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Hide and Seek - Vernon Scannel

Summary:
  • A child is hiding and waiting for his friends to find him. He experiences both pleasure and fear during the game.

  • The poem can also be read as a metaphor for how someone might deal with situations in life- waiting and enduring difficulties so they can

    eventually achieve.

  • The child is the narrator and throughout the poem, we hear his internal voice/ thoughts as he considers what he should do

Themes:
  • Childhood/ Childhood Innocence

  • Isolation/ Loneliness

  • Irresponsibility/ Negligence

  • Ironies in life.

Structure:
  • One stanza- storyline- helps represent this one moment of rising tension.

  • Inconsistent rhyme scheme (rhyme scheme is free verse with elements of rhyme) helps represent the uncertainty that they feel especially towards the end.

  • Direct speech

  • Elements of enjambment

  • Narrative- his thoughts

  • The volta is from ‘the darkening garden’ as the tone completely changes from confidence to loneliness. ● Anti-climatic- no closure/resolution to the poem

  • There is a hybrid of tones highlighted in the poem. The poem, however, has a naive tone throughout. ● The poem has a positive, confident tone in the beginning.

  • ‘They must be thinking that you’re very clever’- create a positive tone.

  • ‘That’s better! Here I am! Come and own up I’ve caught you!’- still a very positive tone- certainty of his win. ● ‘Nothing stirs.’- short sentence further builds tension.

  • ‘But where are they who sought you?’- the rhetorical question highlights the uncertainty and contrasts with the previous assured tone. The question remains unanswered as the poem ends which emphasises loneliness.

Meaning:
  • The poem centres around the metaphorical narrative of ‘hide and seek’. The title itself announces that the reader is about to indulge in an account of concealment and pursuit. A closer look at the poem exposes the prominent theme of negligence and the importance of recognising and availing the opportunities which life presents one with.

Imagery:
  • ‘The sacks in the toolshed smell like the seaside.’- helps induce olfactory senses that evoke the theme of childhood.

  • ‘Whispering’- creates this image of the children plotting against this child.

Language:
  • ‘Call out. Call loud’- throws the reader into the game. The exclamation mark in ‘“I’m ready!”’ clearly highlighting the child’s enthusiasm about playing the game which links to the memories of childhood.

  • ‘Sacks in the tool shed smell like the seaside”- sibilance here gives the olfactory image of the seaside.

  • ‘They’ll never find you in this salty dark’- internal dialogue here- often children talk to themselves in the third person- this helps create a sense of isolation.

  • ‘Never’- the modal verb here highlight the great confidence the child possesses. The child believes that they can outwit their friends.

  • ‘Salty dark’- further helps create a sense of isolation.

  • ‘The floor is cold.’- the short sentence highlights the discomfort.

  • Refers to their friends as ‘they’ help create a sinister atmosphere as they are nameless. It helps build tension in this poem.

  • ‘Prowling’- make the child’s friends seem predatory. It helps develop pathos as the child is now seen as vulnerable.

  • ‘Heard’ ‘hushed’- alliteration mirrors breathing which build up tension.

  • ‘Don’t breathe. Don’t move. Stay dumb. Hide in your blindness.’- the use of imperatives here highlight a sense of expertise. The short sentences here create a sense of stillness.

  • ‘Stumbles’, ‘mutters’, ‘scuffle’- assonance here highlight the struggle the friends are enduring to find the child.

  • Cold bites through your coat;’- personification here emphasises the growing discomfort the child feels. It also builds tension. The sharp sounds of the letter ‘C’ help emphasise the cold he is in.

  • ‘The darkening garden’- builds tension and creates a sense of isolation.  

  • ‘The darkening garden watches’- personification here highlights the vulnerability of the child and the threatening environment he is in.

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