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For heidi with_blue_hair-1

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poetry IGCSE 2019

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For heidi with_blue_hair-1

  1. 1. Fleur Adcock FOR HEIDI WITH BLUE HAIR
  2. 2. Adcock has said that this poem was written in response to a real incident experienced by her god- daughter, Heidi, who had moved with her father (after the death of her mother) to live in Australia. Heidi has dyed her hair and the poem deals with the reactions of her school, father and friends.
  3. 3. For Heidi With Blue Hair by Fleur Adcock When you dyed your hair blue (or, at least ultramarine for the clipped sides, with a crest of jet-black spikes on top) you were sent home from school because, as the headmistress put it, although dyed hair was not specifically forbidden, yours was, apart from anything else, not done in the school colours. Tears in the kitchen, telephone-calls to school from your freedom-loving father: 'She's not a punk in her behaviour; it's just a style.' (You wiped your eyes, also not in a school colour.) 'She discussed it with me first - we checked the rules.' 'And anyway, Dad, it cost twenty-five dollars. Tel them it won't wash out - not even if I wanted to try. It would have been unfair to mention your mother's death, but that shimmered behind the arguments. The school had nothing else against you; the teachers twittered and gave in. Next day your black friend had hers done in grey, white and flaxen yellow - the school colours precisely: an act of solidarity, a witty tease. The battle was already won.
  4. 4. THEME • This poem deals with the issue of conformity in schools and how rebellion in a teenager may have deeply-rooted causes, not always apparent to others.
  5. 5. STANZA 1 • Addresses Heidi directly and gives us an insight into her attempt at rebellion against the school rules. • Her new style demonstrates individuality. .
  6. 6. STANZA 2 • Continues in a humorous tone as the stuffy prim headmistress justifies sending Heidi home • Ridiculous -commenting that Heidi’s hair is not dyed in school colours.
  7. 7. OVER TO YOU! • The poem tells of the headmistress’ reaction. She seems to object to it for the bizarre reason that it is not dyed in the school colours. • She says “apart from anything else”. What else does she mean? Do you think she is being completely open about the reasons why she objects to the hairstyle?
  8. 8. STANZA 3 • Third stanza indicates that there is more to this act than simple rebellion. • The “tears” suggest a softer side to Heidi • Her father is a believer in freedom and argues for Heidi reminding that her style not behaviour related.
  9. 9. STANZA 4 • The argument with the headmistress continues and her father explains that she discussed it with him first. • Note the clever use of contrast between the attitude of Heidi’s father and that of school authorities. • By using direct conversation (like dialogue in a play) Adcock makes the situation more realistic for the reader.
  10. 10. STANZA 5 • It is only here that we get an insight into what may be going on in the background to this incident. • The tone changes when we learn that Heidi has recently lost her mother, even though her father does not use this excuse to explain her behaviour • It is possible to suspect that Heidi is in need of attention and recognition that something has changed in her life and how she perceives herself. • The ending of the stanza emphasises that Heidi is not usually a student who creates disturbance or annoyance
  11. 11. STANZA 6 • Sense of comedy returns in the final stanza when one of her friends arrives with her hair dyed the school colours. • In a few lines of clever dialogue the poet sketches different characters in the poem. The freedom loving father, the prim headmistress, the sensitive but rebellious Heidi and the mischievous “black friend”
  12. 12. COMMENTARY • For Heidi with Blue Hair presents us with a central image of a child sent home from school for dyeing her hair blue. • As the story develops, we find not just an amusing story, but also a challenge to social boundaries. • Adcock manages to gently bring together issues of friendship, solidarity, home life, and social institutions when discussing this relatively minor event. • It isn't hard to guess whose side the poet is on.
  13. 13. THE POET’S STYLE For Heidi with Blue Hair Individuality versus conformity Friendship and solidarity Relationship between father and daughter Unsympathetic portrayal of school staff Tells a story Uses conversational language/dialogue Underlying sense of grief Conflict over school rule Uses ‘battle’ metaphor to suggest individuality wins over conformity
  14. 14. OVER TO YOU: QUESTIONS 1.With which of these statements would you most agree. Give reasons for your answer: • The poem is quite amusing. • The poem is quite sad. • The poem makes an important point about people’s rights.

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