An even worse way to go - Pugh

Heloise Tudor
Mind Map by Heloise Tudor, updated more than 1 year ago
Heloise Tudor
Created by Heloise Tudor about 6 years ago
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Description

A mindmap analysing Sheenagh Pugh's poem 'An even worse way to go'. Part of the WJEC AS English Literature syllabus. The primary nodes include the quote and the techniques that quotes contains, the note/annotation on the corner of each gives the analysis. The poem moves clockwise around the mindmap, starting with the title, then the first line, until the end of the poem.

Resource summary

An even worse way to go - Pugh
  1. "waits for death to come near". Tech: metaphor, 'near' = preposition and irony.

    Annotations:

    • Metaphor as death can't move. The man cab't do anything else in his condition but wait for death.
    • 'near' suggests that death is there already, just a little way off.
    • It's ironic that death will come near him but no one else will - not his sexual partners or his nurses/doctors.
    1. "mercy's face is masked". Tech: metaphor, ambiguous.

      Annotations:

      • 'mercy' = kind people who are trying to treat him still think negatively of him.
      • 'masked' = literal meaning is hospital attire. Could be a link to the beak-shaped masks worn by plague doctors to protect them from the infected.
      • People being masked portrays the idea of distance between the patient and those around him. An emotional mask creates an emotional distance between people, while a physical mask creates physical distance.
      1. "handed at arm's length". Tech: verb.

        Annotations:

        • People don't want to be close to him. There's a separation between him and the healthy.
        1. "which of his kin would kiss him: which friend share his sheets?". Tech: rhetorical question, sibilance.

          Annotations:

          • The question tells us no one wants to be close to him now. His sleeping around left him alone.
          • Sibilance of the 's' in "share" and "sheets". Conveys his bitterness or creates a sad and solitary tone.
          1. "guant face". Tech: adjective.

            Annotations:

            • He looks ill - like death/disease as a person. He's emaciated.
            1. "face is the fear that walked the plague years". Tech: metaphor.

              Annotations:

              • Link to the plague supports  earlier analysis of "mercy's face is masked".
              • Maybe Pugh is implying that AIDS is like a new plague. Or at least that AIDS is as terifying as the plague or that the character looks so ill as if he was a sufferer of the plague.
              1. "vast black hole of aloneness". Tech: metaphor, adjective, semantic field of astronomy.

                Annotations:

                • "vast" = adjective. Implies the distance bewteen the AIDS sufferer and other people.
                • "black hole" = semantic field of astronomy. Black hole is a vaccum which you can't escape (like he can't escape death). He feels engulfed/swallowed up by solitude. Black hole could also be symbolic of his grave that he's being sucked into.
                1. "sleep alone for ever." Tech: metaphor, 'for ever' adverb and structural point (poem's ending).

                  Annotations:

                  • By avoiding sleeping alone he's actually shortened his time alive and brought the eternity of aloneless nearer.
                  • It ends the poem to increase the feeling of finality.
                  1. "casual contacts, brief warmth". Tech: hard alliteration of 'c', appeals to the sense of touch.

                    Annotations:

                    • The hard alliteration fo the 'c' sound in "casual" and "contacts" hints at Pugh's attitude towards the character's promiscuity.
                    • "brief" makes the reader feel sad for the character and is slightly more sympathtic on Pugh's part. However, it's still a harsher word than 'fleeting' for instance.
                    • "warmth" appeals to the sense of touch. The persona needed human contact to live.
                    1. "casual", "brief" and "short".

                      Annotations:

                      • These word choices all indicate the limited lengths of intimacy he was able to achieve.
                      1. Title: "way to go" and "worse". Tech: euphanism and adjective.

                        Annotations:

                        • "way to go" is a euphanism for dying.
                        • "worse" = adjective. Tells the reader his death is a bad one.
                        • The poem then goes on to explain he dies in pain and alone.
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