Compare the characters and language in the poems “Give” and“Clown Punk” by Simon Armitage.
There are many similarities and differences in the two poems “Give” and“Clown Punk”. In this essay I am going to be looking at the tone of the twopoems, the reactions of people in the poems and the language used toconvey characters to us.Firstly, one of the few similarities between the two poems is the languageused to convey to us the situation of the two characters. In both poems thecharacters are outcasts, living on the margins of society. In the Clown Punkthe man is described as the ‘town clown’, which shows the stereotypical,humourous character that people see him as. Similarly to this, in Give thebeggar describes himself as ‘making a scene’ possibly referring to the wayin which people see beggars and people who are different: a problem. Bothof these poems show the problems in society with stereotyping, thesituations people find themselves in and people reactions to them.Next, I am going to look at some of the many differences between the twopoems.Firstly, the poems have very contrasting tones and voices. The languageused to give these across differs to have different effects on the reader. Inthe Clown Punk the language used is very depressing and drab. Words withreferences to weather and water such as ‘washing’, ‘windscreen’,‘windscreen wipers’ and ‘rain’ convey to the reader a dark and dismalpicture of the character. These words hint at signs of depression in thecharacter. The word phrase ‘dyed brain’ may also be a reference to thedifferences in the characters thinking and the possible mental problems hemay have.In contrast to this openness of problems and depression, the character inthe poem Give hides his emotions and true colours under a web of romanticism, sarcasm and irony. With this tone he can hide his desperationand some of the problems he is facing. He attempts to build up arelationship with the reader by using words such as ‘dear’ and the phrase‘of all the doorways in the world’, a play on words taken from the romanticfilm, Casablanca. These can also be seem as sarcastic as he is talking abouthomelessness as something beautiful and romantic, which is far from thehard truth. These are all large contrasts with the bluntness and clarity of theClown Punk.Lastly, I am going to look at the reactions of the reader to the character andalso of people in the poem to the character. In the Clown Punk an emphasisis put onto the ‘kids in the backseat’. We are told they are scared andhorrified at the picture of the character. However this differs from our ownreaction. The slightly humourous words such as ‘daft’, ‘mush’ and ‘shonky’make the character seem harmless rather than scary. He may even bringabout some compassion that people are laughed at in this way when theymay need help rather than fear. As a contrast to this, our first impression of the character in Give is one of annoyance. Annoyance at his sarcastic tone;annoyed at the lack of gratitude he seems to display when he says, ‘yougive me tea. That’s big of you’. However the last line of the poem hitshome. ‘I’m on my knees. I beg of you.’ This phrase shows the extent andnature of his desperation. We then feel sympathy towards the character and