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In the poem, ‘near the school for handicapped children’ by Thomas Shapcott a man and his daughter are passing by a local school for handicapped children and come across a handicapped boy from a distance. In stanza one, the poet (Thomas Shapcott) describes the boy physically. In stanza two and three, he is still describing the boy, but also telling us how he feels about seeing him and how he compares himself to the boy while watching him. In the final stanza, he describes how the boy is happy and leaves the people who are watching him behind.
Within the first stanza, as stated before, the Poet describes the handicapped boy physically. In the line “his shirt jerks at his body” the author uses an affective idea of personification, giving the boy’s shirt human characteristics. By using this structure, the poem becomes more descriptive and hooks the reader in; making them want to read more. By writing the physical properties of the boy, the poet has written this stanza in third person, for example; his hat, his shirt and his feet.
In the second stanza, the writer is still describing the boy, but leading his appearance back to himself, and using his own physical properties in comparison to the boy’s. We can see this in the lines; “his limbs remind me of how straight/is my own spine and that I take/my fingers for granted” he then says “he is waiting for the green light” this is the first direct action that the Poet gives us.
The other actions he has used previously have all been impressions, where he has given us clues to puzzle together ourselves, to make a vivid image in our mind. Whereas in this line, he tells us what the boy is doing directly.
Stanza three is a little different to stanzas 1 and 2 because it is written in first person. This is recognized because of the way the writer has written “MY fingers, I am hurt, I fear MY, I’M, grasps ME” These are all examples of first person the author has used. Another big factor of this stanza is the emotion and technical vocabulary “I am hurt by my wholeness” is a great example because it makes you feel sympathetic towards the boy’s disadvantages. Another great example within the text is “his struggle rasps me like a whisper”
Stanza four has a complete change in the whole poem. It is nothing alike to the other stanzas, and the poet tries to show you how the handicapped boy is still happy, no matter how different he is or how many problems his world has, he dances and skips away, no matter how many people stare or what anybody else thinks. A good strategy the author has used here is repetition. In the line “he skips he dances and skips” he uses the word skips over and over again for affect. He also uses a simile for a finish. “Like a skimming tambourine brittle with music”
Overall, the descriptive poem “Near the school for handicapped children” By Thomas Shapcott has been written informatively and gives you a real impression on real life issues for some people. I highly recommend this poem to anyone who will enjoy it, as I really did.
By Bo Jacobsen
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