UNTO US Spike Milligan IMPORTANCE OF THE TITLE “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Extract from the bible foreseeing the birth and power of Jesus. Every child is born with potential to do great things. SPIKE MILLIGAN Comedian, writer, poet, musician, playwright, soldier and actor. Born 16th April 1918. Died 27th February 2002 Epitaph – “I told you I was ill” INTRODUCTORY TASK Read the poem yourself. What do you think the main issue within this poem is? In pairs discuss the topic of abortion. Do you agree or disagree with it? Is there any situation in which abortion should or should not be allowed? Be prepared to justify your answers. YOUR REACTION After reading the poem how did it make you feel about: A. The topic of abortion. B. The parents. C. The unborn baby? What, from the poem, made you feel this way? UNTO US – THEMES Abortion Carelessness Hatred Vulnerability and Helplessness Neglect NARRATIVE STYLE Monologue – inner thoughts and feelings of the foetus. Shows a biased view of abortion. Persona – Milligan writing as if he were the foetus. 1st Person – Written as if by the foetus, showing its perspective. No Stanzas – To emphasise how raw the foetus’ thoughts and feeling are. ANALYSIS We are now going to analyse the poem to determine how Milligan conveys these themes and elicits such a strong reaction from the reader. Make sure that you are taking detailed notes now as they will come in useful when revising. Word choice- makes the conception seem random and unimportant or memorable – Highlighting theme of carelessness Somewhere at some time They committed themselves to me And so, I was! Small, but I WAS! Tiny, in shape Inversion – highlights how small the baby was and the theme of vulnerability. Contrast – committed suggests that it had been carefully considered and taken seriously. These parents clearly hadn’t. Repetition and capital letters show the foetus already has a sense of being and existence. Alliteration – shows how badly the baby wants to be alive. Metaphor – connotations of death, comparing the umbilical chord to that of a noose. Showing the baby is at another’s mercy. Theme of helplessness + vulnerability. Metaphor for the womb. Should be a place of safety and comfort. Pulsing shows life. In this poem the place the baby dies. Lusting to live I hung in my pulsing cave. Dashes suggest that the parents are Soon they knew of me separate and not a couple. My mother -- my father. I had no say in my being I lived on trust The baby did not have these things therefore And love death was almost inevitable. Metaphor – babies need these things to live in the same way as they need food and water. Again showing helplessness and vulnerability. Showing that the baby was not fully developed in womb. The promise of a new life and what could have been. Tho' I couldn't think Each part of me was saying A silent 'Wait for me I will bring you love!' I was taken The turning point of the poem – the moment that all the promise and hope disappeared as the baby was aborted. Desperate to live. These yells were silent and in vain as they could not be heard. Word choice – shows that the baby was removed from the womb without permission and roughly/ without care. Highlights theme of carelessness. Word choice – again highlighting how vulnerable the foetus was. Play on the word grave – where the baby has gone to die. Blind, naked, defenceless By the hand of one Whose good name Was graven on a brass plate in Wimpole Street, and dropped on the sterile floor of a foot operated plastic waste bucket. Word choice – showing how carelessly (theme) the foetus is being treated and with such little dignity. Play on the term ‘Hand of God’ suggesting that the doctor was playing God, choosing who lives and dies. Sarcastic tone. Wealthy area of London, private doctor. Seems to make the abortion more acceptable and not as tacky. Line on its own – showing how disposable this life is considered. Shows the abortion is considered a crime, with no one there to look after the baby (helpless) or give it a fair hearing. Again showing the parents’ wealth. There was no Queens Counsel To take my brief. The cot I might have warmed Stood in Harrod's shop window. When my passing was told My father smiled. No grief filled my empty space. Last 2 lines showing the callous nature of the father and the relief he feels knowing that the baby has been disposed of. Again the idea of what the baby may have become. Suggesting that the baby would have been loving and joyful. Euphemism – The baby giving itself some dignity when no one else will. Continuing the idea of the baby’s death being a relief and the heartless nature of the parents to celebrate and not mourn. A famous drag queen. Tacky and cheap connotations. My death was celebrated With tickets to see Danny la Rue Who was pretending to be a woman Like my mother was. Final 2 lines of the poem sarcastic to show the anger and hatred the baby has for its parents not allowing it to live out its hopes. Scathing criticism of the mother who he claims can not be a real woman if she is so willing to give up her baby without a second thought as well as to be relieved with its death.