Explain the pausing in "Dear Mr. Examiner" by Gareth Owen.

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This poem is written from the point of view of a student who feels defeated by the exam he's been asked to take. The lack of pauses in the poem contributes to a tone of frustration.

The literary term enjambment is used to describe lines of poetry that end without...

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This poem is written from the point of view of a student who feels defeated by the exam he's been asked to take. The lack of pauses in the poem contributes to a tone of frustration.

The literary term enjambment is used to describe lines of poetry that end without punctuation. They are meant to be read without pausing, almost like the flow of a typical sentence. If you look at the ends of the lines in this poem, you'll notice that there are no ending marks of punctuation except at the very ends of stanzas—and not always even there. This contributes to the speaker's sense of personal failure in being unable to answer a single question on his exam.

The speaker wants his "examiner" to see "what it's like to be [him]" as he watches one girl writing page after page of "guff" while another cheats her way through the exam. The lack of punctuation mimics the way the speaker quickly takes note of the actions of his fellow examinees.

Even the punctuation at the ends of stanzas disappears as the speaker imagines what other people in other places are doing while he endures this exam. Here, the lack of any punctuation makes the poem flow quickly; the speaker is a quick thinker when his imagination is engaged. Clearly, this exam leaves no space for creativity.

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