Brothers Analysis by Andrew Forster

Hello Reader this is an analysis of the "Brothers" by Andrew Forster.

About the Poem:

This poem describes the day that the relationship between the two brothers was permanently damaged.



The older brother and the speaker in the poem is annoyed at having to look after his younger brother, so he and his friend take an opportunity to run away from his little brother. This event turns out to put a divide in the brother's relationship for the rest of their lives, a divide the speaker does not feel able to fix.

Brothers Analysis:

Stanza 1:

Saddled with you for the afternoon, me and Paul
ambled across the threadbare field to the bus-stop,
talking over Sheffield Wednesday's chances in the cup
while you skipped beside us in your ridiculous tank-top,
spouting six-year-old views on Rotherham United.
The opening "Saddled" adjective suggests that the little brother is a burden.

"skipped", "ambled" The verbs to describe movement highlight the difference between the ways the older and younger boys move.

The older boys want to talk about football sensibly but the little brother is getting in the way.

"ridiculous tank-top, spouting six-year-old views" These phrases show how irritating the speaker finds his younger brother who is interrupting his conversation. As he is older he feels very superior and demeans the way his brother moves, speaks and dresses.

Stanza 2:

Suddenly you froze, said you hadn't any bus fare.
I sighed, said you should go and ask Mum
and while you windmilled home I looked at Paul.
His smile, like mine, said I was nine and he was ten

and we must stroll the town, doing like grown-ups do.
This word "Suddenly" emphasises the change direction of the poem and mirrors the younger brother's shock at forgetting his money.

"I sighed" Short sentences emphasises his annoyance.



"and while you windmilled home" The way the younger brother moves highlights his childish innocence and irritates the speaker.

The use of commas here shows the way the unspoken agreement develops between the older boys to go on without the little brother.

The emphasis on their ages highlights how grown up they think they are, as well as the verb 'stroll' suggesting they are going to imitate the way grown-ups walk and is a direct contrast to the way the younger brother moves.

Stanza 3:

As a bus crested the hill we chased Olympic Gold.
Looking back I saw you spring towards the gate,
your hand holding out what must have been a coin.
I ran on, unable to close the distance I'd set in motion.
"we chased Olympic Gold" Metaphor emphasises how quickly the boys run and how excited and determined they are.

The speaker is looking behind him, but the whole poem is about 'looking back' to the past.

Brothers by Andrew Forster


"spring" Another verb to describe the little brother's childish movements - he is still happy and innocent this stage.


The real message of the poem is contained in the last lines "I ran on, unable to close the distance I'd set in motion". The older brother continues to run because he is scared to turn back, and presumably has never been able to go back and fix his relationship with his brother that was ruined on this say, hence the 'distance' that still exists between them.

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