The Choosing Liz Lockhead

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Critical Essay – The Choosing “The Choosing” by Liz Lochhead is a poem that shows a vivid personal experience. It is a poem where the poet and her childhood friend – Mary – end up growing apart because of choices Mary’s parents made. The theme of the poem is that the choices that are made by our parents can affect your future. I will be discussing how Lochhead uses several different techniques to help show a vivid personal experience. At the beginning of the poem, where she tells us about the girls’ time at primary school, the poet uses repetition to emphasise how alike the girls were. “We were first equal Mary and I … … and with equal shyness … … First equal, equally proud.” Here Lochhead is making a point by using the word “equal” continuously to show the reader that Lochhead and Mary are very alike and what their relation ship is like. In the second section, when the friends move apart, the poem underlines the differences between the two girls. “I remember the housing scheme Where we both stayed. The same house, different homes, where the choices were made.” Lochhead is now making the point that because of the lifestyles and the attitudes of Mary and her parents, they made different decisions which subsequently affected their lives even although from the outside the houses are the same and so similar. The reader learns more in the next part of the poem about Mary’s father as the poet gives more clues to explain why the girls’ lives develop in different ways. “… Mary’s father, mufflered, contrasting strangely with the elegant greyhounds by his side. He didn’t believe in high school education, especially for girls, or in forking out for uniforms.” In this stanza Lochhead is making the point that Mary’s father obviously cares more about his greyhounds and making them look good. When the poet says “forking out for uniforms” the
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