Forever Young In The Poem Old Man Dreams By Oliver Holmes

1626 words - 7 pages

In the poem, “The Old Man Dreams” by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Holmes demonstrated that an old man craved to be young again. Holmes supports his message by writing the poem as an extended metaphor by comparing youth to old age. At the end of the stanzas, he reveals that the old man didn't just want to be a young boy again, but he also wanted to be a father and a husband, too. In conclusion, one can understand that the theme of Holmes’ poem is to be forever young and to be with his loved ones. Oliver Wendell Holmes used imagery, symbolism and rhyme scheme to illustrate the character’s desire to be young again. One can also believe that the purpose of this poem was to display the hunger of youthfulness for which the man lust for.This poem also shows that Holmes was a romantic writer because the idea of this poem is untainted youth over the sophistication that comes age.

Holmes’ greatest literary device that he used throughout this poem was imagery. By using imagery, one can see what the old man wanted. For example, the old man states,“ I'd rather laugh, a bright-haired boy, than reign, a gray-beard king" ( This quote from the poem defines imagery. The use of bright-haired boy demonstrates youth. It also shows that being young is a happy moment because the color yellow symbolizes happiness and youth. Holmes used the part about being a gray-beard king to paint the picture of old age. He used the color gray on purpose to show how dull and boring old age can be. He also compares the two different socioeconomics by using a boy and a king. He is saying that no matter how much money and power he has, young age is still better than the socioeconomic benefits gained by old age. By comparing these two symbols, one can see that the old man only wants one thing, and that is youth.

Another quote in the poem that speaks imagery, is when the old man described the angel granting his wish. The old man stated,“The angel took a sapphire pen and wrote in rainbow dew, the man would be a boy again, and be a husband too” ( Holmes was trying to convey the message by using visual words like sapphire and rainbow dew. The intention is to pull the reader in by showing how fun and bright youth is. He used rainbow instead of black to appeal to the reader that being young is a pleasant time. He also revealed in this quote that the old man wanted to be a husband and a father again, too. This part in the poem foreshadows that the old man wants to be young again because when he was younger, he had a wife and child.Therefore, one can infer that the old man probably lost his loved ones, or maybe something happened between them when he got older. Holmes also used imagery to describe the angel in this poem. He used an angel because an angel symbolizes power and greatness. Holmes did not use a genie because a genie would of tricked him or messed up his wish; that is why he used something that represented purity like an angel.Throughout this poem,...

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