Flag - John Agard

Jessica Phillips
Mind Map by , created over 5 years ago

In depth analysis of John Agard's poem Flag from conflict section of English Literature anthology Moon on the Tides. Information on structure, language, form, techniques, imagery, comparisons included.

Jessica Phillips
Created by Jessica Phillips over 5 years ago
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Flag - John Agard


1 Subject and Themes
1.1 The power of nationalism
1.2 How national symbols bind people together
1.2.1 And force them apart
1.3 The difference between literal and symbolic
1.3.1 Flag Does not represent anything real 'it's just a piece of cloth' But holds power because it stands for something more
2 Form and structure
2.1 Five stanzas
2.1.1 Three lines each Middle line of each stanza is shorter Mimics the shape of an old medieval flag Like three lines on flags today
2.1.2 The first and third lines of the first three stanzas rhyme Suggests a bond between two voices in the poem
2.1.3 Final stanza ends on a rhyming couplet A pair of lines of poetry that rhyme and have the same length and metric pattern
2.2 Like a conversation
2.2.1 Voice of youth and voice of wisdom Interrogative, naïve questioning compared to wiser older answers
3 Title
3.1 Makes you think of patriotism
3.2 Suggest the poem is about power and countries
3.2.1 Possibly war
4 Language
4.1 Imagery
4.1.1 'that brings a nation to it's knees' Religious imagery Suggests praying to or worshiping flag
4.1.2 War references Contrast to imagery about the movement of the flag 'fluttering in a breeze' Like a butterfly Non threatening images 'tent' war / military / encampment 'blood you bleed' Implies lives will be lost' Alliteration Draws attention
4.2 Ending
4.2.1 'blind your conscience to the end' Ambiguous 'end' Death War Consequences More than one meaning
5 Comparison
5.1 At The Border, 1979
5.1.1 Also about nations and nationalism
5.1.2 Land holds power like flag Treated like it's something more
5.2 Poppies
5.2.1 Explores the power of symbolisim
6 Poetic Techniques
6.1 Repetition
6.1.1 'Its just a piece of cloth' Implies significance even though it says overwise Metaphorically - stands for much more Literally - a piece of cloth
6.2 Questions
6.2.1 'What's that fluttering in the breeze' Present tense Question will always be there
6.2.2 Last stanza question changes from what to how

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