Objectives
By the end of today’s lesson you will be able to:
Complete a MITS
analysis of
“Mother…” by Simon
Armitage.
What could the
title be and why?
• These words come from a
poem about a mother and
a son. What do you think
the poet might be saying
about ‘mother/son’
relationships from the
words he has chosen to
use?
Mother, any distance greater than a single span
requires a second pair of hands.
You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,
the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.
You at the zero-end, me with the spool of tape, recording
length, reporting metres, centimetres back to base, then leaving
up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling
years between us. Anchor. Kite.
I space-walk through the empty bedrooms, climb
the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something
has to give;
two floors below your fingertips still pinch
the last one-hundredth of an inch… I reach
towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky
to fall or fly.
Questions
•
•
•
•
•
•
Why do you think the poet has used a mixture of
metric and imperial measures?
Summarise what you think the relationship is like
between the mother and the son.
How does the son feel, do you think, when he
reaches the end of the tape and looks through the
hatch of the loft?
Write down what the mother is thinking as she holds
the zero end of the tape.
Make a list of what the tape might represent literally
and metaphorically in the poem?
How do relationships with parents change as
children grow up? Make a list of key years when the
relationship changes eg learning to walk…going to
school, going on holiday with friends’ family, etc etc.
Direct
address to
“mother”
Annotate the poem using my notes and any of your own…
Why “span”?
Mother, any distance greater than a single span
requires a second pair of hands. Symbolic siginificance
Measuring
the room
or life
Mother is
there at the
beginning,
the anchor
You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,
the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.
You at the zero-end, me with the spool of tape, recording
Metaphor for
features of life
Enormous size
of the task
length, reporting metres, centimetres back to base, then leaving
up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling Moving in to life
gradually
years between us. Anchor. Kite.
Implies
the
starting
point
Single words suggest strong images (opposites?)
Sense of
being in air
– on his
own
Implies
opening to
life outside
I space-walk through the empty bedrooms, climb
the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something
has to give;
Break becomes inevitable
two floors below your fingertips still pinch
the last one-hundredth of an inch… I reach
towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky
to fall or fly.
On his own to succeed or fail
Final rhyme, to
what effect?
Still linked to
mother, but
tension high
A vista of
opportunities
and freedom
Themes/Meaning
 what is the poem about?
 who is the speaker? - are they dramatized (a character)
 who is being spoken to or addressed?
 what is being spoken about?
 Theme(s) of the poem - what is it really about?
 Setting/culture - where’s the poem set? Culture it is from/about?
 where does the poem “get to” from start to end?
Structure
 Rhyme - is there a rhyme scheme? Couplets? Internal rhyme?
 Rhythm - how many syllables per line? Is it regular or free verse? Why
TSLAP
Always link everything to meaning. Ask yourself how does this
contributes to the meaning? Why has the poet used this technique?
Attitude/Tone
 How would the poem be spoken? (angry, sad,
nostalgic, bitter, humorous etc)
Language
are some different lengths?
 Stanzas - How many? How do they change? Is there a narrative?
 Lines - how many are their in each verse? Do some stand out?
 Enjambment - do the lines “run on” to the next line or stanza?
 End stopping - does each line finish at the end of a sentence?
 Form - does the poem have a shape to it?
Imagery
 Alliteration - the repeating of initial sounds.
 Assonance - is the term used for the repetition of vowel sounds
within consecutive words as in, 'rags of green weed hung down...'.
 Metaphor - comparing two things by saying one is the other.
 Simile - comparing two things saying one is like or as the other.
 Personification - giving something non-human human qualities.
 Onomatopoeia - words that sound like the thing they describe.
 Repetition - does the poet repeat words or phrases?
 What kinds of words are used?
 Puns - a pun is a play on words - “Shear Class!” if Shearer scores.
 Connotation - associations that words have (as "stallion" connotes a
certain kind of horse with certain sorts of uses)?
 Double meanings - “butts in” - putting bottoms in or interrupting.
 Ambiguity - is the word or phrase deliberately unclear? Could it mean
opposite things or many different things?.
 Word order - are the words in an unusual order – why?
 Adjectives - what are the key describing words?
 Key words and phrases - do any of the words or phrases
stand out? Do they shock? Are the words “violent” or “sad” etc?
 Slang or unusual words and misspellings - Does the
poet use slang or informal language? Are American words used?
 Intertextuality - does the poem reference another text?
 Style - does the poet copy another style? (Newspaper, play etc)
 Characters - if there are characters how do they speak?
What have we learned
about the poem?
What extra annotations can I add?
Mother, any distance greater than a single span
requires a second pair of hands.
You come to help me measure windows, pelmets, doors,
the acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors.
You at the zero-end, me with the spool of tape, recording
length, reporting metres, centimetres back to base, then leaving
up the stairs, the line still feeding out, unreeling
years between us. Anchor. Kite.
I space-walk through the empty bedrooms, climb
the ladder to the loft, to breaking point, where something
has to give;
two floors below your fingertips still pinch
the last one-hundredth of an inch… I reach
towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky
to fall or fly.