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Poetry - You will be hearing from us shortly
See if you can get full marks in this enjoyable quiz.

Poetry - You will be hearing from us shortly

U.A. Fanthorpe was a popular and successful British poet who died in 2009. She had a varied career before first publishing in her late 40s. Her work is noted for its sharp sense of humour.

When writing about a poem, you need to demonstrate a response. This does not mean that you must have soppy feelings, or even like what you have read. 'You will be hearing from us shortly' can almost be guaranteed to provoke a response. Read the poem before testing your analysis skills with this quiz.

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You will be hearing from us shortly


You feel adequate to the demands of this position?
What qualities do you feel you
Personally have to offer?
                                                                          Ah

Let us consider your application form.
Your qualifications, though impressive, are
Not, we must admit, precisely what
We had in mind. Would you care
To defend their relevance?
                                                                          Indeed

Now your age. Perhaps you feel able
To make your own comment about that,
Too? We are conscious ourselves
Of the need for a candidate with precisely
The right degree of immaturity.
                                                                          So glad we agree

And now a delicate matter: your looks.
You do appreciate this work involves
Contact with the actual public? Might they,
Perhaps, find your appearance
Disturbing?
                                                                          Quite so

And your accent. That is the way
You have always spoken, is it? What
Of your education? Were
You educated? We mean, of course,
Where were you educated?
                                              And how
Much of a handicap is that to you.
Would you say?

                        Married, children,
We see. The usual dubious
Desire to perpetuate what had better
Not have happened at all. We do not
Ask what domestic disasters shimmer
Behind that vaguely unsuitable address.

And you were born—?
                                                                          Yes. Pity.
So glad we agree.

U. A. Fanthorpe

 
1.
What is taking place in this poem?
An exam
An appointment with a doctor
A job interview
A wedding
2.
The poem is in whose voice?
The poet's
The interviewer's
The job candidate's
The secretary's
The job candidate is never given a voice, instead remaining silent throughout the interview
3.
Which words best describe the interviewer's tone?
Gentle, kindly, thoughtful
Raging, dismissive, emotional
Arrogant, contemptuous, condescending
Humble, sensitive, delicate
4.
The interviewer does NOT question the suitability of which of the following?
The candidate's health
The candidate's marital status
The candidate's accent
The candidate's age
Questioning the candidate's accent is a reference to class - the candidate is not 'one of us' in the interviewer's eyes.  The interviewer makes it clear that the candidate is also too old and too unattractive for the role
5.
The poem is written in the first person plural throughout. Why might this be?
The candidate is being interviewed by a panel (several people)
The interviewer uses the royal 'we' out of sheer arrogance
The use of the word 'we' emphasises the exclusion of the candidate
Any of the above
The royal 'we' is how the Queen refers to herself in public (if you listen, you will not hear her say 'I').  It is also known as the Victorian 'we' or the 'majestic we'.  If a person refers to himself as 'we', it shows that he has an extremely high opinion of himself
6.
Look again at the way the poem is structured and, in particular, how it is laid out. Considering the words on the right-hand side (like 'Ah'), what does the long gap before them tell the reader?
The gaps show the reader that the interviewer is taking care to phrase the words sensitively
The gaps enable the reader to imagine the long pause the interviewer leaves before saying the words
The gaps show the reader that the interviewer is struggling for words
The gaps are purely there to make the poem look attractive on the page
The gaps, of course, are also where the interviewee should be responding to the question put by the interviewer.  The questions are so contemptuous, however, that the interviewee is lost for words and remains silent
7.
Thinking about the answer to question six, what effect does this technique create?
It creates a feeling of boredom for the reader
It creates a feeling of suspense, allowing the reader to become more excited
The reader begins to believe that the candidate will be given the job after all
The reader can almost hear the dripping sarcasm in the clipped responses
8.
'You will be hearing from us shortly' is what an interviewer would say to conclude an interview. The interviewer in the poem will have said this to the candidate, who knows the interview has not been a success. Why is this an appropriate title for this poem?
The title merely summarises the meaning of the poem
The title shows that the candidate will certainly get a job somewhere soon
The title reinforces the theme of inequality between the interviewee and the interviewer
The title reminds us that we will have to wait until the end of the poem to know what happened
By beginning with the ending of the interview, the title reminds us that the outcome of the interview is a foregone conclusion.  It also emphasises the power the interviewer has to make the interviewee wait, although everyone knows that someone else will be hired - this reinforces the imbalance of power between the two people
9.
Which of the following phrases implies that the interviewer is looking for someone reasonable competent, but youthful?
'And now a delicate matter'
'Precisely the right degree of immaturity'
'Were you educated'
'Your qualifications, though impressive, are not, we must admit, precisely what we had in mind'
10.
What is the effect of the last three lines?
The interviewer implies that everyone is in agreement that the candidate's existence is pointless
The interviewer implies that everyone will take pity on the poor candidate
The interviewer wanted to know where the candidate was born, but was interrupted
All of the above
The interviewer deliberately leaves the question hanging.  It should be 'And you were born (where)?'  The dash implies the 'where', but then the interviewer follows up with the killer line, 'Yes. Pity' (i.e. it's a pity the candidate was born at all).  The last line, then, is the most cruel.  'So glad we agree':  the interviewer presumes to speak for the interviewee and the organisation in saying that everyone agrees that the candidate should never have been born and is most certainly not worthy of belonging

Author:  Sheri Smith

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