What would you do? Would you get involved or would you ignore



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  • What would you do?
  • Would you get involved or would you ignore the following:
  • An old woman has tripped up and hurt her ankle. There is no-one else there.
  • You see someone lying on the pavement. They are not moving.
  • You see an adult kicking a child, aged about eight.
  • A group of children (about p7 age) are calling another child names. The child is obviously upset and is crying.
  • A man and a woman, who appear to be a couple, are arguing and the man slaps the woman.
  • What about if the woman slapped the man?
  • You see a couple being attacked by teenagers at a bus stop.
  • You find a toddler on their own who is crying and who appears to be lost.
  • You know that your neighbours have left their young children (1, 3 and 6) home on their own while they go to the pub.

‘Glasgow 5 March 1971’

  • Edwin Morgan

 

  •  
  • With a ragged diamond of shattered plate-glass a young man and his girl are falling backwards into a shop-window.
  • The two youths who have pushed them are about to complete the operation reaching into the window to loot what they can smartly. Their faces show no expression.
  • It is a sharp, clear night in Sauchiehall Street. In the background two drivers keep their eyes on the road.
  • The young man's face is bristling with fragments of glass and the girl's leg has caught on the broken window and spurts arterial blood over her wet-look white coat.
  • Their arms are starfished out braced for impact, their faces show surprise, shock, the beginning of pain.
  • ‘Glasgow 5 March 1971’
  • Edwin Morgan
  • Sauchiehall Street
  • You are now going to answer some textual analysis questions on the poem.
  • Answer them in as much detail as possible.
  • Look at the number of marks for each question to give you an indication of how many points you should make / how much to write.
  • You are now going to annotate your copy of the poem.
  • You should copy down the notes on the back of your copy of the poem.

“(these)...are based upon actual things which have happened as reported in the newspapers or on television.

  • “(these)...are based upon actual things which have happened as reported in the newspapers or on television.
  • I try to imagine somebody had been there with an instamatic camera, and quickly taken a photograph.
  • The whole thing is presented directly in economic, visual terms.
  • I try not to add comment, but there's a very careful presentation which very often does include a kind of invisible comment.”
  • Nothing Not Giving Messages (1990), p.52
  • (Instamatics were a series of inexpensive, easy-to-load cameras made by Kodak from 1963. The Instamatic was immensely successful, introducing a generation to low-cost photography and spawning numerous imitators.)
  • Notes
  • This is one of Edwin Morgan’s Instamatic Poems. According to Morgan:

Notes

  • Notes
  • The poem is based on a real incident which Morgan read about in a newspaper.
  • It is an ‘Instamatic poem’, a word photo which describes one particular moment in words. It describes the actual moment when the people are falling. We do not ‘see’ them being pushed, or what happens to them after.

The poem’s structure resembles that of a photo:

  • The poem’s structure resembles that of a photo:
  • 1) Foreground
  • 3) Background
  • 2) Middleground
  • As the reader ‘sees’ each part of the ‘photo’, the poem becomes more shocking.
  • the couple (lines 1-14)
  • the youths (lines 15-19)
  • the drivers (lines 20-24)

Notes

  • Notes
  • The poem is written in the present tense – this makes it more immediate, as if it is happening now, and adds to the shocking effect of the poem.
  • The poem’s tone is neutral. Morgan gives no comment or judgement, it is like a journalist reporting events.
  • The contrast between the horrific incident and the neutral tone gives the poem more impact and makes it more shocking than if Morgan had highlighted his feelings to the reader.

Notes

  • Notes
  • Theme: Society’s lack of concern for others. Morgan is highlighting the flaws in modern society - people don’t care about others and this attitude allows things like this to happen.

‘Glasgow 5 March 1971’

  • With a ragged diamond of shattered plate-glass a young man and his girl are falling backwards into a shop- window.
  • The title is like the words on a photo or a newspaper dateline – adds to the realism of the poem, reinforces that it is based on real events
  • Shocking start
  • ragged’ – suggests sharpness / a wound
  • Contrast with ‘ragged’ - diamonds are usually cut with precision. Shards of glass are like small sparkling diamonds?
  • Onomatopoeia - suggests the sound of breaking glass...
  • Ironic? Were they looking in a jeweller’s window?
  • When we find out later on that they have been pushed, we realise they were facing their attackers – more shocking
  • ...as if we (the reader) have turned on hearing the breaking of glass to see what is happening
  • What difference would it make if lines 3&4 came before lines 1&2?

The young man's face is bristling with fragments of glass and the girl's leg has caught on the broken window and spurts arterial blood over her wet-look white coat.

  • The young man's face is bristling with fragments of glass and the girl's leg has caught on the broken window and spurts arterial blood over her wet-look white coat.
  • Tiny pieces
  • Metaphor – the pieces of glass are like stubble / a beard. The everyday nature of this image makes it more shocking and macabre – suggests pain and horror; scarred for life?
  • spurts’ (rather than i.e. ‘runs’) shows that the blood is gushing strongly from her wound – describes the pulsing gush of pressurised blood as it is pumped out by the heart
  • Ironic – the coat is designed to look wet, but is now literally wet with her blood
  • Connotations:
  • -‘white’ – innocence
  • -‘white coat’ – doctor’s coat
  • -Contrast of red on white – Red Cross / bandages
  • Lines 5-10 describe the couple’s injuries
  • Makes the incident seem more graphic

Their arms are starfished out braced for impact, their faces show surprise, shock, the beginning of pain.

  • Their arms are starfished out braced for impact, their faces show surprise, shock, the beginning of pain.
  • Metaphor – the couple’s arms are flung out as they try to get their balance / protect themselves– shows the couple’s surprise
  • Alliteration – adds to the horror of the situation
  • Lines 1-14 describe the couple
  • This is like the foreground of the ‘word photo’
  • This will not save them – they are falling backwards into broken glass
  • Sounds like glass breaking?

The two youths who have pushed them are about to complete the operation reaching into the window to loot what they can smartly. Their faces show no expression.

  • The two youths who have pushed them are about to complete the operation reaching into the window to loot what they can smartly. Their faces show no expression.
  • It is not until line 15 that we find out what has happened to the couple
  • Effect – draws the reader in and makes them read on to find out what has happened
  • Tone - matter of fact
  • ‘Operation’ – the youths have planned the attack
  • Suggests a military operation; also refers to the surgical operations the couple will need
  • The youths have pushed them through the window so that they can steal from the shop
  • Highlights how heartless they are
  • Reinforces the youths’ priorities – speed and efficiency
  • Lines 15-19 deal with the youths
  • Middle-ground of ‘word photo’
  • Effective but brutal method

The two youths who have pushed them are about to complete the operation reaching into the window to loot what they can smartly. Their faces show no expression.

  • The two youths who have pushed them are about to complete the operation reaching into the window to loot what they can smartly. Their faces show no expression.
  • ‘Operation’ – the youths have planned the attack
  • Suggests a military operation; also refers to the surgical operations the couple will need
  • The youths have pushed them through the window so that they can steal from the shop
  • Highlights how heartless they are
  • Adverb ‘smartly’ at the end of the line
  • Reinforces the youths’ priorities – speed and efficiency
  • Lines 15-19 deal with the youths
  • Middle-ground of ‘word photo’
  • The youths show no concern for the couple / no emotion
  • Contrast the youths’ expressions with the couple’s: ‘surprise, shock...the beginning of pain’
  • Effective but brutal method

It is a sharp, clear night in Sauchiehall Street. In the background two drivers keep their eyes on the road.

  • It is a sharp, clear night in Sauchiehall Street. In the background two drivers keep their eyes on the road.
  • Reflects sharpness of broken glass
  • Setting revealed at the end of poem – adds to realism
  • Lines 20-23 describe the drivers
  • Background of the ‘word photo’
  • Good visibility – the drivers can see what is happening
  • The drivers can see what is going on but are choosing to look the other way and avoiding getting involved
  • This highlights the poem’s theme: society’s lack of concern for others
  • The poem makes us ask the question: Does the attitude of the youths cause the drivers’ attitude, or vice versa?


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