Saturday, 15 October 2011

To a small boy who died at Diepkloof Reformatory

Reformatory in the title - A reformatory is a residential school for young offenders.
In the opening stanza the speaker addresses the dead boy. He says that the small boy had had no idea that his little crime would get the attention of a large number of institutions and professionals, nor did he know that they would benefit from it (their jobs depend on crimes like this).
In the next stanza, he looks through the small boy’s documents, starting with his birth certificate.
In stanza three he studies the boy’s death certificate and says that death released him from suffering.
In the final stanza he finds the document that sent the boy to the reformatory. He says that millions of people are complicit (involved) in the boy’s crime. He believes the boy will go straight to heaven because God does not need to punish him in order to protect society.

Q&A
1.      Line 24: Why is "Death" spelt with an uppercase "D"?
The capitalized D transform death into a proper noun. In addition, death is given a gender, ‘he’, automatically implying it is human.
2.      Lines 40-41: How are millions of people complicit (involved) in the boy’s crime – whatever it is?
The boy was probably led to criminal behavior because of his circumstances – perhaps poor and hungry or he got involved with other criminal boys. The circumstances he says were created by the millions of people who created this world before him. By creating a world in which this small boy turned to crime, those people are partially responsible for the crime.
3.      The poet deliberately juxtaposes (put side by side) the word "commit" and "committal". There is a deep irony in this. Explain what it is.
It is ironic since the committal is the legal document sending the small boy to the reformatory; and here the principal is tasked with ‘commit’ the child to his grave.

1 comment:

  1. thank u for sharing this very important information with us it is very much appreciated

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