Poems: City Planners Essay example

Words: 15315
Pages: 62

The Poems analysed are: The City Planners, Margaret Atwood and The Planners, Boey Kim Cheng. These are taken from the IGCSE Cambridge Poetry Anthology, but may be interesting for unseen poetry too. Question Set
How do these poets use language and structure to get across their theme?

I wrote this in about half an hour. Both poems are very similar, and have the same topic - City Planning - as shown in their titles. Structurally, they are different though, and the tone differs in places. I've marked headings for each paragraph to show, roughly, what each one is about, with major areas in CAPS (see my post on STILTS as a way to compare poems)
This paragraph analyses: similarities in SUBJECT as shown in the title; similarities and
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Main Subject

The main theme is the poet’s dislike for the suburban houses that look like they have been cast in the same mould. There is no imagination or creativity seen and this uniformity offends her eye. The monotony and the silence set her on edge. There is no sound of laughter heard or any sign of life seen. The silence is only broken by the whirr of the lawn mower which works to make the grass uniformly cut.

“No shouting here, or shatter of glass; nothing more abrupt than the rational whine of a power mower cutting a straight swath in the discouraged grass.”

The city planners are working so hard at making these cloned houses that they are not concerned about what could happen in the future to these houses.


Margaret Atwood was an environmentalist who wrote this poem to protest against the city planners who have designed suburban houses with no imagination. They celebrate monotony and uniformity. There are rows and rows all looking alike. There is humour, irony and annoyance in the poem.


The emotion that registers first is the annoyance the poet feels as she