Those bastards in their mansions by sdfsb346f

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Those bastards in their mansions

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									                              ‘Those bastards in their mansions’
                                   From Book of Matches
                                     By Simon Armitage

Responding to attitudes, ideas and feelings

1. What is the age and gender of the speaker? How do you know?

2. Copy and complete the chart to show what evidence you can find to show the
   speaker’s attitude towards:

                                                 Evidence of the speaker’s attitude
     The lords and ladies in their palaces        He calls them ‘bastards’ and enjoys
     and castles                                 hearing the ‘shriek’
                                                  He despises them for keeping ‘the gift of
                                                 fire’ for themselves
                                                 

     The people in the streets and houses        

                                                 

                                                 

     Himself                                     

                                                 

                                                 


    Try to find three points for each section in the chart.

3. Remind yourself of the story of Prometheus in the Explanations. Make notes on
   these four questions:
   a Why might the lords and ladies see the speaker as a Prometheus figure?
   b Why might the ordinary people see him as a Prometheus figure?
   c Why does the speaker not want to be a Prometheus figure?
   d What advantages does he think he has over Prometheus?

4. Read the following question and its answer.

    How does Armitage make the reader feel sympathy for the ordinary people in the
    poem?

    First, Armitage contrasts the ordinary ‘streets and houses’ with the ‘palaces and
    castles’. Secondly, he writes that the ordinary people do not have ‘heat and light’ to
    show what a miserable existence they have. Lastly, he states that they are in ‘cuffs
    and shackles’, in other words they are prisoners or even slaves.


Those bastards in their mansions
Simon Armitage                                   1
    Now try to answer these two questions:
    a What does Armitage make the reader feel towards the lords and ladies?
    b How does he do this?

5. Is the speaker in the poem:

                A romantic freedom fighter on the side of the common people using a gun
                 because there is not alternative
                A terrorist trying to destroy society by killing in a way which is both ruthless
                 and cowardly?

    What possible third option might there be?

Exploring language, structure and form

1. Identify all the ‘d’, ‘t’ and ‘s’ sounds in the first stanza ( the first six have been done for
   you):

                                   Those bastards in their mansions:
                                   to hear them shriek, you’d think
                                   I’d poisoned the dogs and vaulted the ditches,
                                   crossed the lawns in stocking feet and threadbare britches,
                                   forced the door of one of the porches, and lifted
                                   the gift of fire from the burning torches,
                                   (lines 1-6)

                Why do you think Armitage included so many of these sounds?
                What is the overall effect of these sounds?

2. Sometimes Armitage uses puns (words that may have two or even more meanings).
   What two meanings might the words ‘lifted’ (line 5) and ‘grilled’ (line 12) have?

3. Look at the four stanzas again. Sum up what the first three stanzas are about using no
   more than ten words for each stanza.
   Why do you think the last stanza is a single line?

Exploring meanings and responses

1. Why might some people think this poem is:
          An attack on terrorists
          A clever twist on a Greek story
          A celebration of freedom fighters
          A study of a ruthless killer?
   Give your reasons and include evidence where possible.




Those bastards in their mansions
Simon Armitage                                       2

								
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