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The poem Island Man by Grace Nichols is about a man who lived in the Caribbean, but moved to London. He then dreams of his old island home, thinking of all the great things about it compared to the dull London city.
The writer uses sibilance to show the island is peaceful. The evidence to support the point is the quotation ‘sound of blue surf’. This language is used to envision in the reader’s head a soft, gentle tide rolling in and out of the coast with a slow rhythm, lapping onto the shore. This use of sibilance is effective because of the words meaning-a quiet, light hissing sound. This slow hiss provokes a relaxed emotion from the reader at that moment in time-to show there is peace on the island. This implies the island is a calm environment the island man enjoys, and feels he belongs in. This contrasts to London, and can be proved by the quote ‘surge of wheels’. This quote directly contrasts a calm shore; in fact, it is the industrial, London version of the island man’s calm shoreline. It is describing a wall of cars and vehicles rushing past at high speed. This makes the reader feel sympathetic for the island man, as he is suddenly moved from his beloved home to an unfamiliar, ghastly place full of pollution. It makes the reader feel very empathetic towards his situation, as he is homesick and possibly alone. Nichols is trying to show the vulnerable side of the island man, and force the reader to realize the struggle and isolation, which comes with moving to a different country.
The poet uses sensorial imagery in the poem to show the island is calm. The quotation to support this is ‘steady breaking and wombing’. This language is used to fortify a peaceful environment and build a picture of the slow, controlled tides on the shore. This again suggests a calm lifestyle on the island, and a place the island man likes to think of. The adjective ‘steady’ implies a slow, relaxed place that the island man feels comfortable in. In addition, the adjective ‘wombing’ may suggest that the island man feels safe there, on the island, due to the reference to a child pre-birth, and the safety it feels inside its mother’s womb. It is in contrast to London because of the quotation ‘grey metallic soar’. This is the opposite of the slow, calm atmosphere that is placed into the readers mind at the beginning. This makes the reader feel slightly worried about the island man, because he is dreaming of a place he considers safe. This could be inferred as danger, or that he might be alone and scared of something. Nichols is trying to, at first, build a calm atmosphere in order to hit home the contrast much harder later on in the poem.
The writer uses personification to show the island is alive. The evidence to support this point is ‘sun surfacing defiantly’. The literal meaning of this quotation is sun doesn’t want to surface. But in poetry, everything has a greater meaning. To be defiant, someone must be strong, or they wouldn’t be able to defy what they are trying to defy. This means the sun is strong and powerful, or, hot. The personification is effective because the sun’s heat s strong, and the word defiant implies this. The writer is trying to show the weather is hot, so is using that adjective to make the reader think and engage in the poem. This weather contrasts to London as it is described as a dull place in the poem. This repeats the pattern of making the reader feel sympathy for the island man-as we now know he is homesick, in an unfamiliar place, far away from his relaxed island home, in a place with pollution, dull weather and loud, uncomfortable noise, and lots of people. Nichols at this point is sending a very clear message, of the struggle to move to another country, but also of how different industrialized countries are to non-industrialized countries.
The poet uses form to show the island man’s thoughts throughout the poem. The structure of the poem can mean a lot. There is no punctuation, which allows the poem to flow better, and it could be said it flows, almost like an ocean, or the sea. This is called enjambment. It could also symbolize where the island man is from. The lack of punctuation could be giving reference to a lack of education; possibly hinting at where or when the poem is set. The few examples of rhyme, but with no pattern add an extra layer to the poem, making it all the more enjoyable. Nichols has written it this way, to suggest the island man’s personality. The use of enjambment for the flow, accompanied by the small areas of rhyme, create a laid-back, relaxed character for the island man that changes to a dreary stressed Londoner when the poem reaches the halfway point.
In conclusion, the island man’s attitude and feelings towards his old island home in the Caribbean is, as expected, very positive. The language used emphasizes his love for this small island, which he still considers home, even after moving. He loves it there; he loves the birds, the tide, and the soft sand. However, his attitude towards London is extremely negative. The first mention of the change in scenery is negative. ‘Groggily groggily’ is used to show the difficulty to stop dreaming of his island, and to wake up. This implies he dislikes it there in London, and is reinforced by how he heaves himself off the bed defiantly, and how the poem ends with ‘another London day’. This contrast lays very clearly on the table the island man’s thoughts on each of the two locations.
By Cal 8JLP
By Callum 7JM
By Callum 7JM
Murder at Brooke Mansion
It was too late, she was gone. Forever! Her body just lay there, head lolling to the side. The room was dark, the rays of light shining through the closed curtains. She could not get any closer, there was police tape over the door. There was a strange aura to the room. The whole place seemed to have become enclosed. On the floor was a glass, sharp shards scattered all over the place. The contents spilled all over the carpet, staining it. The room had a thick layer of dust on it, like it had not been cleaned for ages and was not going to be. She glanced behind; the family were huddled in the corner; crying; their eyes reddening.
Suddenly, she noticed the poison bottle on the kitchen table. The police came striding down the hallway behind her. Sprinting; nearly tripping over; she reached the table where the poison stood; just in time to retrieve the bottle and slip it in her pocket. The police started cordoning off the rooms close by and ordered her out of the kitchen. She had to plant this bottle to frame someone, and quick. The rest of the plan would have to wait…
I woke up bright and early, to the sound of nature calling. I joyfully got dressed and skipped down the stairs. Reaching for my delicious pancakes; the phone rang. On the other end was my secretary. You could tell by her calming, gentle voice. Lily was always calm in alarming situations. “There has been a murder at Brooke Mansion,” Lily said abruptly.
“Well, this will certainly be an interesting day at work,” I told her. “Who would want to kill the wealthiest person in town?... Don’t answer that!”
“Mornin’ boss,” Lily sang. “I have done background checks already,” she added. Although I had only just walked into the room, I was already organising my pens into rainbow order and alphabetising my notes; despite the fact the Lily had only just tried it herself. Meanwhile, she was sitting, in awe, watching me organise my notes. “How do you do that?” Lily finally spoke. “I would mess mine up just as soon as I had organised it,” she commented. Lily started to tidy her desk but gave up almost imminently.
“The neater something is the less likely you are to lose something or get lost while reading something,” I responded. Staring into her doubtful face, I thought about how much it would mean to her if I could tidy her desk and help her keep it clean. Before very long, my computer made an ear-splitting screech. I leapt to my desk, to see what it was. The toxicology report had come through. “Tetrodotoxin,” I read aloud.
“What it that?” Lily asked, confused.
“Pufferfish poison,” I replied. “300 micrograms per kilogram is enough to kill a human,” I stated. “Pointless information you probably didn’t want to know!” I laughed. It surprises me how Lily gets bored when I start jabbering on about facts that completely fly over her head! You can see it in her eyes. Obviously, some information is important. For example, Tetrodotoxin kills by stopping the muscle movement which controls your breathing, leading to suffocation, or in some cases heart failure.
Lily was scanning the notes already collected when her eyes fluttered repetitively from one piece of paper, to the other. “What is it?” I enquired.
“If the records of the Brooke’s bank account show no trace of buying illegal substances, then how did they get the poison in the first place?” She looked very confused.
“There are two explanations,” I acknowledged. “One, they used cash, or two, it wasn’t any of them.”
“Then who was it?” Lily asked.
“ I have no idea,” I sighed.
When we arrived at Brooke Mansion, all the lights were on. You could even mistake it for Blackpool! The house was 5 storey-high with a 100-acre plot. The exterior appearance was subtle but calming. But the interior; well; that was another matter. I carefully opened the door and Lily clattered in behind me. The place was packed with family, police, and neighbours. As soon as I walked through the door, the whole place fell silent. Everyone stared at me as if I was an alien from another planet. “Who are you?” one lady blurted, no politeness in her words at all.
“Oh, I am most terribly sorry,” I replied. “I am Aster Miracle; and this is my assistant Lily.”
“Right, but what are you doing in my house?” she snarled.
“I am here to investigate the murder of Storm Brooke,” I answered.
“But you’re only, what are you? Fifteen,” she stared at me, doubtfully.
“I realise that Miss. But according to the ‘Detective Society for Extraordinary Children’ that children can do just as good of a job; of solving a murder; as any adult, not to mention the fact that we are more observant, and open to the possibilities of the murder and creatively can recreate scenes to find further information. Also, most children are less obstinate than adults; as we can clearly see now.” The lady: I think is recognisable as Elizabeth Brooke, picked up the phone and dialled a number. As it was ringing, I started to have a look around the house.
Even though a party had just blanketed the residence, underneath you could still see the old, glossy furniture and the bright colours from the sofas and curtains. All the rooms had a warming, old feel, except the bedroom furthest away from the landing upstairs. I guessed that was the murder scene as the door was shut and police tape was stretched over the door frame. As I entered, the cold, bitter feel hit me. Something was not right about it. It was as if a ghost still haunted this house, this room. But I do not believe in ghosts. Do you?...
Suddenly, a book was slammed against the table and loud shouting could be heard on the ground floor; three floors away. As I reached the epicentre of the noise, I could make out what they were saying. “What do you mean they are the best in the business?” Mrs Brooke shouted. “They are only children!” Elizabeth was fuming. I thought she was about to blow; when she forcefully slammed the phone down and stared at me. “I have negotiated the conditions,” she spluttered; clearly out of breath from shouting down the phone to my boss. “If you can’t solve this in a week, proper detectives will come in to cover the case!” Mrs Brooke started to go red with rage.
“ Don’t worry Mrs Brooke. There will be no need for that. I will have this case sorted in no time,” I remarked smiling. “Also, I don’t think you understand who the proper detectives are.” I swiftly turned around and jogged up the wooden, palace stairs, fit for a Queen. The silk threaded carpet, soft and light under foot. Lily was not far behind. Walking into the room next to the murder scene, it had a completely different feeling to what lay next door. The room was colourful and bright, stickers were placed all around and the walls were full of books and art supplies. “You’re dream room,” whispered Lily. I smiled; it was a room I could sit in all day. Slowly I turned and whispered to Lily. “They think we are idiots, and don’t know the first thing about a murder. We need to show them whose boss.” An even bigger smile grew across both our faces. Opening my notebook, I heard Lily whisper to herself under her breath. “If they think I am an idiot, they clearly haven’t met Aster!” I grinned; I am so glad I have a friend my age as an assistant.
After numbering all the evidence and putting them in bags, Lily and I decided to look in the other bedrooms. There might be clues in there to point to the murderer. I also want to get a feel for the personalities of the residents; so, I can see who had the most motive to kill Storm. Some time passed, I can’t be sure how long, but we had gone round every room and arrived at Elizabeth’s. Even though her daughter had just died, she seemed more interested at yelling at the detectives rather than mourning Storm’s death. As I walked into her room, I realised why. Mrs Brooke’s room was filled with pictures of her family. Her duvet was a personalised picture of her and her husband, and there were picture frames everywhere, showing the holidays they had been on. Unfortunately, none of those pictures included Storm. Elizabeth must have cropped the pictures down to remove Storm from them. This is clear as you can see part of her hair where it overlaps with a picture of her sister, Summer. Summer on the other hand was scattered all around Elizabeth’s room. Clearly, she had a better relationship with Summer than Storm. I am not sure if this gives her a motive, but it is something to keep in mind.
When we got back to the office, we sorted out the evidence and wrote corresponding motives in the case book.
Summer Brooke - Sister: Motive- Five minutes younger than Storm. Storm is going to get the inheritance on her 21st birthday, but dies a few hours before. Summer now receives the inheritance. Alibi- None yet. Opportunity- At the party when Storm was poisoned. Did not drink anything or eat anything after that, so could not have been poisoned after the party.
Elizabeth Brooke - Mother: Motive- Husband died and inheritance was going to Storm not her Alibi- None yet. Opportunity- At party.
Ollie Brown – Boyfriend: Motive- Non Alibi- None yet Opportunity- At party
Ruled out- was nowhere near the crime scene.
So, this is what we have. Two possible murderers, a jealous friend, a boyfriend, and a caretaker. Summer and Elizabeth both had evidence in their rooms to point them to being the murderer. Katy had a motive so can’t be ruled out, and Ollie had the opportunity so can’t be ruled out either. In Summer’s room we found a syringe with traces of Tetrodotoxin in it, and in Elizabeth’s was a full bottle. Summer seems really upset about the murder, but Elizabeth is not shedding a tear. Maybe she planted a syringe in Summer’s room to frame her but accidentally left the bottle in her room. It’s a theory, but if she went to all the trouble of putting the syringe with traces of Tetrodotoxin in Summer’s room, then why was she so careless enough to leave a full bottle of it in hers? Something doesn’t add up here.
Back at the office I organised all the notes and sat down to look through all the evidence we collected from the house. There really isn’t much to go on. Even though I was looking through the notes for hours trying to find some sort of catch, nothing showed. “I think the interviews might clear the air,” I sighed. “Bring Summer in. She may give us some information on the relationship between Elizabeth and Storm.”
“On it.” Lily replied.
Interview with Summer Brooke, Wednesday, 30 December 2020 at 12.57pm, the office
Aster-Summer, may I ask you some questions about your relationship with your sister, and some other relationships Storm was in?
Summer- Yes. Go ahead.
Aster- So, Summer. Tell me about your relationship with Storm?
Summer- Amazing. She was the kindest and most understanding sister anyone could ask for. Storm was always there to help, and you could ask her anything and she always had a reply.
Aster- So how did it feel when you found out you weren’t getting any of the inheritance?
Summer- I was a bit angry, but not at Storm. No. At my father for not thinking of me. But that’s how it was. I was always Mum’s girl and she was always Dad’s. As you could probably see when you inspected my Mum’s room. It was the same with Dad. No pictures of me in sight. Storm was furious as well. Dad not giving any inheritance to me, so she decided to pay my Uni fees with some of the money, along with helping me get a car. Storm didn’t have to, of course, but then, she never takes no for an answer.
Aster- Could you see your Mum wanting to harm Storm?
Summer- No. Definitely not. Mum didn’t have a strong bond with her, but deep down she loved Storm really. Very deep down!
Aster- So how was Katy’s relationship with Storm?
Summer- Katy? Her and her gang are an annoying waste of time. Katy tried to become friends with Storm, only so that she could steal Storm’s boyfriend. When she found out what Katy was doing, she told her to leave and was determined never to talk to her again.
Aster- So why was she at the party?
Summer- Ollie invited her.
Aster- So, what was Ollie’s relationship like with Storm?
Summer- Ollie and Storm had an amazing relationship. When Storm found out what Katy was doing, she went to tell Ollie straight away. But Ollie didn’t buy it, he had confidence in Katy. They didn’t really bring up the subject again until she turned up at the party.
Aster- Thank you for your time Summer. We got a lot of information from that.
After the interview we reviewed the suspect list and ruled out Summer as she seemed to have no motive now that we knew Storm was helping her with her Uni fees. Ollie was mad at Storm for accusing Katy, and against her will, invited Katy to the party. But is that really a strong enough motive? Elizabeth still has a motive, but according to Summer, wouldn’t ever harm Storm, no matter how much she disliked her. Katy: on the other hand, has a weak motive, but a motive none the less. Something doesn’t seem right about her. Until I have enough evidence to get a search warrant, I can’t investigate the leads to her.
Suddenly Lily gasps and looked up from her laptop. As quick as a flash I was stood beside her, staring at the email that was sent by Katy to Storm. I was scanning through it, then I read aloud “I will do anything to get him.” I stopped. Did that include murder? That’s a weak motive. There must be more to it.
Walking into the crime scene again the next day, the atmosphere had changed. The family had moved to a rental until the case was solved and there were less police on site. “Excuse me miss, you’re not meant to be here.” A police officer called. I spun round like a ballerina. “This is for police officers only.” His faced started to crumple with anger as I was not moving an inch. I pushed my hand in my pocket and revealed my badge to the Constable. Just then Lily joyfully ran up the staircase. She always puts on her best smile for the start of the day.
“Well,” the Constable started “Have a good day detective.” He swiftly turned on his heels and marched down the stairs, an embarrassed look on his face. It was as if he was intimidated by a fifteen-year-old!
As soon as the officer was most of the way down the stairs Lily squealed. Most of the time that means she has found a strong lead and was immensely proud of her achievements. “Aster!” she panted, clearly out of breath from climbing the stairs that were as tall as the Eiffel Tower. “I have found the strongest lead we have on Katy.”
“Brilliant!” I exclaimed. “I always knew there was something off about that girl. What is the lead?”
“I was looking through Storm’s diary, and I found all the names of her previous boyfriends. Coincidentally, they matched up with all of Katy’s boyfriends. So, I emailed them, and they all say that they left Katy when they met Storm. This was apparently because they became friends, then discovered they had more in common than they first thought. After they had left Katy, she did all she could to sabotage their relationship by exposing Storm to her fears.”
Lily took a big breath.
“Yes, that make sense.” I replied. “I was reading through a word document she made. She had a lot of entries about the weird things that were happening every time she got a new boyfriend, from spiders, to snakes, fires. All kinds of things. Do you think that Katy could have done this, and when she took Ollie, decided to finish Storm off once and for all? “I asked. “I think we just got ourselves a search warrant.” I added.
Later that day, we arrived at Katy’s house. It was modern with an exceptionally clean finish. The kitchen was bright and airy, the hub of the house. Walking into the lounge a warm and cosy feel rushed over me. The walls we painted a warm brown, quite the opposite of the cool grey in the other room. After a quick tour of the downstairs, I swiftly moved onto investigating her bedroom. Entering, a cold and bitter feeling crept down my spine. There was no homely and relaxing feel a bedroom should have. All the drawers were open and things all over the floor. “Not a very neat and tidy person,” Lily muttered.
“I disagree. Look,” I pointed at the bed and as I walked over to the wardrobe also recognised the dressing table. “The bed, the dressing table, and the wardrobe are neatly organised and the clothes clean and pristine,” I added. I looked over at the dressing table. The makeup was organised in different sections and in rainbow order. The bed was neatly folded back, and the pillows were puffed and upright. “Katy is not messy and untidy. Look at the rest of her room. This mess has been made because she wanted to find something in a hurry and didn’t have time to clean it up. We know that Katy hasn’t been anywhere today, and if this mess was made yesterday, she would have cleaned it up before now.” Staring round the floor to see if there was any sign of what she was looking for; I continued. “Using the evidence we have, Katy wanted to find something quickly before we could find it ourselves. Clearly, she has something she didn’t want us to see.”
“I lost you at mess. But sure!” Lily giggled. I don’t know what I would do without her. Lily just has the laugh that can keep anyone happy.
“I am going to find Katy; you go look in the bins inside and out to see if she has dumped something there.” I knelt down and picked up a diary and started flicking through it.
“Got it, see ya!” She started walking out of the door when I called her again.
“Oh, and Lily!” I looked behind me, Lily’s head poked through the door. “Don’t accept anything to eat or drink. I think we have found our murderer; we just need to prove it. I found a diary; this might tell us something. Finding some Tetrodotoxin in this house might help, especially if it has her fingerprints all over it. So, gloves please!” Opening the diary, I found a picture of Ollie, with a love heart drawn on it in red sharpie. “At least they can’t say she has no motive” I muttered to myself.
I tabbed all the pages that had a reference to Storm stealing her boyfriends. Then carried the diary down the stairs to find Lily. On walking into the kitchen, I saw Katy, with her head to the floor in shame. Lily, on the other hand, looked moderately angry. “She won’t say a word!” Lily shouted with rage.
“I will handle it,” I reassured her. This made Lily calm down instantly; she knows that whenever I ask something the answer always comes out. Lily seems to think this is magic, but you just have to ask in the right way. “Katy, why is this in your outside bin?” I asked with a stern voice. She didn’t reply, her head stayed staring down at the floor. In conclusion of this response, I put my story together and gave her my thoughts of how she murdered Storm. “You can either tell me now, or I can get these bottles tested for prints. Also, I can test the syringe and the other bottle we found in Elizabeth’s room. No doubt they will have traces of your fingerprints on as well.” I stared at her in disbelief. “That’s what you did, didn’t you Katy?” I asked. “You placed a bottle in Elizabeth’s room and a syringe in Summer’s. Quite a clever plan really; to make us think that Elizabeth framed Summer for the murder. Even though you planned this perfectly, Elizabeth didn’t really have a motive. Although she didn’t get the money from her husband’s death, even if she killed Storm, Elizabeth wouldn’t have gotten the money.” Katy looked up in disbelief.
“What?” Katy asked confused. “Then who gets it?”
“Summer,” I clarified. A smile on my face. Even though she didn’t confess that she murdered Storm, she certainly didn’t deny it. “And Summer didn’t have a motive because her sister was already giving some of the money to her for Uni funds.” I stopped and looked at Lily. She smiled and gave a thumbs up to carry on. The police were on their way and I was certain we had enough evidence to convict her. Such a pity for her age. There is so much you can do with life, that has a happier scenery than jail. “You thought that we would arrest either one of them immediately and would never come to search your house. You are a tidy person, why would you leave mess all over the floor? Unless you wanted to hide something quickly that you didn’t want us to see. Unfortunately, in your rush to hide the Tetrodotoxin, you didn’t spend time to notice your diary on the rug, which confirms that you were willing to do anything to get revenge on Storm. She stole all your boyfriends and took the happy life you had away.” Lily was clearly amazed by how I had worked this all out.
“She deserved what she got,” Katy muttered bitterly.
“No-one deserves to die,” I stated firmly.
Just then the door banged open and Ollie came rushing through the door. It had started to rain, and heavily. His red glossy raincoat was drenched, and he hung it up to dry on a peg next to the roasting radiator.
“What are you doing here?” Ollie asked confused. “Leave Katy alone. First Storm and now you!”
“I am sorry Ollie,” Katy murmured. “I didn’t think about what I was doing. I just wanted to be happy again.”
“You are sorry for what?” Ollie replied. I stepped in and took my shiny silver cuffs from my pocket and unclipped them. Katy stood up with her head down, not wanting to make eye contact with him.
“Katy, I am arresting you for the murder of Storm Brooke,” I said firmly. As I had hoped the Police car arrived just as we were walking out of the door and after a bit of struggle, drove off into the night, The blinding blue lights, and the siren recognisable miles away. I turned to Ollie and gestured that he should leave. Ollie looked regretful. “Don’t blame yourself,” I said reassuringly.
“If I had listened to Storm and not invited Katy to her party, she still might be alive today. Katy will pay for this,” he shouted.
“Please don’t think about it anymore. Just think about the dark, grimy, reeking cell that she will have to live in; and the other dangerous, unpredictable prisoners there are. It is no joy to live in.” I looked at him.
“I will. Katy deserves everything that she’s got coming for her, and if another one of Storm’s or my family dies; I shall not be able to make their funeral. I will be in jail for killing the person who killed them.” He stood up, marched to the door, and put his raincoat on.
“Oh, please don’t do that. Justice can be served. Jail isn’t a happy life,” I insisted. He nodded and walked out of the door, slamming it behind him. I turned to Lily, clearly worried.
“He was joking. Right?...”
By Charlotte 8MH
By Charlotte 8MH
By Chloe 7JM
By Chloe 7JM
By Elliott 9RR