens you mustn't sneezeWhen they come prowling in.

  • The speaker has contradictory feelings about being found – thinking it will and won’t happen almost at the same time.
  • At the same time as the excitement of the game there is also a slightly frightening range of vocabulary introduced… can you spot danger words?
  • There is a creeping feeling of discomfort… ‘cold’, ‘sneezing’.
And here they are, whispering at the doorYou've never heard them sound so hushed before.Don't breathe, don't move, stay dumb.
  • Is this the peak of the tension in the poem? Tension is created as we wonder - will they find him?
  • The aching silence highlighted by the use of dumb – what are the different meanings of dumb? When would we normally use it?
  • Notice the use of parataxis in the final sentence.
Hide in your blindness, they're moving closerSomeone stumbles, muttersTheir words and laughter scuttle and they're gone,But don't come out just yet, they'll try the laneAnd then the greenhouse and back here again.
  • He thinks that he has won – but stays still in case they return.
  • Notice all the ‘u’ sounds – why do you think the poet uses this assonance?
  • Notice the imperfect rhyme in the final couplet – what might that imperfection suggest?
They must be thinking that you're very clever,Getting more puzzled as they search all over.It seems a long time since they went away.Your legs are stiff, the cold bites through your coat.The dark damp smell of sand moves in your throat.
  • Real discomfort sets in for the speaker – look for words that indicate this…
  • Notice that the things that had previously seemed exciting and exotic such as the seaside have an undertone of misery and menace.
  • Use of time words in the third line – look for the others in the poem.
It's time to let them know that you're the winnerPush off the sacks, uncurl and stretch.That's better! Out of the shed and call to them -"I've won! Here I am! Come and own up! I've caught you!"The darkening garden watches, nothing stirsThe bushes hold their breath, the sun is goneYes, here you are - But where are they who sought you?
  • The boy thinks that he has won and is initially elated.
  • BUT he is left with a sense of isolation and loneliness.
  • What might the last line mean? Who speaks it?
  • What does the last line mean if it was spoken by a reminiscing adult?
  • Find examples of internal monologue balanced with direct speech. Where else does this happen?
  • Isolation – both as a positive and negative quality.
  • Childhood pleasures and fears.
  • Dark and light – compare the start and the end of the poem.
  • Noise and silence.

- See if you can find images that fit these categories.

literary devices
Literary Devices
  • Alliteration –

Lines 1 and 2 – Repeated ‘c’ sounds.

Line 3 (and through the whole poem) – Repeated S sounds. (The fancy name for which is sibilance.)

This might sound like the sea at time – where in particular?

  • Consonance

Repeated use of consonants to create serious deep tones – ‘d’ in dark for example.

  • A single stanza poem – why?
  • Perhaps it reflects the relentless flow of time towards adulthood? Perhaps it shows the excitement of the game itself?
  • Sometimes the poet deploys rhyming couplets – what effect do these have?

Hide and Seek by Vernon ScannellPowerPoint for IGCSE Literature: Anthology (section C)by Mr Monaghan, September 2011