"Prayer Before Birth" By Louise Macneice And "Baby Song" By Thom Gunn

1131 words - 5 pages

Louis MacNeice's and Thom Gun's poems use the first voice to look at birth through babies' eyes. They help us see that babies, unborn or newborn, are living but powerless beings. They can think and feel but cannot make decisions or changes in their lives. MacNeice's piece is burdened with desperate pleas from the womb for a chance to live while Gunn's poem takes on a lighter tone towards a newborn's protest to leaving the comfortable and familiar womb.

Written in the form of a prayer, the "Prayer Before Birth" addresses God as its audience but the poet's intention is really to decry the horrors of abortion to the reader. The poem takes on a troubled tone of one who is facing death sentence. The effects of its tone are made stronger through the use of the first person in the impotent unborn baby to dramatize the fact that it is alive and not given a choice for its life. Each stanza repeats the fact that it has yet live. This set the reader into the speaker's deepest burden as it reveals its concerns.

The poem also uses images associated with pains and fears the speaker faces to communicate its tone of deep depression. The first stanza shows us a child's nightmare of "bat", "rat" and "ghoul"; followed by equipment of torture such as "walls", "racks" and "drugs"; then criminal acts of "treason" and "murder"; men in authority as in "old men", "bureaucrats" and "man...who thinks he is God" and finally the vivid description of the brutal act and the detachment of the speaker from its source of humanity. All these depressive images are interrupted only in the third stanza, with a sense of longing and in warmer tone, to experience life from childhood (being "dandle") to death (being guided by "a white light"). It brings images of nature and life and all that we take for granted.

Even the poem's structure supports the tone. The long sentences and heavy-sounding words ("dragoon", "dissipate" and "bloodsucking") communicate a heavily laden heart. The poem moves slowly with increasing length at each stanza and that tells of a deepening sense of hopelessness. The sixth stanza is very short as if to communicate the end of the hope. The last stanza's lines shorten with each subsequent plea as if to signify the shortening time left.

The poet chooses words that support the deeply burdened tone and evoke the reader's emotional response. This is especially so when an innocent unborn has been subjected various agents of abortion in the form of creatures of the night ("bat", "rat" and "ghoul"), equipment of torture ("walls", "racks" and "blood-baths"), criminal acts ("treasons" and "murder") and unloving human ("lovers", "beggars" and "bureaucrats"). They communicate uncaring, cold and relentless in achieving their ends without regard to the subject. Many rarely used...

Find Another Essay On "Prayer before birth" by Louise Macneice and "Baby Song" by Thom Gunn

The State of the World Illustrated in MacNeice's Poem, Prayer Before Birth

1082 words - 4 pages In prayer before birth, Louis MacNeice uses a baby to convey his thoughts and emotions on the current state of the world. MacNeice wishes to emphasize how harsh and ruthless the world is, and how it can strip away a young unborn baby of its innocence. The poem, ‘Prayer Before Birth’ is a dramatic monologue giving voice to a child in the womb, as yet unspoiled by the ways of the world he is about to enter, and a clean slate on which the world will...

Nurse’s Song 1 and Nurse’s Song 2 by Blake

1194 words - 5 pages Nurse’s Song 1 and Nurse’s Song 2 by Blake In looking at the poems Nurse’s Song 1 and Nurse’s Song 2, one has to look at the titles of the book in which they are in, the words themselves, and the etchings that go along with the poem. In the Nurse’s Song 1, the book that it is in is called Songs of Innocence. The title of the book shows to the reader that the narrator is writing from the point of view that she is watching children play,...

Sibling Influence in The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich and Sonny’s Blues by James Baldwin

932 words - 4 pages      The family unit has always been an integral part of every person’s development. Naturally, the parental figure plays an overwhelming influence in the maturity of the child, but sibling interaction can be just as great. Often sibling rivalry, or alliance, outlines this connection as a person carves a path into social peer groups. This articulation of sibling influence can be understood by examining the short stories...

Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

2112 words - 8 pages Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin Desiree's Baby is a short story written by Kate Chopin. It is set in 19th century Louisiana. The story starts with Madame Valmondé going to visit Desirée and her baby. She thinks back on her memories of Désirée as a baby: "It made her laugh to think of Désirée with a baby. Why it seemed but yesterday that Desirée was little more than a baby herself." This quote tells us two...

Desiree's Baby by Kate Chopin

1274 words - 5 pages “Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible – it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could” are words deeply moving and thoughtful to love and life. In Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s Baby, it seemed Armand Aubigny’s love for his baby and wife had done exactly that, transformed him into a happier plantation owner. His wife, Desiree...

Desiree's Baby, by Kate Chopin

1304 words - 5 pages Throughout time, humans struggled with issues of conformity and individuality. In the modern world, individuality is idealized, as it is associated with strength. Weak individuals are usually portrayed as conforming to society and having almost no personal ideas. In “Desiree’s Baby”, a short story, the author Kate Chopin deals with the struggles of African descendants in the French colonies during the time of slave labor. The protagonist is a...

Désirée's Baby by Kate Chopin

1857 words - 7 pages A tale of tragic injustice, “Désirée's Baby” explores racism at its worst, through a falling out of love because of it. Kate Chopin, who was born in 1851, died in 1904 when she was about 53 years old (Chopin 150). She wrote “Désirée's Baby” in 1894(Chopin 150). It is a short, to-the-point depiction of racism and injustice in Louisiana during before the Civil war (Chopin 150). It is set on a plantation called L'Abri, which is the family home of...

"The Red Convertible" By Louise Erdrich

654 words - 3 pages Autumn JohnsonMs. ChitaphongEnglish 318, March 2014 "The Red Convertible" By Louise ErdrichThroughout 'The Red Convertible," Louise Erdrich develops three major characters...

The Red Convertible, by Louise Erdich

1166 words - 5 pages It is said that when a man returns from war he is forever changed. In the short story, “The Red Convertible,” Louise Erdrich demonstrates these transformations through the use of symbolism. Erdrich employs the convertible to characterize the emotional afflictions that war creates for the soldier and his family around him by discussing the pre-deployment relationship between two brothers Henry and Lyman, Lyman's perception of Henry upon Henry's...

The Red Convertible by Louise Erdrich

1356 words - 5 pages PTSD, also known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, can cause change and bring about pain and stress in many different forms to the families of the victims of PTSD. These changes can be immense and sometimes unbearable. PTSD relates to the characters relationship as a whole after Henry returns from the army and it caused Henry and Lyman’s relationship to crumble. The Red Convertible that was bought in the story is a symbol of their brotherhood....

Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, by Robert Louise Stephenson and Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley

2242 words - 9 pages Literature is a great form of art, and is very influential in the lives of many. People of an era may find the literature of that time to be fantastic and they learn from it since it is pertinent to the situations they face in their day-to-day lives. Yet there are some exceptions to this rule of pertinence of literature of an age, there is the ability that literature has to beat the test of time and live on for generations either by the written...

Similar Essays

A Comparison Of Dover Beach By Matthew Arnold And Prayer Before Brith By Louis Mac Neice

1299 words - 5 pages A Comparison of Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold and Prayer Before Brith by Louis MacNeice 'Dover Beach' by Matthew Arnold, written in 1867, and 'Prayer Before Birth' written in 1951 by Louis MacNeice share many similarities despite being written nearly on hundred years apart from each other. This essay will explore the issues and ideas that both poems share, in addition to drawing attention to some of the key differences. ...

Self Reponse To Prayer Before Birth Louis Macneice

621 words - 2 pages A good poem does not need superb text; it needs superb use of poetic techniques and a good structure. 'Prayer before birth' is a fine example of a good poem; however, the text is superb too.My self response for this poem was first negative but afterwards I agreed with some points....

Prayer Before Birth Analysis

598 words - 2 pages Louis MacNeice expresses his strong views on the human life by writing a poem through an unborn child's voice.He starts off by asking God to protect him from various dangerous animals that could harm him such as blood sucking bats and land rats. The poet uses vivid language through the child's fears through words such as hear me and not come near me which...

Factors Involved For Growth In A Baby, Before And After Birth.

1094 words - 4 pages There are several categories of factors, which can affect growth in babies, whilst in the womb and after they are born.It is true that growth can be directly affected, and I will describe how in the sections below.For a baby to be born small for gestational age (SGA), or to fail to develop in the womb, various factors might be named in causing this, some of which would include:Maternal factors:High blood...