Saturday, December 3, 2011

'The River' - Conflict

Good vs. Bad

Everything and everybody possesses both good and bad qualities. The river is deemed as good when it is likened to a baby and a singer. A negative spin is put on when the river makes an abrupt 180 degree turn and becomes comparable to a monster. 

'The River' - Literary Devices


#Point of view
-Third person
(The use of third person pronoun, 'he')


The speaker catalogs the various qualities of the river carefully.

The meditative tone of the speaker puts the reader into deep thought about the qualities of the river and how it translates to humans.

#Poetic devices

1. End Rhyme
Lines 2 & 4 of every stanza rhymes.
~Stanza 1 : tramp, camp
~Stanza 2 : hill, still
~Stanza 3 : deep, keep
~Stanza 4 : hums, thumbs
~Stanza 5 : along, song
~Stanza 6 : vexed, next


Aural imagery = sense of hearing
'gurgles and hums' (stanza 4, line 2)
'echoes the notes of the song' (stanza 5, lines 3-4)

Visual imagery = sense of sight
'twists and turns' (stanza 2, line 3)
'buries down deep' (stanza 3, line 2)
'dances along' (stanza 5, line 2)
'gobbled up trees' (stanza 6, line 3)

3. Personification
The nature of the river described in the poem has been imparted with the attributes of human qualities such as 'a wanderer, a nomad, a tramp', 'a winder', 'a hoarder', 'a baby', 'a singer' and 'a monster'.

4. Metaphor
The river - man as he journeys through life.

5. Repetition
'The River' - repeated to give emphasis to the subject.

6. Simile
The River is likened to a baby, who sounds 'like he's happily sucking his thumbs'.

7. Symbol
The various qualities of the river are symbolic of the various qualities found in humans.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'The River' - Figurative Meaning

Figurative Meaning

The river is a symbol for people. Like a river, people usually do not stay put in one place. This is especially evident in the Diaspora communities found all around the world. Just as the river is able to find a way 'through the valley and hill', people are usually able to move on in spite of their failures and successes. Neither the river not people are able to remain stagnant. Rivers need to flow to new areas and people are constantly entering new phases of their lives. The parallels between the river and people are further extended as both are hoarders who stash away the 'little treasures; that they want to keep. When the river is flowing calmly, the atmosphere is tranquil as evident by its sound which is similar to a baby 'happily sucking his thumbs'. This is an apt reminder for people to learn how to remain calm so that a soothing atmosphere can be maintained. Those who usually enjoy the outdoors are able to take delight in the splendour of the river much like how music lovers take pleasure in attending the concert of their favourite singer. This reminds us that to the world you may just be someone, but to someone, you may be the whole world. The river has its ugly side which is capable of mass destruction and claiming human lives which is not unlike some notorious tyrants known for genocide. 

'The River' - Literal Meaning

*The Title
'The River'
-A fluid thing - the river - is chosen as the title to represent the fluid nature of the river and people.

*Literal Meaning

First Stanza
The river can be found flowing at any place of the earth; therefore it is not exclusive to any one place.

Second Stanza
The river flows around valleys and hills as it cannot be stagnant.

Third Stanza
Objects that are sunk in the river usually tend to stay there.

Fourth Stanza
The sound of the river has a lulling effect.

Fifth Stanza
The sound of the River is much appreciated by many (though more so at the countryside).

Sixth Stanza
The River can be a destructive force which destroys trees and the speaker jokes that the reader may be the river's next victim.

Friday, November 11, 2011

'The River' - About the Poet

About the poet - Valerie Bloom

Valerie Bloom

Valerie Bloom was born in Jamaica and came to England in 1979.

She studied English with African and Caribbean Studies at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

She writes poetry in English and Jamaican patois for all ages, and has performed her work throughout the world, with many television and radio appearances. Her poetry is included in a number of anthologies and she tutors regularly for schools and colleges.

Her books include the Jamaican poetry collections Touch mi! Tell mi! (1983); andDuppy Jamboree and other Jamaican Poems (1991); Hot Like Fire (2002), a collection of poems in English and Jamaican patois; and more recently, Whoop an'Shout! (2003).

She has edited several collections of poetry such as On a Camel to the Moon and other poems about journeys (2001) and One River, Many Creeks: poems from all around the world (2003). Her children's novel, Surprising Joy, was published in 2003.

Valerie Bloom has been awarded an Honorary Masters Degree from the University of Kent, and lives in Kent. Her latest books are The Tribe and A Soh Life Goh, both published in 2008. In the same year, she was awarded an MBE for services to poetry.

Taken from: BritishCouncil

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The River by Valerie Bloom

The River by Valerie Bloom

The River's a wanderer, 
A nomad, a tramp, 
He doesn't choose one place
To set his camp.

The River's a winder,
Through valley and hill
He twists and he turns,
He just cannot be still.

The River's a hoarder,
And he buries down deep
Those little treasures
That he wants to keep.

The River's a baby,
He gurgles and hums,
And sounds like he's happily
Sucking his thumb.

The River's a singer,
As he dances along,
The countryside echoes
The notes of his song.

The River's a monster
Hungry and vexed,
He's gobbled up trees
And he'll swallow you next. 


*gobbled = to eat something quickly and greedily
(Bahasa Malaysia = membaham/menelan)
*gurgle = to make a bubbling sound in the throat, or say something with a bubbling sound in the throat
(Bahasa Malaysia = mengomel)
*hoarder = a person who collects and stores, often secretly, large amounts of things such as food or money for future use
(Bahasa Malaysia = orang yang suka menyimpan harta benda; selalunya untuk masa depan)
*hum = to sing with lips closed and without words
(Bahasa Malaysia = menderam/berdengung)
*swallow = to make food or drink go down your throat and towards your stomach
(Bahasa Malaysia = menelan)
*tramp = a homeless person who travels on foot, often begging for a living
(Bahasa Malaysia = pengemis)
*treasure = something of great value or worth
(Bahasa Malaysia = khazanah/harta karun)
*vexed = provoked to slight annoyance, anxiety or distress
(Bahasa Malaysia = panas baran)
*wanderer, nomad = somebody who drifts from place to place
(Bahasa Malaysia = pengembara)

Monday, October 31, 2011

'I Wonder' - Practice 2

Practice 2

State whether the following statements are True (T) or False (F).

1. The persona in this poem is an adult. __
2. This poem is about the wonders of nature. __
3. From the poem, we know that the persona is curious. __
4. The persona is wondering about the colour of the grass. __
5. The persona has never seen the wind. __
6. The persona wants to know why the birds build nests. __
7. The 'missing bit' in the poem refers to the stars. __
8. According to the poem, the shape of the moon is always the same. __
9. The word 'fluffy' in stanza 5 means 'light and soft'. __
10. The persona is anxious because Dad does not answer his questions. __