Report On Letters From A Father

1290 words - 6 pages

Perhaps some people’s first impression on Mona Van Duyn’s “Letters from a Father” is that its topic a cliché; since poems about death are not rare at all. However, Van Duyn’s unique interpretations and attitude towards her writing style, which are apart from other poets, shall also be discovered if one dwells on her poem. In the poem “Letters from a father”, it mainly portrays the daily life of a father, a mother and those feeders (birds). Throughout the poem, it may seem that it emphasizes the process of characters’ acceptance of birds and understanding on their daughter. Nevertheless, if we look deeper into the change in tones, repetitions and words use developed in the poem, it is ...view middle of the document...

These few lines details the sufferings that both the parents are baring, and by these precise descriptions we would tell that the pains are severe and non-negligible since their life are being affected badly. Then we would see that the parents, especially the father’s attitude towards their situations is pessimistic: For example, the phrases such as “bleed to death” (3) and “next time” (12) indicate the father’s negative expectations on their future. Moreover, “that the Lord will come any day with my release” (16) and “it's too late for a hearing aid” (33), we can see he frequently relates their worsening health to an incurable condition and death. While for the hatred of birds, it is observable in line 20 and line 29, he deems those birds as a dirty subject and disease, and he would even empoison those birds in order to get rid of them.
For the first part of the poem, it is written in a pessimistic tone, also the averseness of life and birds seem so certain and uncompromising. However, if one goes on to the second part, we could notice that the father’s tones and impression of bird have softened. For example: “But we don’t know what they are. Your Mother hopes/ you can send us a kind of book that tells about the birds” (39-40), the attitude shown in these two lines is slightly different from the attitude in first part. Comparably, the father expresses his interests in the birds; and he even asks for a book about birds for understanding instead of buying poisons to get rid of them. Furthermore, the presence of the lady from church also indicates a significant change. In the fourth letter, we could see that the parents have accepted the suggestion from the lady: “… She says to hang strips of aluminum foil/ in the window so we’ll do that …” (66-67). In the fourth letter, we can tell that the parents starts taking advices from others, unlike the first part, repelled by the kind gift from their daughter.
Comparing the first and second part, it is very important to notice a change in tones, from a desperate attitude to a moderate one, as if he is trying to make a concession. This change is significantly implying an acceptance, allowing others walk into their life and positively dealing with the inevitable fact: The existence of birds in literal meaning, but more importantly in figurative meaning is the fact that the deaths entail their illnesses.
Moreover, the change in tone is even more obvious when we continue reading the third part. In the third part of the poem, it is suggested that this part works as a huge contrast against the first part. Recalling the first letter,...

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