TEXTUAL ANALYSIS BASICS You are with waiting with your friends at the bus stop. Along comes a brand new vehicle sporting the bus companys logo. Its a Gold Line Service, and as the door opens you spot the announcement under the drivers computerised ticket machine. It says Your driver for today is George. None of your friends seem to notice anything about this but you realise why the company has spent money on the new livery and the announcement because you have studied Textual Analysis and can use your analytical skills to work out meaning. You know that the word Gold suggests not just wealth and money but also value and quality.
You know that the word line suggests something new and amazing. You know that the word service suggests the company are providing something good for their customers. You know that the word your suggests a personal relationship between you and the driver. Your friends are amazed and stare at you in silent admiration! Textual Analysis is a set of skills that will help you: to understand a text come to terms with it answer questions about how it is
written be able to write about it meaningfully. So lets throw you in at the deep end! Local Colour Something Im not familiar with, the tune of their talking, comes tumbling before them down the stairs which (oh I forgot) it was my turn to do again last week. My neighbour and my neighbour's child. I nod, we're not on speaking terms exactly.
I dont know much about her. Her dinners smell different. Her husbands a busdriver, so I believe. She carries home her groceries in Grandfare bags. though Ive seen her once or twice around the corner at Shastris for spices and such. (I always shop there hes open till all hours making good.) How does she feel? Her children growing up with foreign accents, swearing in fluent Glaswegian. Her face is sullen. Her coat is drab plaid, hides but for a hint at the hem, her saris
gold embroidered gorgeousness. She has a jewel in her nostril. The golden hands with the almond nails that push the pram turn blue In this citys cold climate. Liz Lochhead First Thoughts As you read through the poem for the first time, see if you can work out the answers to the following questions: 1. Who is speaking? 2. Who is she speaking about?
3. Where is the poem set? Thinking Through Now think a little deeper about what is happening in the poem. 1. Apart from the speaker and her neighbour, which other characters feature in the poem? 2. How can we tell from the poem that the speakers neighbour is not
originally from Glasgow? 3. Where do you think she has come from? Get to Work! As we study the poem we are going to look at how the words used create images for us. One image is of the neighbour spoken of. Another is of the speaker herself. They both live in.
The speaker is from . The neighbour is from. Whose point of view do we follow in the poem? Dramatic Monologue This type of poem is called a DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE. The word MONOLOGUE tells us someone is speaking uninterrupted rather than taking part in a conversation. The word DRAMATIC tells us that the speaker is not alone someone else is supposed to be listening.
Who do you think the Scottish woman is speaking to? Features of a Dramatic Monologues. One feature of dramatic monologues is that their speakers often reveals some of their nastier or more unpleasant thoughts, habits or actions. In Local Colour the speaker thinks she is telling us about her Indian neighbour but also reveals a great deal about herself too. Not all of it is particularly nice. Analysing the poem.
Were going to look at the monologue in three parts. In each part well see that the writer uses the same techniques: Alliteration Double meanings (ambiguity)
Word choice Visual Imagery (Metaphor, Simile, Personification) Sentence structure/punctuation Revelation. SECTION ONE THE FIRST VERSE ALLITERATION Alliteration is. Give an example. Why is alliteration used? Alliteration is often used to focus the readers attention on a certain
area of the text. Perhaps to make us notice something that is happening or to get us to concentrate on a point the writer is making. Alliteration can also affect the speed of a piece of writing. Repeating hard sounds such as b, k, t, etc. can have the effect of speeding up the writing. E.G. The runners burst forward at the b of the bang. Repeating soft sounds such as f, m or s can make the writing seem to
slow down and can provide a gentler feeling. E.G. The stream slowly slipped and softly slithered between the trees. NOW TRY THIS Copy out the first four lines of the poem. These lines make up the first sentence. Now highlight the letters that create alliteration here. Remember alliteration is a sound effect technique. Think about the sounds the letters make. What is the effect?
Something Im not familiar with, the tune of their talking, comes tumbling before them down the stairs which (oh I forgot) it was my turn to do again last week. Liz Lochhead does a very clever thing here. The speaker is telling us that a sound has grabbed her attention To do this she uses alliteration, a sound technique, to grab our attention and make us notice what is happening in these two lines of the poem.
NOW TRY THIS Answer these questions. 1. What alliteration do we find in line 5? Quote the words. 2. What is the writer trying to focus our attention on? 3. Why does the writer want us to focus on this? DOUBLE MEANING Lochead uses a particular sort of double meaning in the poem called AMBIGUITY. If something is ambiguous it has two possible meanings. It may be impossible for us to know which of the meanings is the right one even if we can see what both those possible meanings are.
As I was leaving this morning, I said to myself, 'The last thing you must do is forget your homework and, sure enough, as I left the house this morning, the last thing I did was to forget my homework. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed teaching this class. Thanks for dinner. Ive never seen potatoes cooked like that before. US Government wants FBI to help corrupt Iraqi Police Force" Lines 5 and 6 I nod, were not on Speaking terms exactly. NOW TRY THIS This comment has two possible meanings.
It could have a neutral meaning or a more negative one. Explain what the two meanings are. WORD CHOICE All successful writing makes careful use of positive and negative words choice. The word choice in Local Colour are important to our understanding. In line one we see an example of positive word choice. The speaker calls the sound of her neighbours speech the tune of their talking The word tune is a positive one. It tells us something about how their speech, in a foreign language she doesnt understand, sounds to her.
The speaker could have used a neutral words such as sound but this wouldnt tell us anything about the way she feels about it. What does tune suggest about the way she feels about their speech? NOW TRY THIS Put the word sound in the middle of a page. On one side, write all the words you can think of that mean nearly the same but tell us that it is a pleasant sound to hear (POSITIVE) On the other side, write all the words you can think of that suggest a nasty or unpleasant sound (NEGATIVE) Racket
Tune Sound HOW TO ANSWER WORD CHOICE QUESTIONS Revelation Weve already discovered that, in a dramatic monologue. The speaker often ends up revealing things about him or herself without realising it. In this poem, the speaker reveals a couple of things that show her
in a rather bad light. NOW TRY THIS Find quotations from the poem to prove: That the speaker is an unreliable or lazy neighbour That the speaker has not bothered getting to know her Indian neighbour. Also explain how each quotation proves the point. Punctuation The comment in brackets (parenthesis) in line 3 is called an ASIDE.
This is when someone breaks off from the main subject they are talking about to mention something else which has just occurred to them. ASIDES often give away what is on someone's mind. There is another later in the poem. What does this parenthesis suggest about the speaker? VISUAL IMAGERY (Metaphor, Simile, Personification) The alliteration in the poem creates sounds. The metaphor and personification in the poem create visual images for the reader. NOW TRY THIS
Identify the metaphor in the first verse. How to answer imagery questions Just as a knife in the back physically hurts, damages and leaves scars So too being betrayed by someone is a mentally painful experience This suggests that the damage done by a betrayal will leave lasting mental scars and be difficult to forget or even forgive. Part two: Verse two lines 7 to 14 ALLITERATION
NOW TRY THIS Answer these questions. Look back at the definition of ALLITERATION if you need to. 1. Which alliteration do we find in lines 7and 8? Quote the words What is the writer trying to focus our attention on? Why? 2. Which alliteration do we find in line 10? Quote the words What is the writer trying to focus our attention on? Why? 3. Which alliteration do we find in line 12? Quote the word. What is the writer trying to focus our attention on? Why?
AMBIGUITY (DOUBLE MEANING) Recap: Something is ambiguous if Lines 7&8 The speakers says: Her dinners smell different. Explain the two possible meanings (neutral and negative) WORD CHOICE & REVELATION The word choice in this section of the poem isn't the same negative/ positive as in parts one and three.
Instead word choice is used to reveal more about the speaker. Its in this section of the poem that we see the speaker at her worst. She seems like someone who jumps to conclusion and is a hypocrite. She comes close to being a racist. Visual Imagery There is only one example of visual imagery in this section. Identify it and analyse it using the formula: Just as.. So too. This suggests.
Sentence Structure/ Punctuation There is another aside in section two. Comment on what it reveals about the speaker. NOW TRY THIS On the left are quotations from the poem. On the right are their explanations. The explanations are in the wrong order. Copy the quotations into you jotter then follow it with the correct explanation.
Quotation Her husbands a bus driver, so I believe at Shastris for spices and such (I always shop there hes open till all hours) making good) This suggests The shop belongs to someone from an ethnic minority group
She assumes he is making good money, almost taking advantage of his customers. The speaker has no actual proof of his job, she just assumes that Asian men tend to do certain jobs. The speaker is happy to shop there because its convenient for her. NOW TRY THIS Answer the following questions about the second section. 1. How does the language in section two suggest the speaker jumps to conclusions or makes assumptions without evidence?
2. How does the language in section two suggest the speaker is a hypocrite? 3. How does the language in section two suggest the speaker is close to being a racist? 4. Show how the sentence structure/punctuation in section two reveals more about the speaker. SECTION THREE: LINE 14 TO THE END ALLITERATION Answer these questions: 1. The alliteration hides but for a hint at the hem shows
how the bright colours of the neighbours sari have been covered with a dull checked jacket. This helps us to understand that the womans happiness has been taken away by her move to Scotland 2. Which alliteration do we find in lines 19? Quote the words. What is the writer trying to focus our attention on? Why? 3. Which alliteration do we find in the last line? Quote the words. What is the writer trying to focus our AMBIGUITY The ambiguity comes at the end of the poem when the speaker tells us:
this citys cold climate. This has two meanings that are both true but in different ways. One meaning is literal One meaning is metaphorical. (factually true) (true in a wider, deeper, more thoughtful sort of way) Explain the literal meaning. Explain the metaphorical meaning using the formula: Just as.. So too
WORD CHOICE In this section of the poem the speaker uses some words with positive connotations and some with negative connotations. The words, both positive and negative are about what the Indian woman looks like. Negative word choice. Identify two negative word choices from line 17. sullen
drab These words tell us how the new environment of Glasgow affects her and affects the way she looks. Denotation Use a dictionary to look up the two words. Connotation What is suggested about how living in Glasgow is affecting this Indian neighbour? Use this formula: Sullen Suggests..
POSITIVE WORD CHOICE The positive words in this section describe the way the neighbour choses to look, the way she decides to present herself. Many of the details are connected to the fact that she still dresses in the way she would in her home country, rather than blending in with the Glaswegians around her. NOW TRY THIS Answer the following questions: 1. Which of the four words in the last five lines of the poem have particularly positive connotations? 2. There is a connection among three of the words. What is it?
3. What, in particular, do these three words tell us about the way the speaker feels about her neighbours looks? NOW TRY THIS As best you can, draw a picture of the Indian woman that the poem describes. Label the drawing with quotations from the poem. Use a blue or black pen to write the quotations which give negative connotations. Use a red or bright pen to write the quotations which give positive connotations.
IMAGERY There are three examples of imagery in section three. One of personification, and two of metaphor. Identify them and use the formula to analyse them Just as So too. This suggests. Sentence Structure/ Punctuation Identify the parenthesis in section three. What information does it give us. What effect does it have?
Turning Point Even though the poem has only two verses, we study it in three sections because in the second verse there is a TURNING POINT in the poem. A turning point is the point after which everything is different. In Local Colour, the turning point comes in line 14 when the speaker asks: How does she feel? Two things change from this turning point. Firstly, the mood or tone of the poem changes. Secondly, we start to get a very different, more positive image of the speaker. NOW TRY THIS
Copy the following table and complete it to show how these things are different before and after the turning point. What the speaker seems to be like Before the turning point After the turning point Mood or tone of the poem
NOW TRY THIS This is a group task and you will present your answers to the class as a poster. Start with a basic spider plan. For each leg, add details, explanations and quotations to show how the woman is isolated or why she is isolated. You can add as many legs as you wish. E.G. Her husband Her children
The woman is isolated from Her neighbours the city Her homeland
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