Monday, 4 July 2011

National Trust

A Cornish Tin Mine

Hey Y12

This is a bit late - sorry.

In this week's lesson, where you were all present so no need to go over everything that we did, we did a close analysis of National Trust and considered Marxist interpretation of the poem.

We'll develop this understanding next lesson when we look in detail at the context.

For your homework then I would like you to do the same as last week: write a paragraph about an extract from the poem form a Marxist perspective. This should be much easier after last week's lesson. You do not need to sign in you can leave the comment anonymously (as long as you can prove to me that the paragraph is yours). Once you've done these homeworks you've got two excellent paragraphs for your course work. Let's get these posted ASAP!

In next lesson we will look in detail at the context. (AO4)

Let me know if you have any problems.

Happy birthday btw ES!

Ms :)


  1. In the first stanza of National Trust Harrison expounds his thesis of the suffering
    of the working class in Britain at the hands of the ruling elite. The phrase
    "Bottomless pits" could be seen as referring to the seemingly infinite greed of the
    upper classes, or equally to the depths of suffering experienced by the working class,
    for instance the convict Harrison describes as being abused later in the stanza. Both
    ideas are emphasised by the enjambement that runs through the whole stanza, creating a
    feeling of continuity. Harrison's negative portrayal of the upper classes is continued as he develops a semantic field of materialism in the words used to describe them. His use of "wagering", "borrowed" and "winched", for instance, represent their objectification of the convict, whilst the linkage
    to money suggests their greed. Finally, the caesura in the final line, as well as the commas in between the adjectives "flayed, grey, mad, dumb" create pauses, emphasising the portrayal of the convict as an utterly degraded figure.

    Alex G

  2. P.S. Sorry about the weird alignment- I pasted it from notepad.

  3. Well done, Alex. You've covered a lot of ground there.
    Come on everyone else! Pick one small quote and get as much as you can out of it.
    It'll mean you've got two coursework paragraphs written too.

  4. In the poem national trust, it is evident that Harrison has a strong emotional attachment to the issue raised in the poem with the use of harsh, monosyllabic words such as “back, flayed, grey, mad, dumb”, which carry tones of anger, distress and violence, this could be strongly linked to the battle of the classes as it is a strong focus point in this poem; predominant in nearly all of the stanzas,for example the degrading the “stout upholders of the law” by saying they measure up to the previously conversed phrase of “bottomless pits”. When analysing this poem through a Marxist point of a view, one can highlight the corruption of the proteriat: the class of capitalist society that are wage-workers, as in the third stanza Harrisons mentions “ a place where they got in”, an indication of the tin mines that were in the process of closure causing thousands of jobs loss, here we see Harrison’s suggestion of how ill-treated the workers as they were referred to as “the dumb”, not through his own perception but of society and how they perceive lower-class citizens. :) I actually did my homework for once Miss

  5. The alienated phrase 'Mes den hep tavas a-gollas y dyr' that Harrison chose to employ in his poem supports a Marxist thesis that the working class were powerless and forgotten, which is reflected in the dead language, as it too was forgotten, 'silenced' or 'killed' . It is not only alienated because it is separate from the rest of the writing, but in the way in which it alienates the readers for they are being forced to read something that they do not understand; it is also juxtaposed with the previous British grandiloquence as it gives the southern miners their voice back, which Harrison feels was lost in History.


  6. "Oh gentlemen, a better way to plumb the depths of Britain's dangling a schloar"
    A Marxist interpretation of this quote may make reference the social inequality and divide between the two main classes, suggesting that both criminals and scholars are equally important to society and should be treated in the same manner.


  7. Ahhh Miss I'm such a failure I have completely forgotton about the homework and its getting late! Please, please may i email you a paragraph by thursday (friday latest!) instead of rushing one now. I am very sorry about this but if its any consolation I have had one of the weirdest evenings! Just a really long conversation with someone I barely knew for like three hours. Any way, I really am sorry because I was preparing myself to get on top of this and I haven't, but i will! Hatty

  8. Marxism describes people's socio-economic background as defining them, this poem, I think, rebuking that theory, instead basing people's inability of moving up the 'social ladder' more on others assumptions about them due to their upbringing, with particular focus on the different accents people have. This poem reflects the frustration many people, including the poet, have about their treatment due to their social standing and regional accent, as well as the seeming inability to move from this situation, this emphasized with the description of 'bottomless pits' as if their struggle is endless - like how the miners might have felt striking around this time - as well as the rhythm of the poem, I'm unsure of the meter though it seems to be normal, accented repeated, sounding like the endless plodding of miner's boots.