Poems Dealing With Parent/Child Relationships Essay

4117 words - 16 pages

Poems Dealing with Parent/Child Relationships

All of these poems deal with parents’ relationships with and
reflections on their children. Show how the poets bring out their
feelings through use of theme, language, imagery and structure

The relationship between parent and child is one of great mystery and
also profundity. Love can survive a lifetime but can also falter
within a second, though the love of a parent for their child, their
offspring, no matter what, is eternal and unconditional. Though it is
hard to express a love so full of devotion, so powerful it can survive
generations, in to a few simple words. Yet here we have three poems
written over four centuries expressing the author’s love for their
child. Although the poems were written in a number of different eras,
where social stance, economy and living conditions were so different,
love is and will always be the same. Love can bring endless pain and
heartbreak but also immeasurable joy and happiness and this vast range
of emotions is captured in the three poems that we studied. The
earliest to be written being, ‘For my son Samuel, on his going to
England, Novem 6, 1687, wrote by Ann Bradstreet confessing her worries
over her sons departure on a sea voyage. A later poem was, a parental
ode to my son, aged 3 years and 5 months, by ‘Thomas Hood’, written in
a humorous style, with many contradictions. Then the modern poem,
written by Sylvia Plath relates to her body and state of mind during
the development of the foetus in her womb and how she thinks it will
grow. Although different at first glance, they all share the common
bond of parental love, so there are many underlying comparisons
between the three poems.

Firstly, we have the pre-twentieth century text written by Sylvia
Plath dealing with her personal thoughts for her still-unborn child.
This poem was decidedly more upbeat than the pre twentieth century
texts, although all are focused on the same particular aspect of
parental love. She is, during the poem, trying to express her
anticipation of the birth of something that she had created and how
she feels about continuing the ever-changing circle of life. She tries
to convey with a number of images what she feels about the child’s
development and how she sees it as much more than another life
developing inside her. It starts with the line ‘Clown like, happiest
on your hands’, which immediately indicates that the mother sees her
baby as something to rejoice in, that perhaps make her laugh. We also
have the image of the way a clown tumbles around during circus
performances; perhaps a reference to way the child is positioned in
the womb. This is the first of many images used to describe the child
as the mother in her own mind sees it. Feet to the stars and
moon-skulled is perhaps the first reference to indicate that the baby
is still yet to be born, but is still in the stages of development in
the mother’s womb. Feet to the stars once...

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