Thursday, November 24, 2011

Homework assignment (2) - Language Practice

Reported speech!

Our latest homework assignment was to talk about our favorite poem, but not summarize or paraphrase it. We had to discuss the poet's words, read between the lines and tell out teacher what the poem is about in reported speech.

For my birthday by Attila József

This poem was written in 1937, april 11th. Before I began, there is an argument over whether or not the writer, Attila József has decided to commit suicide at the age of 37 or if his death was mere accident. This is interesting, because the poem was written a year before and already it wraps up his life as complete.
This poem is by far one of my favorites, so much that I wrote one myself, based on the same structure for my 20th birthday (You can read it here: Születésnapomra /it is in Hungarian/). Also, a Hungarian band called Kaláka has written background accompaniment to this poem, making it a song.


The speaker in the poem is obviously the poet as he tells us a tale of his life up to his 36th birthday.
It begins with him calling his poem a surprise, one that he gives as a present to himself and the café he often visits, probably the place where he wrote it.
He mentions that he could've been a teacher, instead of a ball point pen abrasive writer, but since he was forced to leave the University of Szeged he couldn't finish his studies. He was kicked out by a teacher called Antal Horger. This teacher, along with his homecountry (the one he believes has betrayed him) was offended by the complexity and sincerity in the poet's poem entitled 'I have no father'.
As the poet addresses his last argument, he tells us the exact words of his teacher: he says that until he has the ability to understand every word spoken to him, he will not let the poet become a teacher on this hemisphere. The poet assures his teacher that he can be relieved, because he isn't learning grammar anymore. On the other hand he mentions in a sentence that he is a teacher of some kind, but of a different level. He says that he will not teach his population on a secondary school level, implying that his teachings, his poetry is of a higher level. Also, with this he points out a responsability he felt towards the people of his country when writing his poems.

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