To start off with the title explains quite a lot to the reader as I think that the title is really significant as it is ‘On a portrait of a deaf man’ which maybe reflects that he does not want to separate the fact that the ‘deaf man is dead’. Plus there is a difference of only one letter which separates them from ‘deaf to dead’ this could hint the reader as then they try and create the ‘deaf and dead’ imagery of the man. The most obvious thing about the title is that it is clearly about a deaf man. Moreover  the title itself is written in third person.


John Betjeman has used a variety of techniques to make the poem more exciting and interesting. The use of oxymoron makes the poem interesting as it combines the opposites together which makes the reader really interested. Also there is a use of contrast in Stanza 2 and 4/

Sibilance:‘song song’

Alliteration: ‘Say Save’

Paradox: 2 philosophical ideas

Senses: Senses are extremely vital in this poem because the narrator’s father has been defined as a deaf man in the title. Therefore the frequent use of senses (sight, smell, touch and taste) emphasises the connection between him and his father and the link with their world.

Imagery of Decay:

maggots in his eyes,
his finger-bones
Stick through his finger-ends


The structure in the poem has 8 stanzas but the first 7 stanzas are written in first person. He makes strong links between the pleasant memories of him and his father and how he links with the horrible images which shows that he cannot stop thinking about death. Lastly the final stanza is in a conversation between the narrator and the God which suggests that his father’s death has urged him to question his own faith. In addition when the narrator questions God he is in a way accusing him of his father’s death which proves the point that he was quite close to his dad and with the help of emotive language he persuades the reader to be emotional towards the poem.







In my opinion  the overall concept of the poem is Elegy and although he is narrating horrible imager towards his dad but he still is paying tribute to him as he believes he deserved to stay longer and he is clearly questions his faith and is disappointed in God as he hasn’t treated his father in the way he deserved.