Last Lesson of the Afternoon
1a. What are the persona's feelings described in the first three stanzas of this poem? Explain how the poet described these feelings through the use of alliteration, metaphor and pun.
In this poem, the poet used alliteration, metaphor and pun to describe his feelings. It is clearly seen from in the first stanze, where the poet used metaphors like "tugged the leash" and "my pack of unruly hounds". The poet was trying to express that the students were rebellious and continuously disobey him. They irritated him repeatedly and the students had no self control. They behaved rowdily and had no respect for the poet, which was the teacher in the poem.
The poet also made use puns to express his feelings. For example, in the first stanza, he used the pun "quarry of knowledge". This pun expresses the hunt for knowledge as quarry means a prey. It also means that person has great knowledge.
In the second stanza, the poet used an alliteration, "Of" at the start of each line from the second to fourth line. The poet probably used it to show a connection between these lines, expressing the pressure he was facing and the bad quality of work his students are giving him. To further express his unhappiness, the poet uses a pun. The word "sick" refers to his borendom and unwillingness to teach his students. On the other hand, it may also refer that the teacher was ill and was unable to teach.
In the third stanza, the writer made use of metaphor to express his will and energy to move on. The phrase "fuel of life" describes the energy and the will to carry on teaching the students.
Lastly, a pun can also be seen in the third stanza where the poet used "toll". Toll means tax or the hardships and endurements that a person had undergone. It is probably used to describe that the teacher could bear it no longer and it was very taxing on him.
1b. How is the tone of anger in this poem illustrated?
The poet expressed his anger and his irritation through the use of alliteration, metaphor, pun and his chioce of words. In the first stanza, the poet wrote "end this weariness". It expresses that the poet felt tired and depressed teaching the class. He wanted to end as soon as possible, the lessons was seemingly a torture for him. The poet used "tugged the leash" and "pack of unruly hounds" to express that the students pushed him to a corner and irritated him. They kept on pestering him and tested his patience. They were rowdy and had little or no respect for him which caused him to be angry and depressed. The poet used the phrase "I can haul them and urge them no more", using violent language. It is to describe that the poet could not control the students anymore as they were out of hand.
In the second paragraph, the poet used words like "endure the brunt", "full threescore", "several insults of blotted pages" and "slovenly work" to describe the bad quality of work given to him. He could no longer endure it and it was like a living hell to face lousy work. He used the word sick to express his anger, his depression, his boredom to teach the students.
In the third stanza, the poet wrote "My last dear fuel of life to heap on my soul" to express that he had gone through hardships and pain. He had little energy left to teach them. Moreover, the students were indifferent to his teachings and he had lost faith in them. He would not bear the insults and disrespect that the students have shown him.
In the last three stanzas, the poet describes his unwillingness to teach the rowdy students. He did not want to waste his energy on the students and finds no reason to teach them. The poet gets angry and depressed and it does not matter anymore whether the students learnt or even knew anything. He felt that they should just ignore each other and go separate ways without bothering each out.
In conclusion, the poem dipicts the pain and hardships a teacher undergoes during normal lessons, however, in an exaggerated way. It shows that students are rowdy and defiant. In the end, it would be the teacher who takes the toll and feel the pressure.