Gooseberry Season by Simon Armitage

This essay is about the poem which is called “Gooseberry Season” and it’s by Simon Armitage. I will be looking at the character of father in the poem and look at the different techniques that are used to describe the behaviour of the father. At the start of the poem the character of the father seems to be kind, generous and caring as he lets a stranger stays in the house when the stranger comes and asks for water. This shows his generosity and niceness. Later in the poem he becomes angry and has jealous.

At the end of the poem he is a murderer. The title ‘Gooseberry Season’ makes it thinks about a fruit which is bitter and spiky and it grows in summer. Gooseberry is green and the colour green suggests jealousy. The poem starts in a narrative way, “which reminds me”, it suggest someone is telling a story and may suggests the reader as if he is talking to him. Also it means that there nothing big in his mind he just remembered something. This shows that the father is relaxed and not worried about anything.

At the start it also shows that the father is being very generous and nice where it says, “He appeared at noon, asking for water”, and the father gives him water. Water is a symbol of life so maybe he felt sorry for him when the stranger asks for water. At the end of the stanza one it says that “We made him a bed”, it suggests that they let a stranger in their house and made him a bed. For the father it suggests that he very kind, generous and caring as he lets stranger in the house. We made him a bed and slept till Monday”, shows that the father been very nice and he welcomes people in the house nicely and he done more than the stranger asked for. It makes the reader wonder at his generosity and niceness as he lets a stranger stay in his house without knowing him. The technique that used at the end of stanza 1 is enjambment which makes sentences carried to the next stanza. The effect on the reader is no pause and it makes it sound like a natural speech.

In the second stanza the poet uses imagery as it says “A week went by and he hung up his coat”, the poet uses an image to create an effect on the reader that the stranger makes himself feel like he at home and he makes himself comfortable. The father gets annoyed as its say that “then a month, and not stoke of work, a word of thanks, a fathering of rent or a sign of him leaving”, which suggests that the stranger is taking the advantage of the father offering him a place to stay. The stranger does not do anything in return for the father. The effect n the reader is that he is breathless by reading the number of complaints against the stranger and it emphasises the number of list from which the father gets irritated. Another point which is mentioned in the second stanza is, “a fathering of rent or a sign of him leaving”, which suggests that the stranger has not given them an idea of how long he will be there for and they have not asked him for which he is not giving them signs of leaving. In the third stanza it’s says, “For smooth, seedless gooseberry sorbet”. Its alliteration and sibilance when the s sound is repeated which reminds us of a snake and anger.

In this stanza the father seems angry. As it said that “sucking up to my wife and on his last night, sizing up my daughter”. This suggests that the father would be getting very angry and it also suggest he is jealous. But the stranger probably thought that she is pretty and maybe just thought that she is lovely. But the father got angrier as it said, “he was smoking my pipe as we stirred his supper”. This Suggests that he was taking over position of the head and it’s suggest anger. Sibilance is used again which suggests hissing and anger.

Here the reader feels the father’s anger is justified because we understand that the fathers anger is understandable because anyone in that situation would feel that way when a stranger behaving in that way. In the four stanzas it says, “Where does the hand become the wrist? ” A rhetorical question makes the reader think and want to answer it. We don’t know at what point his thoughts turned to murder. “The watershed and then the weight, whatever turns up and tips us over that razor’s edge between something and nothing”, “razor’s edge” suggests images of bloodshed and he getting annoyed.

It introduces an element of danger. In stanza five it says, “I could of have told him this but didn’t bother”. This suggests that he is going to do but he couldn’t be bothered to tell the stranger about what going to happen to him. It says, “We run him a bath and held him under” which suggests that he is too angry to care. The reader is shocked and surprised at his cold blooded murderer. It says that “Dried him off and dressed him and loaded him into the back of the pick-up”. This suggests that they are removing all the evidences that could be there so that’s why they have dried him off and dressed him.

They drove without headlights; because they did not want to be seen. In this stanza Enjambment makes it sound like a natural speech and makes a verse from one to ump to another. In this stanza it says, “We drove to the boundary”, which suggest that he very clever as he does not want to be caught. This makes him clever because he does not want anyone to find any evidence. “And after my boy had been through his pockets”, this suggests that they searched through his pockets because he does not want be caught and does not want anyone to find any links which connect to him.

They dragged him “like a mattress”, which suggest that they treat him like he nothing and is like a old object which they want to get rid off and were not bothered about it. He did not have any respect and his cold hearted as he drags him like a mattress which means dragging something which is old and you just want to throw it away. It says, “Across the meadow and on the count of four threw him over the border”, this suggests that he treats him like game and he counts to four and then throws him across the border.

The last stanza it says, “this is not general knowledge, expect in gooseberry season, which reminds me”, this links back to the 1st stanza where it says “which reminds me”. It says in this stanza, “Scoop the sorbet into five equal portions, for the hell of it”, he was one of them so they were treating the stranger like a family. But even then he got murdered from them. Last thing mentioned in this stanza, “I mention this for a good reason”, maybe he was threatening someone. It might suggest that he might do it again.

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