Compare the presentation of anti-social behaviour in Stealing and Hitcher

Both poems are written in the first person from the point of view of the characters that do these actions. We are presented with a chilling insight into the minds of two people who do terrible things and yet seem to think they are somehow justified.

So in the poem Hitcher, Armitage presents the story of a man who has a job but ‘……………………………………………….’ and his boss threatens ‘………………………..’ but his excuse is he’d been ‘…………………………………………………..’

Whereas in Stealing Duffy gives us the story of a younger person who is bored ‘…………………………………………………’ and quite lonely, who has to steal things to get attention: ‘……………………………………………………………’

Dragging himself reluctantly to work the first character ironically hitches a lift himself to where he’d left his car. Later he picks up a hitchhiker and discovers they were ‘…………………………………………………………… ‘. It is the driver’s jealousy of his passenger who was ‘…………………………………… …………………………………….’ living a life free of responsibilities which sends him over the edge and causes him to ‘………………………………………………………… ……………………………….’

Similarly the character in Stealing wants to spoil it for people who have what they haven’t got and not because they want the items ‘……………………………………………………………………………….’ But just to upset ‘……………………………………..

…………………………………………………………………..’

While the driver in Hitcher didn’t go out intending to do violence, the character in Stealing does it ‘……………..’ and ‘…………………’

What makes the poems really similar though is the lack of emotion felt by either of the characters. At no time do they seem to regret their actions, in fact in Hitcher the driver seems almost to brag about it ‘………………………………………..’ and the speed of the poem picks up in the third stanza as there is very little punctuation which makes it seem as if the man telling the story is excited. Even the thief in Stealing describes their actions with no remorse, describing their ‘………………’ at ‘……………………

………………………………………………………………….…..’ in a cold and callous way.

In fact Duffy’s presentation of the actions of her character in five regular stanzas contains a stark contrast with the rigid convention that stealing is wrong with the meticulously detailed listing of the characters act of theft of the snowman ‘…………………………………………………………………………….’

In both poems we, the reader, are left to judge. In Hitcher we are left appalled at the irony of the actions of someone towards a complete stranger doing something they themselves had done earlier in the day and gotten away with: ‘…………………………………………………….’ While in Stealing we become involved at the end when we are told ‘……………………………………..…………………………………………….’

Interestingly neither character asks for sympathy nor even for understanding and we can only feel chilled at the thief who has ‘…………………………………………………………………………..’

 

Put these quotations in the spaces:

‘Again’

‘Again’

‘tired, under the weather’

‘I’m a mucky ghost, leave a mess, maybe pinch a camera’

‘mostly I’m so bored I could eat myself.’

‘following the sun from west to east’

‘I started with the head… his torso weighed a ton… hugged to my chest.’

‘the same age give or take a week’

‘one time, I stole a guitar.. I nicked a bust of Shakespeare once’

‘didn’t even swerve’

‘a slice of ice within [their] own brain.’

‘you’re fired’

‘thrill’

‘Sometimes I steal things I don’t need’

‘I thumbed a lift’

‘you don’t understand a word I’m saying do you?’

‘one more sick note, mister’

Knowing the children would cry in the morning’

‘let him have it; first with the head then six times with the krooklok’

 


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