Building Blocks- How does the poet use language and other techniques to present ideas and feelings about bullies and bullying

The poet uses various ways to present different ideas and feelings about bullies.

The first is an extended metaphor. The extended metaphor is the idea of construction. He compares the the process of building a house to him building up his confidence. This is done several times in the poem; “Confident concrete tower”, “with insults they moulded”, “bully dry rot” and “Not louts who love to get plastered”. These are all quotes that show that bullying was a process for the reader.

Another way the poet uses language to show ideas and feelings about bullying is words and suggestions. An example of this is where he says “With insults they moulded me”. The word “moulded” suggests that the insults the bullies gave to the poet made him turned him into the person he is now.


Slow Reader- How do you think the speaker feels about the child and his experience of learning to read and how does the poet present the speakers feelings?

The poet shows us that the speaker feels like they are being too commanding towards the child. The speaker doesn’t want to force the child into things he doesn’t want to do. We can see this in the poem where it says ‘He can make sculptures and fabulous machines, invent games, tell jokes, give solemn, adult advice-but he is slow to read.‘ This is how the poet presents the speakers feelings about the child. They list the good things the child can do, then they say ‘but he is slow to read.‘ She is emphasising the fact that he is intelligent but he can’t do such a simple thing like reading. We can see that the speaker feels like they are being too commanding again in another quote ‘a fish returning to its element.This quote is comparing the child to a fish. It does this by using the idea of a fish returning to its element, in this case the water. The way a fish returns to what it knows best is the same as the child returning to what he knows best which is not reading. The person teaching him to read doesn’t want him to dislike reading so they don’t force him to read. They want him to have a good experience of reading.

The child himself believes it is impossible for him to ever learn to read, which is why he tries to prolong the situation so he doesn’t have to read. We can see this where it says sighing and shaking his head like an old man, who knows the mountains are impassible.‘ This shows us that like an old man knows it is impassible for him to climb a mountain, the child also knows in his mind it’s impossible for him to ever learn how to read. He plays with the words instead of reading them so that he doesn’t have to read them. It shows us this where it says ‘He toys with words letting them go cold as gristly meat, until I relent.‘ This shows us he doesn’t want to read so he is trying his best to waste time until the person teaching him gets tired of him refusing. The word relent suggests that the person teaching him to read has to nag him to do it.


How does Carol Ann Duffy use imagery to convey conflict in her poem, War photographer?

Carol Ann Duffy uses imagery in her poem, war photographer to show us how emotion is a big part of conflict. One way she shows us this is when she says ‘how blood stained into foreign dust’. This quote shows us how all the bloodshed of war has absorbed into the earth and were forgotten and so the victims are forgotten. This quote links to emotion because the quote is about rememberance. It’s about how so much conflict happens at once, the people dying through that time are forgotten.

“Poverty is not a problem in the UK”

The people you are about to meet are not as lucky as you. Most people prefer to ignore them. They themselves prefer not to bother us. But at the end of the day, there is an issue that the government, politicians and the media decide not to mention, because they believe it will expose a crack in our economy.

These people are the ones living in the UK who have jobs but are somehow still not able to provide for their family.

The government are made leaders of our country to help us as citizens. They are meant to be integrous, honest and sincere however they lack these traits at times. An example of this is the people living in poverty you see around you all the time. They say they are going to make people’s lives better but that doesn’t seem to be happening. In 2014, 6.5% of the UK’s population were in severe poverty, equivalent to approximately 3.9 million people. This is a shocking statistic as the population of the UK is 65,329,580. If the government were true to their word then the poverty rate would be much lower. 43.52% of people went to food banks because their benefits were cut by the government.

Victims of benefit cuts are left with no other option. Now that they cannot pay to keep a roof above their head, they have to go and live in a homeless shelter with complete strangers. In these shelters they have mattresses for the people to sleep on.  

For a lot of people, poverty is just something we read about in the news. For my neighbor however, it was something that he lived on a daily basis. One night when I was cleaning up my room, I remember looking out of my window onto my road and seeing him rummaging through my dustbins for food. For a split second, we caught eyes, then he ran off into the darkness.

At that moment I realized that poverty is a massive problem in the UK and the government ones who struggle with poverty are to blame.





Compare the ways in which Ron Suskind presents the difficulties of Cedric’s education in Part one and Part two

In this essay I will be explaining how Ron Suskind presents the difficulties of Cedric’s education in part one and part two of his articles. This story is about a boy named Cedric who faces difficulties in his school, Ballou High due to the reputation of his school. His school is ‘crime infested’ and he receives a lot of verbal abuse from students at Ballou High and M.I.T. Throughout the articles Suskind uses various language devices such as metaphors, personification and hyperbole, to suggest that Cedric had a difficulty with his education.

One language device Ron Suskind uses in his articles is the metaphor. An example of when he uses a metaphor in part one is, ‘The arduous odyssey of Cedric’. This metaphor talks about how Cedric faces individual problems at his school, Ballou High, such as bullying and underachieving. The quote is trying to imply that Cedric is on a long, difficult journey, just like the character in the Greek myth the odyssey. We can see this where it says ‘arduous odyssey’, it is explaining that Cedric is struggling in school. The word ‘arduous’ suggests that for Cedric to achieve well it will involve or require strenuous effort, it will be difficult and tiring. The Odyssey is a Greek myth about a guy who goes on a long, hard journey to achieve what he wants. This is how Suskind tells us that Cedric is having a difficult and tiring time at Ballou High.

The metaphor ‘The arduous odyssey of Cedric’ talks about Cedric’s journey and individual problems at Ballou High. However Suskind uses a different metaphor, ‘I tell him those people on the sideline already out of the race’ which talks about the problems that Cedric and the achieving students face as a collective. Here we can see that Cedric is trying to achieve good grades at M.I.T but his journey to have a great education is like a race. It is competitive and there are a lot of obstacles in the way. He needs to stay focused and not look at other people in the race hence why his teacher tells him ‘people on the sideline are already out of the race’. This quote shows Cedric as part of a collective because everybody in the race is facing the same thing. They all want to come first but in order to do that they all need to focus. This is how Suskind contrasts the two quotes.

A substitute language technique that Ron Suskind uses is personification. An illustration of this is when he endorses the quote ‘Failure is persuasive here, even seductive’. This quote compares with another quote ‘detonations of self doubt has now become audible’. These quotes are similar because both of them are based on failure. The first quote is talking about failure in a subtle way. This quotation is personification because Suskind, the writer is trying to say that the kids there actually want to learn, they actually want to achieve well but in a way they are forced not to achieve well because the majority of people in that school do not do well in school. Personification is when an object is described or spoken about as if it were a person. This links back to what Ron Suskind did in his article. He wrote about failure as if it were a person going around and seducing the students into not achieving well. That is what failure is doing in Ballou high. The second quote ‘detonations of self doubt has now become audible’ is addressing failure in a harsh way. A detonation is an explosion, so for Suskind to say that for Cedric, detonations of self doubt has now become audible is implying that before, Cedrics doubt of not achieving in M.I.T was very low, but now his doubt is high. The detonations of his doubt are now audible, which means his doubt is now being voiced to other people. 

In part two of Ron Suskind’s article he introduces a new language technique. This technique is hyperbole. We can see this when he quotes ‘for Cedric, M.I.T has taken on almost mythic proportions’. Here Ron is trying to imply that Cedric has had to work his very hardest so that he can get into M.I.T. A myth is a story that is not true that people usually tell kids to learn a moral. The characters in the myths usually have to go through a great deal of struggles to get what they desire in the end. Suskind is trying to imply that Cedric has had to go through a deal of great things to get to M.I.T just like the hero in the myth, it shows Cedric’s determination to have a good education.

The metaphor is a very popular asset in Suskind’s articles as we can see that he uses it again in part two. He quotes ‘Mr Washington vends his frustration at how the deck is stacked against unprivileged students like Cedric and Neda’. The writer is trying to say that the education system is unfair to students like Cedric and Neda because they didn’t get a good education before they came to M.I.T. We can see this where it says ‘the deck is stacked against unprivileged students’. Everybody in M.I.T has a head start because they were actually taught in their schools. It means Cedric has to work just as hard to catch up. Suskind uses another metaphor ‘But where I start from is so far behind where some other kids are, I have to run twice the distance to catch up.’ Here the writer tells us that because of Cedric’s level of achievement at Ballou High, he has to work twice as hard because he is no where as near the other students in M.I.T who have already received great education. This quote is quite similar to the quote ‘The deck is stacked against unprivileged students like Cedric and Neda’ in the sense that they both focus on the point that Cedric’s time in Ballou high wasn’t so great and that he has to work twice as hard if he wants to achieve the same as the students in M.I.T who are already ahead.

In conclusion we can see that Ron Suskind uses various language techniques, compares and contrasts to present to us Cedric’s difficulties because he uses three main language techniques metaphor, personification and hyperbole. The way in which Suskind utilizes these techniques are very powerful. By Ron Suskind using these techniques we can now get a sense of how Cedric has struggled in school. The use of language techniques brings us into the story and allows us to see life from Cedric’s perspective.




English Homework

Task One

Words I don’t know and (guess) the definition;

Gravitate: I think this word means to be lifted up                                                                                                                Condoning: I think this word means to try to stop something from happening. To reduce the chance of something happening.  

Task Two

The sentence that addresses our essay question (How have emcees we have studied criticized the REEL?)is the sentence that says Another interesting example of hip-hop which criticises the Reel is the song ‘Mainstream’ by hip-hop duo, Outkast. Their song provides an interesting example of criticising the Reel because it contains themes found in stereotypical hip-hop: drug dealing and violence.  Another sentence that addresses our essay question is this sentence “Unlike other songs which glorify these themes, however, Outkast’s song attempts to try and explain to the listener why these issues exist. 

Task Three

A sentence which make general points about T-Mo and how he criticises the REEL is the sentence stating “T-Mo does not promote that lifestyle, however. Instead, he seeks to explain why this way of life exists.”  Another sentence that makes a general point about the criticism of the REEL is this sentence. “Instead of condoning crime, he seems to be saying that it is the lack of resources available in the inner city that ensure that crime becomes a career opportunity for young people.”

Task Four

Sentences which analyse in detail how T-Mo criticises the REEL are “Even though he recognises that ‘cocaine dealers’ walk the ‘wrong’ side, he still admits that they are ‘looking cleaner than [he] seen ‘em the last time.’ Here, T-Mo acknowledges that drug dealing is not something we should aspire to, but recognises that what is admirable about their trade is the fact that they, unlike many others in his area, have become successful.”


How have Emcees we have studied used hip-hop to criticize the REEL?

In this essay I will look at how hip-hop has changed over the years and how emcees I have studied criticise the REEL. I will start by explaining what the REEL is.

The REEL is when people act a certain way to ‘fit in’. People act this way because certain hip-hop has portrayed the black culture as violent, mad and uncivilised. They make people feel like if you do certain things and hang around with certain people you are a ‘proper black boy’. When hip-hop portrays this image to white suburbia, they may feel like we are a threat to them, that we don’t know how to conduct ourselves.

Hip-hop came from a genre of music called Blues. This was a genre made by black individuals to express themselves about slavery. Before hip-hop was invested in, the music’s content was about things that affected the inner city communities. Such as racism, poverty and police brutality. Music companies saw that this was a good opportunity to gain money. The music companies changed the content of the lyrics because they were not gaining any profit, no one would listen to a rapper insult a police officer and his actions. They only made record deals with the rappers who didn’t mind rapping about things that weren’t socially conscious such as blacks fighting blacks, selling drugs and having sex all the time. By these rappers changing their lyrics they got a bigger audience meaning the companies would make profit. According to J.Flores (1988), music companies do this because the white suburban audience admit they enjoy the hyper-violent and hyper-masculine lyrics. Flores says that white suburbia consume 70% of hip-hop produced and at this day and age it is more economically viable to advertise hip-hop more to whites than to the black community that it originally derived from.

One emcee I have studied is an emcee named Mos Def. Mos Def is one of the emcees I have studied who criticises the REEL. We can see this in a song he made called ‘Mathematics’. He named it ‘Mathematics’ because of the relationship between numbers and the rap industry. in the song he raps ‘Like I got 16 to 32 bars to rock it/but only 15% of my profits, ever see my pockets’. Here, Mos Def shines a light on how the rap industry is exploitative of emcees. He shows this by contrasting the number of bars to the profit he makes. He suggests that his own record label takes advantage of his good work. In the second part of the bar ‘but only 15% of my profit ever see my pockets’ he uses sibilance. Sibilance is when you use the ‘s’ sound repeatedly. When you hear the sound ‘s’ you think of snakes. This links back to the idea of Mos Def getting exploited by his record label.

Bronx native YC the Cynic is another artist who criticises the REEL. He criticises the REEL by using repetition. He shows this in his hook saying i’ll ride for my negus, die for my negus. The repetition of the word ‘NEGUS‘ is important. This is because the word ‘NEGUS‘ comes from the Ethiopian language meaning royalty. Here YC the Cynic suggests that black people were kings and queens in Egypt before they were ever slaves. In comparison, the word ‘NIGGA‘ is a derogatory word used to insult or put down people of the African origin. YC the Cynic implies in this song that the word ‘NIGGA‘ is used casually. Here YC the cynic tries to make people aware of the word NIGGA. He tries to say that the word NIGGA should be used when necessary.

Akala, a rapper who criticises the REEL has an SBTV freestyle. In his SBTV freestyle he starts the rap with this opening sentence ‘Sorry kids let me apologise before I go further, Unfortunately I don’t rap about how many man I’ve murdered.’ By opening his freestyle like this he has already criticised the REEL. By letting his audience know he raps about things that are socially conscious, not things that are REEL he immediately criticises the rappers who do rap about the subjects that are in the box. We can see this where he says ‘Unfortunately I don’t rap about how many man I’ve murdered’. When he says unfortunately its as if its a disappointment to the audience. Akala also uses another quote to back up his point. ‘Apparently murdering man has become an aspiration’. Here we can see how the box has created a specific mind-set towards young people stating that murdering is not a bad thing. 

Kendrick Lamar criticises the REEL using a song he made called ‘The Blacker the Berry‘. In his song he talks about police brutality and racism. These subjects are socially conscious. By rapping about things that are happening now, things that people are aware of, Kendrick Lamar criticises the REEL. In his song ‘The Blacker the Berry’ he uses repetition. He repeats these lines ‘The Blacker the Berry, the sweeter the juice’. Here Lamar emphasise the fact that the darker you are the better you are. He tries to highlight the fact that being black is not wrong. He tries to state that instead of trying to hide your blackness you should embrace it.

To conclude this essay I will talk about why the REEL is bad and why young people like me shouldn’t follow it. The REEL is a concept made by mass media to portray a bad image of how young people should live. My evidence shows that rappers nowadays talk about things they have to rap about not what they want to rap about. Rappers such as the ones I have studied talk about things that they don’t even do. They make music that influence the young audience and make them think they have to live a certain way. People should not follow the REEL because it’s not good. It is being someone you’re not.



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