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a nostalgic poem describing the blissful, carefree summers as a sixteen-year-old girl, imagery depicting teenagers sliding into a pool author uses this particular choice of color to describe the pool as turquoise is a color of clarity, calmness and idealism. tone is happy and upbeat, depicts a cheerful, childish atmosphere suggests that the author’s sixteen-year-old self was interested in boys and teenage interests

The Summer I Was Sixteen Geraldine Connolly The turquoise pool rose up to meet us, its slide a silver afterthought down which we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.

“oiled and sated” suggests that as teenagers, the writer didn’t have a care in the world and were easily satisfied

We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.

depicts girls dancing to music typical adolescent behaviour gives the reader a sense of joy and nostalgia

up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool

imagery of delicious carnival foods hint a merry and youthful vibe possible allusion to drinking and partying - “stagger” is used a lot to describe drunk/disoriented imagery shows that the cotton candy were big and blazing like torches simile furtive: secretive the sweetness is described as a “furtive” - a reference to a possible summer fling or secret romance suggests an era in time where radios were in fashion (60s/70s?) each stanza depicts a different aspect of the writer’s sixteenth summer: 1st stanza: swimming/splashing in the pool 2nd stanza: sunbathing 3rd stanza: dancing and partying 4th stanza: relaxing under trees 5th stanza: tanning and having not a care in the world the word “tossing” suggests a carefree and youthful attitude towards life the world in the eyes of the youth feels uncertain, which is why teenagers don’t care or don’t see things clearly - the “chain link” refers to a chain link fence which is hard to see through

Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated, we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete, danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl". Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles, we came to the counter where bees staggered into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses, shared on benches beneath summer shadows. Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears, mouthing the old words, then loosened thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance through the chain link at an improbable world.

The Summer I Was Sixteen Poem Analysis  

English poetry notes on Geraldine Conelly's "The Summer I Was Sixteen"

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