1 The poem focuses on a brief moment in time. A young teenage girl in crouched on
her porch roof, plucking up the courage to jump in through the window. She is
watched by her best friend, 'with whom she is half in love' and a 'flush-faced
2 The poem is a metaphor for the transition ('liminal state')
between childhood and adulthood - the title calls it an
'Easy Passage' but it is clear in the poem that it is a
challenge. The poem explores themes of burgeoning
sexuality ('her tiny breasts'), and the opportunities of
childhood compared to the bleakness of adulthood - the
difference between living in the present, and in the
3 VOICE - 3rd person omniscient, focus is mainly on the young
girl but the secretary is also included for contrast. One
reflective/intrusive interjection from the narrator's voice -
'What can she know of the way the world admits us less and
less the more we grow?' - bleak ('elegiac tone') view, wisdom,
fragmented rhyme. Uses present & present continuous -
reader gets a sense of the immediacy of events.
4 STRUCTURE - one long stanza, suggests continuing journey. Use
of enjambement - long sentences give breathless feel to reflect
the girl's anxiety/fear.
5 LANGUAGE - unlimited access to girl's inner thoughts, 'the one thing
she must not do is to think of the narrow windowsill'. Minute
attention to detail - 'flimsy, hole-punched, aluminium lever.' Contrast
in vocabulary used for the girls and for the rest of the world - they
are 'lit,' 'gold stud earrings,' 'silver anklet,' 'shimmering-oyster
painted toenails,' whereas the world around them - 'long, grey, eye
of the street,' 'drab electroplating factory.' Also contrast between
'trembling' and 'gracefully' - may look easy but is in fact a struggle.
'Sharp drop of the stairwell' sudden descent into adulthood. Striking
use of the word 'armaments' - she is learning to shield and defend
herself using her femininity.
6 Compare with 'To My Nine-Year-Old Self' by Helen Dunmore
- both explore themes of growing up and the contrast
between childhood and adulthood.