Here’s an L7/A Grade Essay Example on Ted Hughes’ poem Football at Slack with teachers’ feedback. Great for teaching, or for students who are revising and want to take their essays to the next level!
“Examine the ways in which the speaker uses humorous, childlike or whimsical imagery in the poem ‘Football at Slack’.”
In the poem ‘Football at Slack’, the speaker employs humorous, childlike imagery to describe the game of football and the players’ actions as they try to continue their outdoor game during a brief rainstorm. These literary devices create a sense of lightheartedness and joy, showing that bad weather doesn’t get in the way of their sportsmanship.
Firstly, the speaker uses childlike imagery to describe the players’ movements and actions on the field. For instance, the players “bounced”, “spouted”, and “shouted” around the field, a set of dynamic verbs which create a playful and carefree atmosphere. Hughes grew up in a rural setting in West Yorkshire, and football was a common pastime in his community, which may have inspired his use of childlike and whimsical imagery in the poem – many critics believe that he was drawing on a memory from his childhood in Calderdale when he wrote the poem, as it was written in the late 1970s, when he was middle aged.
Secondly, the speaker employs humorous imagery to describe the players’ physical appearances. For example, the use of alliteration in the phrase ‘merry-coloured men’ shows how fun they are through the adjective ‘merry’, which connotes fun and joyfulness. The rain leaves their ‘hair plastered’, making their appearance seem silly, as if they are like toys or statues rather than real men. Moreover, the repetition of ‘bounced’, which is used to describe both the men and the ball, combines with the adjective ‘rubbery’ to give a comic effect of the men following the movement of the ball as it bounces up and down the field.
Finally, the speaker uses whimsical imagery to describe the natural environment. The phrase “The glare light/Mixed its mad oils/ and threw glooms.” uses enjambment to show how the sun covers the landscape, like a painter using dark and light. In the final couplet, the sun itself ‘Lifted the cloud’s edge, to watch them.’ This makes the game seem so fun and entertaining, that even nature stops to watch it.
In conclusion, the poem ‘Football at Slack’ employs humorous, childlike, and whimsical imagery to describe the game of football and the players’ actions. Through his use of imagery, Hughes portrays the innocence and fun of the sport, while also highlighting the physical comedy and fantastical nature of the game.
Grade: 15/25 (64% – L7 / A Grade)
- demonstrates knowledge by showing some thoroughness in the use of supporting evidence from the text (AO1)
- shows an understanding of the text and some of its deeper implications (AO2)
- makes some response to the way the writer uses language (AO3)
- makes a reasonably developed relevant personal response (AO4)
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