Many Poems Explore The Idea Of Hopelessness. To What Extent Do The Poems You Have Studied Create A Sense Of Hopelessness?

1618 words - 6 pages

Justin Cheng 11G1 Section 2Many poems explore the idea of hopelessness. To what extent do the poems you have studied create a sense of hopelessness?The poem 'Once Upon a Time' can be read with a range of meanings very similar to 'Prayer before Birth'. The meanings of this poem also further emphasize the idea of hopelessness the present is however in contrast the past. One way to interpret the meaning of this poem: it is about the artificiality of relationships and manners prevailing in the present day world. The past, according to the poet, is better than the present; because there were love, sincerity and faithfulness in the past. Whereas now, everything has changed. Hence the poet wants to relive the past. On the contrary, in 'Prayer before Birth', it asks and prays away the unforgiving present - the idea of concentration camps, war, an age of mass political extermination or else kill him - an unborn child. Both poems are absolutely hopeless about humanity and the present society.Besides, the idea of hopelessness is again conveyed through a range of similar literary devices throughout the poem with 'Once Upon a Time', 'Prayer before Birth' - Louis MacNeice and 'A Mother in a Refugee Camp' - Chinua Achebe. Firstly, all three poems are similar in the sense that they create an image of a better "other" life, as so to accentuate their criticisms of modern society. Furthermore, in 'A Mother in a Refugee Camp', Achebe portrays actions that are considered horrendous and cringe-including to make the reader feel a connection to the poem. Moreover, Achebe depicts events that would normally be regarded as horrendous and terrifying, like a mother burying her deceased son, whilst being compared to daily mundane tasks, which are set in a better life, in an effort to show readers the stark contrast between the lives of refugees and their own. It states, "In their former life this was perhaps a little daily act of no consequence before his breakfast and school; now she did it like putting flowers on a tiny grave." Achebe uses a simile, comparing a normal morning routine to putting flowers on a "tiny grave". Similarly, Okara portrays the feelings of a lack of humanity within people as they grow up and contrasting this with the concept of children being genuine and pure. This is clearly shown in the final stanza of 'Once Upon a Time' with Okara describing how the father is in a way begging his son to show him how to live and regain his true self. The persona states "So show me, son, how to laugh; show me how I used to laugh and smile once upon a time when I was like you." Okara does this to show that towards the end of the poem, the protagonist entreats with the son to teach him to emote - one of the ways which the poem attempts to convey how hopeless about people are in society.The innocence of childhood is more subtly implied in 'Prayer before Birth' and 'Once Upon a Time.' The childhood fears are emphasized by the persona of "bloodsucking bats" and...

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