Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright

(Note that analyses can vary widely, hence these annotations must only be used in conjunction with your own analyses).

Annotations of Fantasia on a Theme of James Wright by Sean O’Brien


Summary of the poem:

Title: Fantasia — any musical composition of a free or improvisatory nature. James Wright

Tone: The narrator speaks like an omniscient voice, 3rd POV.

Summary: Explores the effects of Margaret Thatcher’s policy to shut inefficient mines down on ordinary families. The miners are depicted almost like ghosts who refuse to accept their faith, and the narrator don’t see them as heroes for doing this but almost pitying. But he identifies with them by calling them ‘brothers’.

Structure: Free verse, but regular stanza lengths, no rhyme scheme. Monotony of working life, formality.

Themes: Disappointment, modern issues, family?, past vs present.

Devices used: alliteration/consonance — stubbornness, never give up. Semantic field of darkness and peril. Allusion to Hedley’s Coming Home — the miners want a normal life. References to elements.

Links to other poems: From the Journal


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