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    How do these poems challenge stereotypes? Essay

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    Both these poems talk about different stereotypes. In ‘Not my best side’ and ‘Warning’ the old stereotypes are challenged and new stereotypes are created. ‘Not my best side’ a poem by U A Fanthorpe is based on a painting in which she challenged the stereotypical image of the brave heroic knight, the beautiful and helpless princess and the vicious fearful dragon and replaced them with modern day stereotypes. The style, in which ‘Not my best side’ is written, is in three stanzas for the three different fairy tale characters.

    This style is much different to the ‘Warning’ which is written in four different paragraphs for four different feelings of rebellious attitudes. The length of the sentences in ‘Warning’ are quite long and childlike, this is an attempt by the poet to break down the typical stereotype of the old woman. The stances are also quite long in ‘Not my best side’; this is very effective because there is a lot descriptive words that break down the old stereotype of fairy tale characters.

    The dragon in ‘Not my best side is very clever and uses informal and chatty language which is totally different to its normal stereotypical self. In ‘Not my best side’ the dragon doesn’t like being portrayed as defeated and captured and wants to put up a fight before he dies, ‘ And why should she have me literally on a string’. Like the dragon, in the poem ‘Warning’ the old woman is looking forward to freedom of old age, she has a sense of excitement at the thought of behaving irresponsible and creating chaos ‘I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves’.

    Yet again the poets of each poem have challenged old stereotypes by adapting them to new ones. The princess in ‘Not my best side’ is portrayed not like the conventional princess, quiet and shy but instead she appears to be rather shallow and superficial, she even prefers the dragon to the knight ‘lovely green skin and that sexy tail’. She uses colloquial, informal language ‘I mean, I quit took to the dragon’. This type of language is appropriate for the reader because it’s not too difficult to understand.

    The language used in ‘Warning’ has a lot of rhyme and repetitive words in it, especially in the first stanza because it uses the word ‘And’ a lot. This is to continue the childlike theme and build on the old stereotypical view. The knight uses technical language ‘Automatic transmission’ and is portrayed as a stereotypical ‘lad’ instead of a brave knight. Like a lad he boasts about his skills and his ‘latest’ weapon ‘the latest modal’. His tone is arrogant, vain and boastful ‘I have diplomas in dragon management and virgin reclamation’.

    This is somewhat a change from his usual stereotype. In ‘Warning’ the old woman’s tone is more clam and playful ‘I shall go out in my slippers in the rain’. In the third stanza she sounds a bit frustrated at society for judging her, ‘but now we must have cloths to keep us dry’. The poem ‘Not my best side’ by U A Fanthorpe is set out in three different stanzas to show how the personality of the three characters which change from their usual good, bad and helpless to a modern day lad, drama queen and a deeply shallow person.

    U A Fanthorpe has totally turned around these characters normal personas into completely different people because its important not to pigeonhole people into the groups society puts them in, its unfair. Jenny Joseph looks at adulthood and old age in ‘Warning’. She challenges the readers and societies views of old age in the poem, by rebelling against societies expectations of the old people settling down quietly into old age. She has mixed these themes into the poem with humour, bitterness and frustration.

    The poem is amusing and makes the reader smile but on the other had it is thought provoking as it is voicing the inner feelings of a person who believes society has stripped her of her individuality and opportunities. Both these poems are very similar because they both change the normal stereotypes which pigeonhole people into these groups society puts them in. These stereotypical groups which people are placed in are normally unfair and some of them don’t even suit everyone. So these poems are finally breaking those boundaries of stereotypes and giving everyone a chance to be different.

    This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

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    How do these poems challenge stereotypes? Essay. (2017, Sep 19). Retrieved from

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