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Slough Analysis



Author: poem of John Betjeman Type: poem Views: 26

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Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough!

It isn't fit for humans now,

There isn't grass to graze a cow.

Swarm over, Death!



Come, bombs and blow to smithereens

Those air -conditioned, bright canteens,

Tinned fruit, tinned meat, tinned milk, tinned beans,

Tinned minds, tinned breath.



Mess up the mess they call a town—

A house for ninety-seven down

And once a week a half a crown

For twenty years.



And get that man with double chin

Who'll always cheat and always win,

Who washes his repulsive skin

In women's tears:



And smash his desk of polished oak

And smash his hands so used to stroke

And stop his boring dirty joke

And make him yell.



But spare the bald young clerks who add

The profits of the stinking cad;

It's not their fault that they are mad,

They've tasted Hell.



It's not their fault they do not know

The birdsong from the radio,

It's not their fault they often go

To Maidenhead



And talk of sport and makes of cars

In various bogus-Tudor bars

And daren't look up and see the stars

But belch instead.



In labour-saving homes, with care

Their wives frizz out peroxide hair

And dry it in synthetic air

And paint their nails.



Come, friendly bombs and fall on Slough

To get it ready for the plough.

The cabbages are coming now;

The earth exhales.





Anonymous submission.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

.: :.

When Betjeman used the word 'Hell' he comparing Slough to it and shows how strong is hatred is for what Slough had became in 1930s (the biggest trading estate) from a small peaceful town near London

| Posted on 2015-02-28 | by a guest


.: :.

When Betjeman used the word 'Hell' he comparing Slough to it and shows how strong is hatred is for what Slough had became in 1930s (the biggest trading estate) from a small peaceful town near London

| Posted on 2015-02-28 | by a guest


.: :.

".: :.
--> Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough
In WW2 they started making bombs and planes in the factories instead of the usual products and so this made them a target for the Germans.
--> Tinned minds, tinned breath
Insulting the people and saying they have no imagination or creativity and are generally stupid
--> And get that man with double chin
Insulting the looks of the people of slough
| Posted on 2011-11-11 | by a guest"
you tool, the man with the double chin does not refer to the "looks of the people of slough", it refers to factory owners, the men who make the money, those who thrive on the utilisation of the labourers.

| Posted on 2014-12-04 | by a guest


.: :.

--> Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough
In WW2 they started making bombs and planes in the factories instead of the usual products and so this made them a target for the Germans.
--> Tinned minds, tinned breath
Insulting the people and saying they have no imagination or creativity and are generally stupid
--> And get that man with double chin
Insulting the looks of the people of slough

| Posted on 2011-11-11 | by a guest


.: :.

Betjemen uses a similar rhymic structure to McCrae\'s In Flanders Field.
The first three lines of each of Slough\'s verses have four iambs (all of which end on a rhyme; Slough, now, Cow), and the fourth owns but two*.
The first and second verse form a rhyming pair with their final lines (Death, breath), as do the second and third (years, tears) and so on.
This is the structural core of the poem, which gives it a kind of acoustic stability (grounding the poem; making it feel deliberate) and allows for ease of memorization.
The four iambic feet of each stanza\'s first three lines create a flowing pattern which the more abrupt, shorter fourth line breaks. This helps to delineate verses and give emphasis to the point of each verse (for example \"Tinned minds, tinned breath.\" is vivid in a way that it wouldn\'t be if it didn\'t have the momentum of the verse before it).
Sometimes the break between feet falls inside a word, as in \'friendly\' (wherein \'friend\' is the second, stressed syllable of the poem\'s first iamb, and \'ly\' is the first, unstressed syllable of the second iamb).
Because the break is inside the word we smooth it over. This avoids the rhythm becoming to overriding or clunky. It softens the rhythm.
The final verse repeats the rhyme of the first** (while providing a solution to the unpleasantness railed against in the rest of the poem) which helps to give a sense of resolution; of closing the idea the poet opened in his first line.
~
*McCrae ends his stanzas with four iambs in their final lines, but that is neither here nor there.
**The first three lines, that is. The fourth line rhymes with the verse above it, for obvious reasons.

| Posted on 2010-10-07 | by a guest


.: :.

I used to live in Slough and in searching the internet I never come across facts that explain the first 2 verses that many people in Slough know.
After WWI a large area (what was then on the outskirts of Slough next to the railway line) was used as a dumping ground for ammunition. Over time this degraded and would spontaneously explode - hence the Come friendly bombs and rain on Slough.
Eventually there was such a protest that the ammunition was cleared up. The land was used to create the Slough Trading Estate - the biggest industial estate in the UK in the 1920s and 30s which is probably bigger than Slough itself. many housing estates were built around the factories turning Slough from a small cute town near London to an industrial centre and this is what Betjemanin is against - destroying the soul of the town into an urban mess and the modernist 'utopia' that town planners believed they were building between the wars which he foresaw as being a disaster and hellhole - slums of the future (how right he was).
It's not their fault they do not know
The birdsong from the radio
With rapid expansion of the town and change from countryside to industrialisation, birds and wild animals would have been pushed out so you would no longer hear the sounds of the countryside.
It's not their fault they often go
To Maidenhead
And talk of sport and makes of cars
In various bogus-Tudor bars
And daren't look up and see the stars
But belch instead.
Nightlife in Slough isn't a pleasant experience even today. There are many pubs that were built in mock-Tudor style to try and make the place feel as if it was old and had history and community when in fact there was none. I think teh reference to goign to Maidenhead refers to the fact that there were many pleasure boat trips on the Thames in and around Maidenhead where people would get blind drunk (they still have them and they do).
Sadly Betjemins 'prophecy' came true after WW2 not just for Slough but other 'new towns' that were created after the war using cheap, badly built housing. Many people in London's East End were virtually forced out of their bombed homes en masse to new estates in Slough making its reputation for being a dreadful depressing place much worse and its reputation has not recovered since. This is one of the reasons why teh comedy 'The Office' is located there - a hellhole of endless factories...with a dreadful boss!
In the last stanza Betjemin is wishing that the bombs would clear away what has been built to return the area to the peaceful beautiful countryside it once was.

| Posted on 2010-05-26 | by a guest


.: :.

The analysis of Slough reveals a traditionalist, conservative view on how our country has gone down hill. It gives lexical fields of religion and suffering, and how those in power are corrupt and have control over the inferior. Its a very powerful poem and its fantastic!!!

| Posted on 2009-12-23 | by a guest


.: :.

Betjemen Describes Slough as a terrible place to be in. Ive been there and it is! I also am studying this poem for GCSE english Lit. and Im tired of this poem already!

| Posted on 2009-10-10 | by a guest


.: :.

im doing this piece for my speech and drama exam so i would like to learn more about the poem.

| Posted on 2009-01-21 | by a guest


.: :.

'Slough' is rather a confusing poem to me, we're doing about it in GCSE English Literature, it seems an easy poem but it really doesn't appeal to me.

| Posted on 2008-12-01 | by a guest




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