Character Analysis

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Each and every poem has a message that is delivered to the reader through an intricate tangled web of words. Most poems have a main character or theme which allows the author to speak through them in order to get their message across. In the poems First Practice by Gary Gildner and The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill by Judy Page Heitzman, the author speaks to the reader through Coach Clifford Hill and schoolteacher Mrs. Lawrence. At first glance, the poem First Practice seems very short, simple, and straight to the point. The poem has a boot camp feel which leads one to believe Coach Hill is preparing fearless young men for war. Although Coach Hill gives off the vibe of a drill sergeant, the poem is really about a youth’s first football practice. Right off the bat in line 3, Gildner gives you a true feeling that Coach Hill is the “Drill Sergeant” instead of just a football coach. The narrator says “the man with the short cigar took us / under the grade school, / where we went in case of attack” (Gildner, 809). The simple fact that he walks into the room with a “short cigar” in his mouth gives the reader the image of a rough and tumble Drill Sergeant. Furthermore, the reference of going under the grade school where they went in case of attack gives the reader the image that Coach Hill is leading his troops into a bunker to avoid an attack. Finally, lines 18-24 describe a scene where Coach Hill “made two lines of us / facing each other” (ll. 198, 19) which is clearly a military reference. Coach Hill’s actions and intentions are clearly different from Mrs. Lawrence’s. At the beginning of the poem The Schoolroom on the Second Floor of the Knitting Mill, the reader gets sense that the narrator, a former student, misses her former teacher Mrs. Lawrence. The narrator says

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