Friday, 21 June 2013

Y10 homework: Nettles and war imagery

Please post up your Y10 homework here. Remember to consider Scanell's own war experiences, and if relevant, the context behind he loss of his two children as well.

Ms Kerai


  1. Scannell uses war imagery to explain his hatred of the military. As Scannell himself joined the army at the age of 18, he has clearly developed some very strong and negative thoughts based on his own experiences.

    'Regiment of spite' is a metaphor used to show that there are many nettles and like soldiers in war they are all standing to attention as if ready to attack. Here the poet has personified the nettles as being people. This may show that he hates the nettles as much as hates the evil soldiers in the army. Another imagery of war is 'I took my hook and honed the blade'. The poem is about the death of Vernon's son when he fell into a nettle bed..In the quote: 'Slashed in fury' we can understand the poet's aggression towards the military. Here he may he saying that he is chopping back the nettles to protect his son and make him feel safe. Through this, perhaps he is chopping back all of the memories of his past and that he may be angry that he couldn't do any more to protect his son.

    He also writes: 'Till not a nettle in that fierce parade stood upright'. The words 'fierce parade' is once again a reference to the soldiers in the army. Scannell is very eager to gain revenge and we can imagine that he must have had very traumatic experiences. He also may want to not only want to slash back the nettles but he may also want to kill the soldiers as he feels that they are the reason for the problems. By killing them, war can finally end and the nettles causing the problems will not grow.

  2. Vernon Scannell joined the army at age 18 influencing the 'war related imagery' in his work. He also had 6 children; 2 of which died as an infant and by a motorcycle accident. Knowing these bits of information of his life can be of an importance while reading his poetry especially in the poem 'Nettles.' This poem especially, uses war imagery to show his hatred towards war and the military.

    In this poem, he uses the metaphor 'Regiment of spite.' A regiment is a group of men particularly a group of soldiers within a military force. He uses this metaphor to explain stinging nettles and how they 'stand guard' possibly ready to attack. He has used personification here for the nettles being people. 'I took my hook and honed the blade'- here is another example of his use of war imagery. The blade could be representing a bayonet and the use of the word 'honed' (which is basically saying that he is 'sharpening his blade') shows the violent aspect of war.

    The next line says 'and went outside and slashed in fury with it' is another example of the violence in war. He could have also used this to make us understand his aggression towards the military. This can be interpreted in another way as he could be talking about him chopping back the memories of his war experience or that he is chopping the nettles to protect his son who died as an infant. This brings us back to the word 'bed' used at the start to possibly change our perspective of the word bed as could be talking about his son's death bed.

  3. Personification of nature is used around line 14 and there is an idea that he can't stop his battle against nature. The end of the poem looks at a man's struggle with nature and there is a literal meaning of the poem that his son will get stung again by the nettles. There is also a sense of emotional hurt and that life is an endless battle.

    Personification of the nettles is used on line 3 and the references to the military. instead of using "My son" he uses "The boy". He uses alliteration in this poem "blisters beaded" this could mean that he has been on his feet for ages and that he has been walking around so long and fighting to stay alive that he has blisters on his feet.

    "My son would often feel sharp wounds again" this could mean that his son gets flashbacks of what happened in the war, and that the flashbacks are so deep that he can feel all of that pain again, this shows how much went on back in the world war.

  4. Scannell joined the army when he was 18 years old, he changed his name shortly after world war 2. his negative feelings about the effects of war have been a prevailing influence on his work. he had six children which two died, one son died as an infant and the other son died in a motor cycle crash.

    His key themes are; war, violence and danger.

    The relationship is between the father and his son, the father is trying to protect his son from danger and a world where nobody and nothing can be trusted.

  5. Vernon Scannell uses war imagery and language as key themes in Nettles. These are used as metaphors and help to carry an emotional tone throughout. Within the first three lines the nettles are presented as a violent and aggressive group of soldiers to reflect the speaker's need to protect his children. This is cleverly done as it also helps Scannell to express his own negative opinions on war based upon his past experiences.

    Personification has been used the represent the nettles as an opposing force - referring to them as a "regiment of spite". Line 6, "White blisters beaded on his tender skin", has alliteration as the 'b' sounds suggests the swelling, painful injuries, and the child's skin is "tender", a strong contrast to the language used to describe the nettles. Line 8, "At last he offered us a watery grin", describes either one the children and the way in which their mood alters easily or be an implication that the child is being helped to get over his painful experience by loving parents.

    In line 11, when the speaker is taking revenge on the nettles, the writer again personifies them, describing them as a "fierce parade" as if they were soldiers standing to attention, cut down by his weapon. Scannell's desire and will to do all that is necessary for the safety of his children may have stemmed from the fact that he outlived two of his six.

  6. Vernon Scannell uses war imagery in Nettles, describing his hatred for the military. He had 6 children of which 2 of them died.
    Nettles is an ambiguous poem for example "My son aged three fell in the nettle bed" "bed" is a place of comfort, but referring to Scannell's context, the "nettle bed" might be describing the horrible place where one of his son has died. These statements contradict each other which makes this poem ambiguous.
    It also has a lot of words or phrases related to war for example "regiment", "spears", "pain", "a funeral pyre to burn the fallen dead", "recruits". In fact, "But in two weeks the busy sun and rain Had called up tall recruits behind the shed" means that men will continue to die and be replaced until peace is declared. All of these war related words and phrases interpret that the themes for this poem are Danger, Violence and War.

  7. Miss this was done by Lucy and her account wasnt working so im posting it for her.

    Vernon Scannell was seen as a dark character, he was sent to a mental home after abandoning his post in the second world war, twice. He died aged 85 in 2007 meaning he lived through the second world war and the cold war. These could be some of the reasons why he relates to war a lot in his poem Nettles. He relates a Plant which only causes a few minor injuries to spears and things which cause a lot of suffering and even death. This could be because he may not of been 100% well mentally after the war.

    in the poem nettles he portrays the nettles as his enemy and enemy which he fights.'And then I took my hook and honed the blade And went outside and slashed in fury with it Till not a nettle in that fierce parade shows he is fighting the plant as if it was alive. When the plant grows back it could symbolise the fact you cannot protect your child all the time, they have to learn from their past.

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  9. Scannel uses war and weapons and injuries as his main theme for this poem , The poem ‘Nettles’ is a poem that explores the relationship between a father and his son, “Nettles” is cleverly structured i.e. the writer uses engaging imagery and words that normally wouldn't be used in the context present within the poem to effectively get the poet's message across.

    The poem begins with words “My Son” this represents the fathers love and alternatively ownership of the child. In the poem a three-year-old son falls into some nettles, he is hurt, cries and goes to his parents for comfort. His father cuts down and burns the nettles but realises they will soon grow back. From this simple event it makes us think about human suffering and creates a sense of pity when you read it as the image of a young boy falling in a nettle patch isn't pleasant. And as a human race, we feel sorry for good people who experience unnecessary pain. The constant reminder of the pain felt creates an atmosphere comparable to when nettles sting you. "White blisters beaded on his tender skin" Is a great way to show pain as it describes the effect of the nettles on the skin and also uses sensitive words normally associated with pain to help describe it, Although these constant reminders of pain are quite depressing.

  10. The poem ‘nettles’ is an autobiographical poem as it relates to the poet Vernon Scannel. Scannel joined the war at the age of 18 which relates to war imagery, also nettles is a bad plant which could tell us that this poem could be negative.
    Scannel starts off the poem with ‘My son’ this instantly tells us that this poem is personal to him as he had lost one of his children at a young age. Moving on, throughout the poem Scannel has used various words such as ‘blade’ ‘fierce parade’ ‘wounded’ etc.. this all of which relates to the military, ‘The regiment of spite behind the shed’ This line has harsh sounds in it, its like your forcing yourself to say it, this emphasises his hatred towards the military, this maybe could suggest that he is somehow blaming the military of the cause of his sons death .
    ‘I took my hook and honed the blade’, alliteration is used here to emphasise the hook and what he did with it. This also relates to his feeling of aggression and is a war reference.
    Overall, this poem may suggest the struggle which he had to go through while losing his son, and this poem has a negative vibe to it as he had emphasised his hatred towards the military, this poem makes the reader feel sympathetic towards the poet because it had some of his personal background in the poem.