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ENGLISH
Asked by Dey

How does jo shapcott present the power of weather in her peom the great storm?

Jo Shapcott presents the power of the weather through the imagery she generates to describe the effects of the storm. The simile ‘trees scattered like matchsticks’ suggests how vulnerable and insignificant the natural world has become in the wake of the weather’s destruction. By comparing the trees to matchsticks Shapcott emphasises the power the storm has in rendering these strong, vital life forms tenuous and disposable. Personification is also employed to present the weather as an aggressive and threatening force. The metaphor ‘The world roared’ suggests that the wind is so powerful that the earth and its weather have become indistinguishable. It is not only the weather that is generating the destruction: the earth is fuelling the onomatopoeic ‘roar’ of the storm which aurally conveys the weather’s power. Shapcott also employs biblical imagery to elevate the power of the storm to a cosmic scale. The image of the ‘firmament’ which streams through the ‘smashed tiles’ suggests that the weather is so powerful that it has destroyed the boundary between the earth and the rest of the cosmos. It is interesting to note that whilst the imagery of the weather indicates that the storm is extremely powerful, the voice of the poem remains calm and unaffected by its chaos throughout. The end-stopped lines and syndetic lists used to organise the observations as in ‘cars and ships and wood, folk died’, lends a slow, matter of fact, meditative cadence to the voice, in contrast to the devastation it describes. Despite the weather’s power to destroy all terrestrial life the protagonist ‘loved the wind.’ It is likely because the protagonist enjoys the chaos that they are able to remain a calm observer in the ‘eye’ of the storm.

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Alex Childs
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