What is a summary for Fleur Adcock's "For Heidi With Blue Hair?"

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beateach | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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The poem, “Heidi With Blue Hair,” by Fleur Adcock tells the tribulations of Heidi, a student who dies her hair blue with black spikes. This act causes her to be sent home from school, and results in phone calls from the headmistress to her father. Heidi’s father is a very liberal man and explains that he and Heidi “checked the rules,” and talked about her decision to dye her hair. The headmistress reluctantly agrees that it is not against the rules to dye your hair but that Heidi’s choice was too outlandish and did not even represent the school colors. A weak argument at best.

In the conversation, Heidi’s mother’s death is not spoken of, and since she has no other transgressions at the school she is allowed to keep her hair even though teacher’s make it a topic of conversation.

In the end, another girl dyes her hair using the school colors which are grey, white, and yellow. She did so to show her support of Heidi and to emphasize the silliness of the headmistress’s argument.

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jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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"For Heidi with Blue Hair" is addressed to you, or Heidi, a girl who dyes the sides of her clipped hair a shade of blue (while the top is spiked and dyed black). The headmistress at her school sends Heidi home; even though dying hair is not forbidden in the school, Heidi has not dyed it in the allowable way (using school colors). Heidi, crying, goes home to her father, who calls the school and argues that his daughter is not a "punk" with regard to behavior, only style. The father, who loves freedom, tells the school that Heidi checked with him first and that they checked that the haircut abided by school rules. Heidi tells him the haircut costs $25 and will not wash out. Behind the conversation is the unmentioned fact that Heidi's mother has died, and the school relents, as the teachers like Heidi. The poem implies that Heidi may have dyed her hair in reaction to her mother's death. The next day, Heidi's friend dyes her hair white, gray, and yellow—the school colors—to show support for Heidi, and Heidi and the other students have won the battle to express themselves.