Igcse Anothology Section C Essay

1349 words - 5 pages

Justin Cheng 11G1Many poems explore the idea of hopelessness. To what extent do the poems you have studied create a sense of hopelessness?'Prayer before Birth' written by Louis MacNeice shows an array of hopelessness throughout his poem. He expresses the idea of hopelessness by an array of literature techniques. The poet looks through the eyes of an unborn child at all the fears that face modern humanity, and asks god- or humanity - to spare him away from these terrors. The protagonist in this poem, the unborn child is hopeless about his entire future. The poem starts with a prayer and begs his mother for salvation are all the frightening creatures of the night, beasts that would terrify a young child. "I am not yet born; O hear me/Let not the bloodsucking bat or the rat or the stoat or the club-footed ghoul come near me." The bloodiness start can also strongly suggest how already the unborn child is petrified about entering the outer reality of the world. The unborn child is not only petrified, he wants to pray away all these horrific situations occurring during World War II. 'I am not yet born', the reminder repeats every stanza, further emphasizes how hopeless and fearful again his views upon entering this fixed society and the world.The idea of hopelessness is carried and continued through the next stanza, "I fear that the human race may with tall walls wall me." The internal rhyme upon this sentence suggests there is a lack of freedom, a feeling of being trapped in a hole inside the walls of the society even before birth. This is then followed by an assonance, "black racks rack me." As a fact that this was written during World War II - 1930s, it may be a reference of the torture dealt towards the innocent citizens and soldiers who fought during this symbolic period of time. Again the unborn child is fearful upon the society and also shows a sense of how hopeless humanity is today and before. "Blood-baths roll me." The harsh mood is fully expressed through this plosive alliteration to build upon the sense of hopelessness of humanity and the society. The reason why MacNeice refers to the "tall walls", the "black racks", the "wise lies" and the "blood-baths" is all direct physical origins of the concentration camps and the genocides during World War II. There is also probably a metaphorical link as well: to the forms of mental oppression and tyranny which confront modern youth.The unborn child is not just hopeless upon his own future, it also does not have faith in humanity. In stanza 3, the imagery used to convey the modern world. "Provide me/ With water to dandle me, grass to grow for me, trees to talk/ to me, sky to sing to me birds and a white light/ in the back of my mind to guide me." MacNeice portrays in a different manner. Nature was traditionally also been linked to purity and goodness, hence the white light referred to by him. This shows all the purity and goodness from nature and mankind has now disappeared and gone. As a result,...

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