Earth Studies Essay
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Sheenagh Pugh gives us a very depressing view of the future in her trilogy of poems known as ‘the Earth Studies’. She gives us these views by writing very descriptive and atmospheric poems subtly conveying her opinion on world pollution. All her poems tell stories at different times of earth’s extinction for example: ‘The Craft I left in was called Esau’ was set just when the survivors left the now extinct earth, And ‘Geography 1’ and ‘Do you think we’ll ever get to see Earth, Sir’ were set when the survivors are in a different place, probably a planet.
In Sheenagh Pugh’s poems, the mood and atmosphere are very important as it helps her convey her opinion to her readers. And also it makes her poems interesting to read.
The first poem that I am going to analyse is ‘The Craft I left in was called Esau’ which is the first in ‘the Earth Studies’ trilogy. This poem tells the story of human survivors leaving Earth because they destroyed it. The poems title refers to the parable of Esau, who swapped his inheritance for a bowel of potage. This is suggesting that humans made a bad barging as Esau did. My first example of Sheenagh Pugh creating good atmosphere from ‘The Craft I left in was called Esau’ is lines 10-11 when she says ‘No bother, No big deal. I can’ t recall feeling sad’ I think this creates good atmosphere because it seems to be said very hollowly, conveying a large sense of falseness among the readers, it is as if the writer is saying something to try and hide emotion, which tells me that the writer really means the opposite.
My second example from ‘The Craft I left in was called Esau’ is in line 6-7 when she says ‘People joked nervously; just like a plane flight’. I think this creates a good atmosphere with good use of the simile just like a plane flight because it is something that the readers can relate to. Also the phrase ‘nervously joked’ conveys the general mood of the survivors, who are on the flight, which is uncertainty and fear.
My third example is from line 8 which says ‘ they found seats and wondered if their bags would fit’ I think this phrase discreetly shows atmosphere as the survivors are worrying over the most trivial things such as whether their bags fit after they just left their home planet because they misused its resources which caused it to be destroyed. I think that they are doing this to try and blank the past from their minds. The second poem is called ‘Do you think we’ll ever get to see Earth, Sir’. It is about two people talking about visiting Earth on excursion trips. I think this is set in around 20 years after ‘The craft I left in was called Esau’ as it states that the writer used to live on Earth.
The poem starts with in a very sad atmosphere, the poem is very sad and pessimistic, an example of this is ‘you won’t see what it once was’. This shows that the writer is still very sad because of earth being destroyed; it conveys the writer’s opinion and sensitivity very well. From line 11 the poem does not create much atmosphere but it does use very beautiful descriptive language to create an overall happy mood. The start of this is ‘But if you see some beautiful thing’ But signals that there is going to be a change to the mood of the poem.
It also starts using very uncommon words such as damascened (which means: something is decorated by inlaying or encrusting a pattern) and iridescence (which means: spectrum of luminous or shimmering colours). One of the best examples of description I have ever read in a poem is ‘look at it as if you were made of eyes, as if you were nothing but an eye, lidless and tender. To be probed and scorched by extreme light’. I think that the aforementioned description is an amazing way of personification because it is totally original, A completely different way of describing something. Also the ending is very nicely phrased to make it sound soppy and could bring tears to some peoples eyes.
The third poem is called ‘Geography one’ and is about a futuristic geography class where none of the children had ever seen Earth before. This is the last in ‘the Earth Studies trilogy’ and is a very similar the first 2 poems because some of it is very descriptive and is very emotional. In this story the teacher is showing her class slides of a volcanic region called Surtsey, which she briefly saw while she was on Earth. This helps her remember her experiences. Also this poem carries the moral of cherish the moment. My first example of discretion and mood is from line 6 ‘Now here you see the terrific spray, the water heaved aside as the rock was thrown up’. The first part of this describes the water as a terrific spray, which is usually seen when waves crash against something, i.e. when it hits a boat.
Also the waves must have been quite big as it managed to throw up a rock. My second example is from line 22-25 ‘The man here is a warden, guarding his little world from any interference, letting it grow as it was meant to’ I think this phrase shows that the writer appreciates this mans view otherwise she would not have brought him up. I also think that she envies him for having his own little world, which is his and his alone. My last example is from line 28 until the end. ‘I saw it one day in passing; it was a few years old. Just an offshore island, a stony outline softened with lichen. Someone said that’s Surtsey, and I said fancy that, but I hadn’t time to look properly’
I think that Sheenagh Pugh is a very effective writer, but I do not think that she is that good a poet because I usually associate poetry with Rhyming words. I personally think that she should think of becoming a proper author and that she should convert her poems into short stories. I think that she is very effective at describing things and adding her own feelings. I think that in her fist poem ‘The craft I left in was called Esau’ that she was very good at creating atmosphere and tension. In the other two poems, she was great at describing images. I agree with her that we are careless with resources and that someone will have to come up with an answer soon. I think that the second poem ‘Do you think we will ever get to see earth, sir’ was my favourite poem as it had lots of description.