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  1. Starter • Write down what you think the phrase “Skating on thin ice” means. What sort of phrase is this?

  2. Starter Write down what you think the phrase “Skating on thin ice” means. What sort of phrase is this? • Doing something difficult, dangerous, likely to fail or offend. • It is a metaphor.

  3. The Thickness Of Ice Liz Loxley

  4. Learning Objectives As we study this poem you will learn: • The true story of the poem • More about the terms, Metaphor: Free Verse: Repetition: Pace & Rhythm • You will also complete some mini tasks and a test on the poem. • NOTE: This poem will be set as a question on the Mid-Term Exam.

  5. At first we’ll meet as friends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’ll become much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’ll skate nearer the centre of the lake) Later we will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Later we will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.)

  6. The Story of the Poem The poem is not about ice skating, That is its subject, but not its theme, central idea or what the poet is trying to say! The whole poem is an extended metaphor that uses ‘ice’ and ‘ice skating’ as a way to describes how a couple meet, form a relationship, break up and eventually reconcile their differences. In the poem a Boy and Girl meet as friends and fall passionately in love. The newness of the relationship wears off, it becomes a routine and the passion dies. They break up and meet new people, but become jealous of each other’s new partner and they secretly hate each other a little. A few years go by but when they meet again they still feel a pull towards each other so there is a possible new beginning for them........as friends. Full circle!

  7. The Structure Of The Poem Composition The poem is composed of 6 stanzas of 4 or 5 lines. It has no formal rhyme scheme and so is written in Free Verse. There are however a few examples of alliteration in the poem. MINI TASK 1. a) Identify the examples of alliteration in the poem. b) What is the effect of the alliteration?

  8. The Structure Of The Poem Composition Examples of alliteration in the poem. At first we’ll meet as friends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’ll become much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’ll skate nearer the centre of the lake) Later we will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Later we will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) The frequent use of alliteration adds rhythm to the poem.

  9. The Structure Of The Poem Composition The poem also makes extensive use of Repetition, so much so that it is almost the Key Feature. MINI TASK 2. a) Identify the examples of repetition in the poem. b) Can you identify any patterns to the repetition? c) What is the effect of the repetition?

  10. The Structure Of The Poem Composition Examples of repetition in the poem – Almost the Key feature! At first we’llmeet asfriends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’llbecome much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’llskate nearer the centre of the lake) Laterwe will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswillbecome an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Laterwe will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks willbe ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) The frequent use of repetition strengthens the rhythm in the poem.

  11. The Structure Of The Poem Composition Examples of repetition in the poem – Patterning 1 At first we’ll meet as friends(Though secretly I’ll behopingwe’ll become much moreandhopingthat you’re hopingthat too) At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’ll skate nearer the centre of the lake) Later we will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Later we will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) The poem starts and ends as ‘friends’ and with ‘hope’.

  12. The Structure Of The Poem Composition Examples of repetition in the poem – Patterning 2 At first we’ll meet as friends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’ll become much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’ll skate nearer the centre of the lake) Laterwe will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Laterwe will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) This breaks the poem into phases or stages.

  13. The Structure Of The Poem Composition Examples of repetition in the poem – Patterning 3 At first we’llmeet as friends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’llbecome much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’llskate nearer the centre of the lake) Laterwe will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Laterwe will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’llmeet as acquaintances(though secretly we’llbe enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’llbe like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) The frequent use of ‘we will’ emphasizes the relationship that is at the heart of the poem.

  14. The Structure Of The Poem Composition Examples of repetition in the poem – Patterning 4 At first we’ll meet as friends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’ll become much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) At first we’ll be like skaterstestingthe thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’ll skatenearer the centre of the lake) Later we will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skatergoing for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). Later we will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) The use of ‘skater/skating forms part of the core metaphor in the poem. Thick & Thin are opposites….opposite ends of the relationship….optimism versus realism or hope versus experience?

  15. The Structure Of The Poem Tone & Pace The tone of the poem overall is serious as the poem deals with the break up of a relationship. However it does have an optimistic start and ending which do lighten the tone a little. The pace of the poem is very even and fairly slow which enhances its serious tone. The repetition and alliteration do create some rhythm within the poem but not enough to seriously affect the pace.

  16. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature As mentioned already, the key feature of this poem is METAPHOR as the whole poem is an extended metaphor about a couple’s relationship. Because of the complex nature or the metaphor you need to look at each stanza to work out what the poet is trying to tell us. MINI TASK 3: In groups discuss your given stanza. On the board write a short summary of what happens in that stanza and what you think it means.

  17. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature – Stanza 1 At first we’ll meet as friends(Though secretly I’ll be hopingwe’ll become much moreand hoping that you’re hoping that too) The couple meet and are attracted to each other but they are shy with each other at first. Both hope that the other feels the same about them.

  18. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature – Stanza 2 The metaphor starts here….you don’t skate straight out into the centre of a frozen lake, you test it firs. The same with a relationship, you try to get to know each other before you commit. Strength of ice = strength of growing relationship. At first we’ll be like skaterstesting the thickness of ice(with each meetingwe’ll skate nearer the centre of the lake)

  19. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature – Stanza 3 Later we will become less anxious to impressless eager than the skater going for gold.(The triple jumps and spinswill become an old routine:we will become content with simple movements). As the couple get to know each other they do not feel the need to make constant impressive gestures to each other, ex. flowers or being taken out for a meal on every date. What were the complexities of the relationship at the start will become the commonplace, and they become content with that. Complacency begins to set in as they take each other for granted.

  20. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature – Stanza 4 Later we will not notice the steady thaw,the creeping cracks will be ignored.(And one day when the ice gives waywe will scramble to save ourselvesand not each other.) • Complacency and taking each other for granted begins to destroy the relationship. As ice thaws it thins and will eventually crack: so too with this relationship….but instead of trying to save the relationship they are only interested in saving themselves.

  21. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature – Stanza 5 Last of all we’ll meet as acquaintances(though secretly we’ll be enemies,hurt by missing out on a medal,jealous of new partners). • If they were married they have now divorced and time has passed, but the wounds caused by their breakup have not healed and there is a sense of bitterness and hatred here. ‘Medals’ are a metaphor for the trappings of life a couple usually acquire; nice house and car etc…and children/grandchildren. The jealousy is not metaphorical, but the fact there is jealousy shows they still have feelings for each other. Interestingly the poem seems to assume that both characters experience the same feelings.

  22. The Structure Of The Poem Key Feature – Stanza 6 Last of all we’ll be like childrenHaving learnt the thinness of ice,(Though secretly perhaps we may be hoping,to break the ice between usand maybe meet again as friends.) • The final stanza of the poem returns us to the start, but now the ‘ice’ is measured by its thinness, not thickness; or the relationship by its weakness not strength. The reference to children is interesting as they have an innocent, unspoiled view of the world, adults tend to be more skeptical and cynical. Still, the poem does end on an optimistic note with the hope the couple can once again become friends. • Note the metaphorical ice moves a metaphorical 90° in this stanza, from ice that they skate on, to a wall that comes between them. This time ‘thawing’ is a good thing as it means the bitterness they felt is fading and now it is the thinness of the ice that is important, not its thickness.

  23. Assignment: Using examples, show how the poet uses Ice as a metaphor for the growth and failure of a relationship in this poem? 400-600 words By Wed 28 Nov.