How does Harrison present issues of social class and education in ‘A Good Read? Harrison presents issues of social class and education in ‘A Good Read’ by showing the separation between Harrison and his father due to their different educations. This theme is shown in many of Harrison’s poems, as most of them are central of the distant and fragile relationship of Harrison and his father. The first hint at the contrast In education between Harrison and his father appears In the first two lines- That summer it was Ibsen, Marx and Gide.
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I got one of his you- stuck-up-bugger looks’ this shows the sons vast intellect as he is reading books by very serious, intelligent writers. The rule of three used helps to highlight the author’s names, showing they are not common reads adding to the son’s aptitude. Harrison adds to the feeling of superiority by adding a rhyme that you wouldn’t necessarily spot unless you read books by serious authors. You would not think that ‘Gide’ would rhyme with ‘read’. This shows that he comes from higher education as he knew that they would rhyme, whereas someone such as his father would not realise it as he has ot been educated to such a standard.
You can tell that the father thinks that his son’s knowledge has changed him and he seems to Judge him for his higher level of reading. The use of the compound word you-stuck-up-bugger’ shows how the son thinks his father perceives him. This actually hints that the son is more hung up on the barrier between their educations than his father Is as he Just presumes his father will have an issue with what he is reading. This shows Harrison worry about his father’s perception of him and that he does seek his father’s approval even though he is the smarter of the two men.
However, it does also portray that the son receives this you-stuck-up-bugger’ look often and that hints his father’s Irritation with his son’s intelligence. You can tell that the father doesn’t know how to act around his son as
Page 2 A Good Read by Tony Harrison: Issues of Social Class Essay
instead of being interested in what his son is reading he knocks him down about it and makes it seems like Harrison’s higher level reading is something to be ashamed about. It also hints a certain disapproval that Harrison Is a poet and Into literature rather than doing something more manly.
Slightly father through the poem you see the son belittling his father’s choice of a ood read- ‘Good read! I bet! Your programme at united! The labels on your whiskey or your beer! ‘ The use of two caesuras show the son’s bulldlng anger and misunderstanding. The line sounds very blunt due to these three short sentences which make it sounds as if the son is spitting out the words, annoyed at his father for not thinking the way he does. This quote shows that Harrison is mocking his father as his Idea of a good read is a football programme, whereas Harrison’s Is much different to this- ‘Ibsen, Marx and Gide’.
This actually shows a separation in social lass because it is proving that everyone has a dfferent view on what a good read is out Harrison Is mocking nls Tatner wnlcn snows ne Olsagrees wlt n nls Tatner ana finds it ridiculous that he would even consider a programme of a football team to be as good as a classic book. This links in with the poem ‘Bookends’ because, it shows the son mocking his father- ‘IVe got the envelope that he’d been scrawling, mis-spelt, mawkish, stylistically appalling… ‘ this quote shows the inarticulacy of the father.
It shows his son’s almost silent Judgement as he has written about his father’s poor iteracy skills using very intellectual, grand words. The use of triples helps to reiterate the inanity of the father and shows the son to be over-ruling him as clearly his inarticulacy was so bad he wasn’t even willing to show us what his father had written. The fact that Harrison and his father’s education was so different caused big issues between them as they were both very Judgemental of each other and unwilling to try and understand one another.
His father thought of him as stuck up and arrogant, whilst Harrison thought of his father of extremely inarticulate and mocked him for it. Also, the use of the constant repetition of your’ hints that Harrison is excluding himself from his father’s interests and showing that he will not be associated with his father’s type of reading, showing a clear different in social class. You can see the son’s frustration at his father when he says the only score you’d bother with ‘s your darts, Or fucking football… Already, this shows a divide as Harrison and his father are clearly referring to different scores- his father clearly only pays attention to sports scores, but the son clearly is speaking about musical scores s well showing a difference in interests. The alliteration of fucking football’ shows the son’s annoyance at his father’s small minded approach, clearly his father will not even try and relate to Harrison’s hobbies which shows a divide in what is acceptable between different classes.
It almost as if the father thinks it is too embarrassing and is trying to prove his manliness that he will not be seen doing more feminine activities. He clearly doesn’t relate to his son due to his own perception of how a man should act and spend his free-time. This links to the poem ‘Long Distance’ as Harrison s showing the difference in social class between him and his family and the tension it caused- you’dVe been embarrassed though to meet your God clutching those poems of mine… This shows that his parents (and in this case specifically his mother) are embarrassed of the things their son writes. The book the poet is referring to is called ‘Loiners’ which is about Harrison’s sexual experiences. From here, you see the mother’s disappointment and Judgement of her son and notice that she shows no interest in what her own son does in his spare time as it is looked upon as shameful n her ‘class’.
Also, the fact that Harrison is isolating himself from his mother’s beliefs by stating your God’ shows that he doesn’t believe in the same things she does which shows again the issue of social class. Overall, Harrison presents issues of social class and education in ‘A Good Read’ by highlighting the differences between his father and himself and showing the conflict and frustration they cause. Due to Harrison’s education and superior choice in books, his father feels as though he can’t relate to his son, which is what causes the real division.See More on Education