Sunday, 9 October 2011

a young man's thoughts before jun the 16th

a young man’s thoughts before june the 16th

Once again, in this short poem, your success lies in paying careful attention the context/setting of the poem, but you also have to know the new and unfamiliar vocabulary.
The setting: The poet places himself in the shoes of one of the teenagers who participated in the Soweto uprising of June 16, 1976. He sees himself the day before the event, foreseeing the tragedy that is due to erupt.

The vocabulary:
winds – takes a twisting route
aches – hurts with a dull pain
belch – burp noisily
strum – sweep the fingers
brow – person’s forehead
drenched – soaked through

Here are the mistakes you failed to see:

1.1       Describe the structure of this poem (not what it is about) and say whether you think it is   effective.                                                                                                                     [2]
free verse/no punctuation/stream of consciousness poetry/ It is suitable because it clearly describes the anxious, disordered thoughts of a teenager who does not know what the next day will bring./
1.2       What is implied about the persona in the lines, “i take with me only the sweet/memories of my      youth”?                                                                                                                        [1]
The persona has a sense that they are leaving their youth behind – it is now just a memory./
1.3.1    What is the tone of “a broad belch of beer”, line 7?
1.3.2    It makes the line:                                                                                                         [1]
A.    sordid         B.     celebratory         C.   unruly  
B. celebratory
1.3.3    Explain your answer to 4.3.2 by referring to the alliteration.                                     [2]
The alliteration of “a broad belch of beer” evokes the picture and sound of happy young people enjoying an evening together/ in a carefree manner./                                                                
1.4       Then, for the first time, from lines 8 – 12, the persona mentions adults and what their response will be “tomorrow”. In the context of the poem, explain why the adults should sing and play a “sad song”.                                                                                              [2]
“tomorrow” is June 16th, the day of the Soweto Uprising,/ when the brutal murders of teenaged protesters caused their parents and adults in their community to go into mourning./
1.5       Do you find the last line a fitting ending to the poem?   Explain your answer.         [2]
It is fitting for several reasons – the red sunset speaks of blood and the end of something, so foreshadows the day ahead// the blood of innocent children was shed and “drenched” helps us feel that horror// OR the persona speaks of “my sunset” being ‘drenched”, changing what is normally beautiful, a sunset, life, into something grotesque// OR it is a young person’s response to an indescribable horror – it must be expressed strongly.// …
1.6       Comment on the rich imagery used in the last line.                                                    [3]
Sunset is often the metaphor for the end of life - death. Here, however, it is not a gentle death but one which is ‘drenched with red’. Notice the harshness of the word ‘drenched’. The life of the young people has been ripped apart by police bullets, and their blood flows freely, drenching the sunset (and streets) with red.


  1. Hi Mrs A. Varind

    I was wondering if you would be able to assist me with further background on the author himself.?
    Please let me know I really need assistance for my College essay paper.

    Kindly Kristen

  2. I need more information on the poet.. Cant seem to find anything on him.. Writing a university paper...