1. a) Every stanza in this poem starts with one-word sentence fragment rather than a complete sentence. A sentence fragment is more effective because it represents the tone of the poem. With only one word used, the poet stresses that nothing or everything was missed without having to explain what exactly in the same sentence. This way one word explains and answers the question what was missed.
b) This poem has very little punctuation – capital letters and line breaks indicating the end of a though, but no punctuation at the end of the sentences. This use of punctuation affects the meaning of the poem because it doesn’t finish the poet’s idea and leaves the reader with thoughts, ideas and guesses of what else might be said, or might have happened.
Stanza # Literal paraphrase of the text The ironic subtext – what is really meant
1 We couldn’t do anything when you weren’t here, so we just sat at our desks and did nothing. Do you really think you’re so important the whole world stops and twiddles its thumbs when you’re not here?
2 I gave an exam worth 40 per cent and reading on which there’s a quiz today worth 50 per cent of the term mark. Can you understand how much you miss when you’re not in class?
3 Nothing in this course is valuable or meaningful and the activities done are pointless and won’t matter to you or to me. Do you really think that missing the class means that nothing new and valuable was taught and that the exercises were assigned without a purpose?
4 Shortly after the beginning of the class an angel appeared and told us what one should do in order to reach perfect wisdom. It was the last day of classes before everybody separates and goes to tell the good news to all people. Do you think that some kind of being will come and tell you exactly what you should do to be smart enough and at least pass this course?
5 When you are not in class nothing significant can happen. Can you imagine that just because you weren’t present and nothing occurred?
6 The classroom is a small planet of humans and everything in the classroom exists to make you question yourself and wonder. This opportunity doesn’t exist only in the classroom but it is one place. Do you think that with your absence you stop the world go around?
b) The teacher deliberately uses verbal irony to show the student that what is going on in the class doesn’t change because he/she was absent. The student missed not only to be present in the class, but what was taught and what happened or didn’t happen, as well.
Someone can rely on verbal irony in situations when he/she wants to offend someone, because that someone has done something wrong towards the person.
3. Some stanzas in this poem are indented while others are not because the poet wants to differentiate whether everything or nothing was missed since the sentence fragments repeat one after another. The literally techniques used in the non-indented paragraphs are hyperbole, irony, repetition and understatement, while in the indented paragraphs the literally techniques are symbolism, satire, exaggeration and repetition as well.
4. The kinds of images used repeatedly in stanzas one, two, and three are all connected with the classroom and what can be learned there. However, the images used in stanzas four and six are linked with the universe and the person existing in it. The significance of this change in the type of imagery is that it represents what visually happens in a classroom and what really goes on in the classroom as part of the universe and one place where opportunities take place.