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Leaving Certificat.. by CaptainVertigo   (Show all posts)
CaptainVertigo
2016-08-15 18:12:28
Answer
The central theme is that old folks are running amok on the hills and taking the good out of it for the rest of us. They are hogging soft hills like Wicklow in large groups, and worse. Cra recalls his early days in Scotland when he was “a bit of a lad” and he and his mates did dangerous stuff like scree sliding (which became illegal in Ireland after Unification). His reference to colts and fillies is a METAPHOR for horseplay. Cra thinks it is good to be young and bad to be old. He conveys his contempt by slagging off old stuff like pipes and cardigans. He makes warm reference to young lads and girls acting the lad. Furthermore he is dead impressed by the NI Young Walkers who are “action men” so to speak, like he was. The disguised subtext is that he is seriously pissed off and annoyed with things generally. The critic Fintan O’Toole says that he wrote a load of stuff after the hip replacement didn’t work which explains a lot. Also memory is a theme. He hates stuff like safety and longs for risky and dangerous stuff
The themes of being seriously annoyed about getting old are UNIVERSAL and you could say that there is a message there for EVERYONE. Also we all hate whingers who want to be rescued by the first responders over stupid stuff like a cut on your knee.
He is seriously browned off with the way the old people are taking over but he himself has grown ancient so that really gets his goat. His “jack the ladding” days are gone BUT ARE THEY? Because the crux is that even though the NI Young Walkers are running riot over the Mournes etc it turns out that Cra is hanging upsidedown like a bat on some cliff high above them. In this mysterious way Cra triumphs over death. ALLITERATION occurs by the use of “denied death” and “tourist trail”. Also ONOMATOPOEIA is cleverly sprinkled e.g. “fkn bluebells”. Finally there is masterly use of SIMILE e.g. “like foxes” “like ghosts” “like they were in a spaceship” and HYPERBOLE “Alan and I ran up and off Tinto in 45 minutes”.
Cra’s piece reminds me of “The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock” another example of people getting seriously fed up about being old. Prufrock is a good example of RHYME which Cra’s is not. Also Eliot hides his annoyance better. Also Prufrock is full of regrets at what he didn’t do, but Cra is thrilled that he was a messer and is only sorry he can’t keep it up.
WB Yeats comes to mind. In his poem “The Politician” he can’t concentrate on being a politician because he spots a young one and he is old so it’s very much “hands off” which seriously annoys him. Although Cra never mentions this particular problem it is there somewhere in the subtext (cos he points out the NI Walkers had no saggy bums or grey hair meaning he is thinking about this stuff). All in all Cra in my opinion is better at expressing his annoyance than Yeats and Eliot because it’s like “dripping” from every page.
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