Displaced Person Looks at a Cage-bird
D.J. Enright
Page 49
Structure;
4 stanzas, 16 lines, no set syllables.
Iambs; however not iambic pentameter or heptameter etc.
Rhyming pattern:...
Background
D.J.Enright was born on the 11th of March 1920 into a working class
family. At Downing College, in Cambridge, w...
Plot
• The main character walks through the town centre each day, on his way he
passes a canary in a pet-shop window.
• Fr...
Meaning
• Central themes;
– Jealousy, the main character
envies the canary’s lifestyle.
– Insecurity, the main character
f...
Imagery
• Personification; L10-11, the canary is given characteristics such as
being pensioned and rent-free. There is als...
Language:
• There are many uses of sibilance, a technique which includes sounds
such as “S”, “SH”, “X”, “CH” and “Z”. The ...
Effect on the reader
• The poet feels pity for both of them, on the other hand the reader
feels surprised that the poet do...
How does the poem link to the
theme of power & control
The use of extended metaphor for what the cage-bird represents show...
How does the poem link to the
Tempest
The poem links to the Tempest through the use of structure such as
the use of Iambs;...
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Displaced person looks at a cage bird

  1. 1. Displaced Person Looks at a Cage-bird D.J. Enright Page 49
  2. 2. Structure; 4 stanzas, 16 lines, no set syllables. Iambs; however not iambic pentameter or heptameter etc. Rhyming pattern: abcd efgf hhii hbib Enjambment on lines 1,2 and 7. No form Lines 1&7, 2&8 and 9&13 are almost but not exactly repetitions. The rhythm could be linked to the alternating beat of a drum; this beat adds to the anger and tension created in the piece.
  3. 3. Background D.J.Enright was born on the 11th of March 1920 into a working class family. At Downing College, in Cambridge, where he studied, he was taught: ‘literature can and should enlarge our moral universe’ His jobs have included teaching in Singapore and editing the magazine Chatto for 8 years. He was one of the candidates to become the poet laureate in 1984. Other poems which he has written include tales about bar-girls and beggars and his pity for them. He died from cancer on the 31st December 2002.
  4. 4. Plot • The main character walks through the town centre each day, on his way he passes a canary in a pet-shop window. • From time to time the canary sings; canaries are capable of making a wide range of sounds. • (How long?), could mean that the displaced person is unsure of where he will be as he does not know where his chaotic life will lead him. • The person is insecure, this is shown by him believing a tiny canary is picking a fight with him. Red canaries are especially good natured therefore the animal chosen is ironic. ‘Florid’ means the canary has a red complexion. • The character wishes that it were dead, this may be an extended metaphor of all the things they hate about their life or maybe how the trade unions who fought for the miners led to poverty as the miners were unable to work. • The list in the third stanza shows how the bird and the person are the complete opposites of each other. The displaced person is pasty, stressed, thin, scruffy, poor and has to pay rent. • The poet mocks the main character, saying all that would come out of the death of that bird would be that he could write better poems. D.J.Enright mocks him with contempt. He does pity him for his suffering- ‘just like me’ is not the poet speaking about him self but pretending to be the main character like he is imitating him like a bird.
  5. 5. Meaning • Central themes; – Jealousy, the main character envies the canary’s lifestyle. – Insecurity, the main character feels threatened by a harmless canary. – Death, the main character believes this is the answer to all of their problems. – Time, the repetitive lifestyle of the displaced person makes him feel like he will be tortured forever. • The displaced person, the canary, an the poet are all speaking. The canary may not be real. The characters talk to the reader.
  6. 6. Imagery • Personification; L10-11, the canary is given characteristics such as being pensioned and rent-free. There is also a large amount of description. • There are many examples of irony and allusion. • Stanza 3 makes comparisons. • The canary may be symbolizing the stresses of the displaced person’s life, as the closing of the mines (where canaries were originally used) may have been the original cause of the displacement. • The main images that are used are in L4, L6, L10, L11, L12, L15. • One of the most interesting images is ‘Earth has not anything to show less fair’, this relates to the theme of power through torture, a technique used by authority. The word fair has contrasting meanings- conflict (justice) and peace (elegance): irony.
  7. 7. Language: • There are many uses of sibilance, a technique which includes sounds such as “S”, “SH”, “X”, “CH” and “Z”. The second stanza has many examples including: closing, chest, flexing, single, stay, pass, this and beastly. • The poem is written in the present, gerund (-ing) and conditional tenses. • There are several examples of assonance including ‘Looming and booming’. • The canary’s voice is Onomatopoeia. • Mainly in 1st person.
  8. 8. Effect on the reader • The poet feels pity for both of them, on the other hand the reader feels surprised that the poet does this despite the two of them being so different. The poem’s purpose is to show the contrast between the two characters. The emotion being used is envy. The reader is being pleaded at and persuaded. The message is that most of the problems that we see and fear are not real and are created by our own insecurity.
  9. 9. How does the poem link to the theme of power & control The use of extended metaphor for what the cage-bird represents shows how power and control is different between different groups of people; the cage-bird represents the rich who have calm and pleasant yet powerful and bounded lives whereas those who work at the bottom have stressful and uncontrollable lives yet they work just as hard as the rich they do not have any authority. The messages about power and control are portrayed as fables with animals, similar to hawk roosting.
  10. 10. How does the poem link to the Tempest The poem links to the Tempest through the use of structure such as the use of Iambs; however they are used in contrasting ways, Shakespeare uses them to show the hierarchy and to show the love between Ferdinand and Miranda. D.J.Enright uses iambs to create a atmosphere of anger and tension. The poems also use extended metaphors to link with the society at the time. Caliban represents the indigenous people of the Americas, whilst the Displaced Person represents those that have suffered through poverty and hard economic times. Both associate death with power such as when the canary is gone the displaced person believes that all their problems will be solved and if Sebastian were to kill Alonso he would become king. They both contain very powerful images.

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