Farm Hand

Report
By Jayesh Ramji &
James Ringwood
You will see him light a cigarette
At the hall door careless, leaning his back
Against the wall, or telling some new joke
To a friend, or looking out into the secret night.
He has no girl to run her fingers through
His sandy hair, and giggle at his side
When Sunday couples walk. Instead
He has his awkward hopes, his envious dreams to yarn to.
But always his eyes turn
To the dance floor and the girls drifting like flowers
Before the music that tears
Slowly in his mind an old wound open.
But ah in harvest watch him
Forking stooks, effortless and strong –
Or listening like a lover to the song
Clear, without fault, of a new tractor engine.
His red sunburnt face and hairy hands
Were not made for dancing or love-making
But rather the earth wave breaking
To the plough, and crops slow-growing as his mind.
By James K. Baxter
 “yarn”
- to spin a thread
-to talk
-to make up a story
 “stooks”
-bundle of hay/straw
 Suggests that he is suited to working on a farm.
 “hand” is repeated in the third stanza.
-Hands are commonly associated with manual labour, which
is what you do on the farm.
 Baxter was born in Dunedin to Archibald Baxter and Millicent Brown
and grew up near Brighton. His father had been a conscientious
objector during the First World War.
 On his first day of school, Baxter burned his hand on a stove and later
used this incident to represent the failure of institutional education.
 Baxter failed to complete his course work at the University of Otago
and was forced to take a range of odd jobs, most notably a cleaner at
Chelsea Sugar Refinery, which inspired the poem "Ballad of the
Stonegut Sugar Works".
 While at the University of Otago Baxter began drinking heavily. By 1954
he had joined Alcoholics Anonymous.
 The first half of the 1960s saw Baxter struggling to make ends meet on
his postman's wage, having refused to take work as a schoolmaster.
You will see him light a cigarette
At the hall door careless, leaning his back
Against the wall, or telling some new joke
To a friend, or looking out into the secret night.
 “Night”
“careless”
and
and
“light”
“leaning”
-Suggests
- these two
that
words
he has
rhyme
a laid
but
back
do not
attitude
fit into
to life
the and
usual
rhymingdoesn’t
structure
think
whereby
too much.
the rhyming words are
placed at the end of two lines. Here one word is in the
 “telling some new joke to a friend”
middle of a line and the other is over three lines away.
-Shows
that the
farmhand
does
but always
This shows
that
he does not
fithave
in atfriends
the dance.
has to act cool and try to impress them to keep them as his
- “wall” and “hall” are also examples of this point.
friends.
 “at the hall door”
- the Farmhand always hangs out by the door because he
does not feel welcome in the midst of the dance, with
everyone else.
-also it gives the impression he is a bit of an outcast who is
not welcome there.
 “looking out”- This gives the impression that he longs to be free and
wants too leave the dance.
But always his eyes turn
To the dance floor and the girls drifting like flowers
Before the music that tears
Slowly in his mind an old wound open.
 “tears”
“But always his
- this
eyesisturn”
a pun
--it
the
could
use of
refer
“always”
to actual
shows
tears
that
from
thehis
farmhand
eyes
longs to be
on
floor
with
thebeen
girls.physical
-orthe
thedance
wound
could
have
 “flowers”
- are often associated with fragility and farmers are often
associated with being big and rough, this shows that the
farm hand won’t mix well with the girls who are compared
to flowers.
 “Before...old wound open.”
- these lines could be referring to a past experience which
has emotionally scarred the Farmhand, this experience
could be one of the contributing factors that prevent him
from dancing with the girls. The experience probably
happened at a similar dance/party to this and the music
brings back the memory.
His red sunburnt face and hairy hands
Were not made for dancing or love-making
But rather the earth wave breaking
To the plough, and crops slow-growing as his mind.
 “His… hands”- this line gives the first physical description of the
Farmhand, making him out to be someone who has been
working on the farm for sometime.
-“hairy hands” and “sunburnt face” are not aesthetically
pleasing or what a teenager wants.
 “Were not made for dancing or love making”
- because he is not the most aesthetically pleasing person,
people are less inclined to want to dance with him or be
his girlfriend.
 “slow-growing as his mind”
- suggests that the farmhand is not an academic, as his
mind is compared to the speed that the crops grow, thus
being suited to manual labour.
He has no girl to run her fingers through
His sandy hair, and giggle at his side
When Sunday couples walk. Instead
He has his awkward hopes, his envious dreams to yarn to.
“sandy hair”
- sand
is something
found at the beach, which is a natural
 “awkward
hopes”
and
“envious dreams”
 “Instead”
place. The and
poet“envious”
describessuggest
his hairthat
in this
inhand
a stanza
-“awkward”
theway
farm
feels
that
the dance
to illustrate
howand
he fits
like
hedeals
is notwith
supposed
to think
about girls
is in in
embarrassed
nature, but about
not at his
the“hopes”
dance. and “dreams”.
-but in stanza two he qualifies his thoughts about the girls
- informs
the reader
that
what he
hasmaking
just described,
does
by
comparing
them to
flowers,
thus
his thoughts
not apply
to the farm hand and that what he is about to
about
the farm.
describethese
about
thepoints
farm hand
is actually
thehe
-Linking
two
together
, lead tocontrary
the ideatothat
previous
thinks
he description.
is not allowed think about anything but the
farm.
But ah in harvest watch him
Forking stooks, effortless and strong –
Or listening like a lover to the song
Clear, without fault, of a new tractor engine.
 “Or
“without
listening
likecreates
a lover to
song”
“But
ah” fault,”
– this
thethe
effect
of a pause and shows that something
has
in this
it without
is
that
the
setting
- iswhen
– achanged,
he
simile
is ondescribing
the
farmcase
he
how
is
the
things
fault
heand
loveshas
are
changed.
the farm,
like
thehow
sound
of “a new
tractor
everyon
thing
he does
and
he does
it seems
– also itengine”
signals that this stanza will be a contrast to the
natural.
previous stanza.
 “song”
and “music”
“effortless”
and “strong”
-song
to music
in the second
because
they are
–can
belinks
compared
to “awkward”
andstanza
“envious”.
Because
both
sounds.
“effortless”
and “strong” are positively connotated and are
used
to describe
him during
harvest and
“awkward”
and to
-the
music
brings back
bad memories,
where
as he listens
“envious”
negatively
connotated
used
to describe
the soundare
of the
tractor engine
like aand
lover,
proving
that he
him
at the
dance,
it shows
is most
suited
to the
farm. that he is best fit to work on the
farm.
 “like”
– implies that he is not actually a lover.
 Baxter’s failures in education
 On his first day of school, Baxter
could imply that the quote
“slow-growing as his mind” is
referring to himself.

 The Farmhand works on a farm.


 The farmhand is depicted as
struggling through his teenage
years.

burned his hand on a stove and
later used this incident to
represent the failure of
institutional education.
Baxter failed to complete his
course work at the University of
Otago.
Baxter worked on a farm for two
years.
Baxter’s father was a farmer.
His teenage years had a large
impact on his life due to the
turmoil and difficulty in his life,
from being a strong activist.
 What message is portrayed in the “Farmhand”?
 Comment on the relationship between the behaviour of the Farmhand
and his environment.
 Employment-Monologue
-Carpet Weavers Morocco
 Character
- Monologue
-Muliebrity

similar documents