This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Growing Old Essay

873 words - 4 pages

Growing Old (Matthew Arnold) Analysis
“What is it to grow old?”
Written by Matthew Arnold in 1867 (Flesch, 2009), the poem Growing Old explores the various discourses often associated with aging. At the age of 19, Arnold’s father died (The Famous People, 2014), which suggests that exposure to the realities of death led him to construct the critical poem Growing Old. Specifically speaking, the poem juxtaposes common misconceptions and clichés of life with the realities of aging and death. These elements form the two overarching themes of the poem, which contribute to the underlying theme of ‘Growing Pains’.
The themes of growth and the fallacies associated with old age and death are vital components of the poem. Consisting of seven stanzas of five lines, each containing the syllabic pattern 6-10-6-10, the poem’s rhythm engages the audience and utilises aesthetically pleasing sounds, typical of traditional poetry. In stanza one, Arnold utilises rhetorical questions and visual imagery to depict the clichéd attributes of old age. Through the use of imagery and personification of beauty, the poet begins to construct the stereotypes of old age. In stanza two, through the use of antithesis, as evident in the words “bloom” (2,2) and “decay” (2,2), Arnold juxtaposes youth with old age, suggesting that growth brings with it external and internal physical weaknesses. In stanza three, the poet exclaims that growing old was “not what in youth [he] dreamed ‘twould be!” (3,2) Here, the clichéd assumptions of age and death are epitomised. In the final two lines of the third stanza, Arnold utilises euphemisms to describe death as “a golden day’s decline” (3,5). In conjunction with metaphors linking death with the gradual, mellow setting of the sun, these aesthetic features create an aura of warmth and serenity associated with death. The themes of growth and the misconceptions associated with old age and death form key concepts in the poem, but are juxtaposed by their negative realities espoused by the poet.
The theme of reality underpins the poem and its effect on the reader. Throughout stanza one to four, the poet outlines various inaccurate views of old age; however, a shift occurs in stanza five when Arnold refutes the utopian-like suggestion that old age is a warm and welcoming experience. The poet explains what old age is, as opposed to what it is not. “To spend long days and not once feel that we were ever young” (5,2) is an example of enjambment that enhances the sense of length, contributing to the numbed sensation of old age. Arnold continues with an implied metaphor “immured in the prison of the present” (5,4) to indicate the negativity of old age across the ravages of...

Find Another Essay On Growing Old

The Attitudes of the Poets in Warning and Old man

692 words - 3 pages a responsible adult is tedious and restricting. Jenny Joseph uses old age as a justification to be eccentric. She wants to change societies expectations of a responsible adult, who is given the image of setting a good example, to someone who is conventional and diverse. Old Man, Old Man shows examples of a shocking picture of growing elderly. Fanthorpe is recounting her fathers aging. It is said, that as you get older you become less

Christopher Columbus, Corn and Potatoes: How the New World Fed the Old

754 words - 3 pages Indians used this crop for a variety of reasons to even include worshipping “maize gods”. Maize would be able to provide for humanity more than any other crop. The Old World had the labor power and land to produce such crop. Continuously growing in the vast majorities of fields, the crop is protected by its husk from the weather, birds and rodents. Being able to grow in most any type of weather condition, maize was always in abundance and could be

Esperanza Growing up in "The House of Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros

630 words - 3 pages have moved from place to place until they settled at a house in Mango Street when she was eight years old. There she starts to grow up and becoming more mature. In a vignette called "hips" she discovers she starts growing hips. Then she with her sister and friend start telling each other why women grow hips. This shows that Esperanza is starting to become a woman. This is because she is starting to grow hips and that is an important change and

challenges of againing

1042 words - 5 pages wears glasses because she cannot see two feet ahead of her. She questions everything we say as if she did not hear us the first time. Then twenty seconds later she forgets she even asked us anything. No one wants to think about growing old because we all notice the things our elders go through and have a feeling what our future is going to consist of. As people get older all they focus on is the bad things. No one really stops to think about the

Comparing Rachel and Chato

1295 words - 6 pages at home, he wants the buildings and stores to belong to him, so he can get attention of everyone in LA. While the speaker, Chato, is growing up, he feels insecure and lacks attention, so he acts rebellious to get other people’s attention. “Eleven” and “The Somebody” both share three similar themes: insecurity, growing up, and power. In “Eleven”, Rachel, the speaker, is an eleven year old girl who feels that her eleventh birthday does not mean

Hydroponics Systems

2697 words - 11 pages nutrient solution in the bottom that will be wicked up to the plants roots by the capillary action of the growing medium.This system is perfect for large plants; it can easily handle a single tomato or pepper plant or a couple of smaller plants like lettuce or herbs. NOTE: With large plants you may need to supply external support to help hold the plant upright.This system can be automated with the use of a separate reservoir, submersible nutrient pump

Homer's Odyssey and Dr. Seuss’ You're Only Old Once

1546 words - 6 pages . We avoid it, refuse to admit it, read about it, joke about it, and deep down we often dread growing old. We know that this is an issue in every time period and is addressed by many writers. Growing old does not change, but each age has its own way of dealing with the old. This paper specifically looks at Homer's Odyssey and all the portrayals of old age in this epic poem. I will also look at You're Only Old Once, by Dr. Seuss as a modern

As Days Accumulate

580 words - 2 pages unknown." Relationships of today's society are always shifting, making it difficult to fully understand certain aspects of life. Growing maturely means growing apart and leaving for college means being independent. Lastly, death is another change we all have to deal with. Life is complex to comprehend because, things are steadily changing. Death, for instance, is a concept that all people must face. There is no escaping death, for it is

Human Development and Growing Older

931 words - 4 pages Christine Canning037-58-6022HDF-201Growing OlderJoseph Campbell said, "As a white candle in a holy place, so is the beauty of an aged face." Aging occurs throughout our journey in life. Plain and simply, we grow old. Similar to adolescence and middle age, obstacles must be faced. We ask ourselves, "Must growing old mean decline?" The answer is that some decline is expected, but the picture is much less depressing than we have been led to believe

Tell-Tale Heart

541 words - 2 pages very , very little crevice », « stealthily, stealthily.. » (Poe p.1).The narrator is in a constant psychological battle with himself, he starts off very confident with his plan to get rid of the old man, but after the eye is out of sight for good, his feeling of confidence and triumph quickly fade. Those feelings are replaced by guilt and extreme paranoia, as he starts hallucinating the beating of the old man's heart growing

Tell-Tale Heart

541 words - 2 pages very , very little crevice », « stealthily, stealthily.. » (Poe p.1).The narrator is in a constant psychological battle with himself, he starts off very confident with his plan to get rid of the old man, but after the eye is out of sight for good, his feeling of confidence and triumph quickly fade. Those feelings are replaced by guilt and extreme paranoia, as he starts hallucinating the beating of the old man's heart growing

Similar Essays

Growing Old: Gradual Decline Essay

1211 words - 5 pages Growing old is a process of life which most people hope to experience. Some people view growing old as a good thing, while others disagree. The process of growing old can bring on new changes both mentally and physically for an individual; many different aspects of an individual’s life begin to decline. Through exploring material of the development of humans in late adulthood, I have created an image of what I believe I will be like at the age

Change Analysis Of 'growing Old' By Matthew Arnold

794 words - 3 pages Growing OldWhat is it to grow old?Is it to lose the glory of the form,The lustre of the eye?Is it for beauty to forego her wreath?Yes, but not for this alone.Is it to feel our strength -Not our bloom only, but our strength -decay?Is it to feel each limbGrow stiffer, every function less exact,Each nerve more weakly strung?Yes, this, and more! but not,Ah, 'tis not what in youth we dreamed 'twould be!'Tis not to have our lifeMellowed and softened

Old Age Sticks Essay

991 words - 4 pages eventually youth becomes the people they used to resent. The theme of the poem, the cycle of life, is relatable to all readers. This makes the poem easy to understand and relate to. “Old age” advises youth to slow down trying to grow up and enjoy their youth. They have been through the process of aging, and have much more experience. “Youth” is eager to mature though. Old age knows that growing old is not as amazing as it may seem to youth. The

Research Paper: “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” By Gabriel Garcia Marquez

995 words - 4 pages . Father Gonzaga states that the Man cannot be angel because he does not speak Latin. Even though Father Gonzaga tells the people that this Man was not angel the crowd of people kept growing. Elisenda already thinks that the Old Man is a nuisance, and she notices that the number of people visiting the Old Man is growing, so she starts charging people admission. Though the numbers are overwhelming, the Old Man ignores them. People started to pluck