Water, Father, And Peace To Fear

2033 words - 9 pages

The simultaneous distance and closeness within the relationship between the father and the child are inevitable even in the most tragic and happy events in life. The poems “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” by Jan Heller Levi and “In the Well” by Andrew Hudgins are both about the closeness and distance in a father and child relationship. Both poems are written in first person, or in the child’s point of view to emphasize the thoughts of distance and the experience of childhood thinking to the readers. The poems both use similar literary devices such as motifs and imagery to illustrate and accentuate the ideas of each event that the narrator, a child, experiences. Similarities between both poems are the ...view middle of the document...

The “icy ocean” (Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad 14), or the distance between the father and the child, shows how the narrator that is growing up needs help through life and is not in puresafety anymore.The child thinks that her father is “Moving to slow to save me[her]” (Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad 15) when she does need help, yet really, her father is trying the best that he can, which exhibits the still needed support no matter what it takes and what the child assumes. Likewise, in “In the Well” the narrator has to go down into a dark well to get a dog. “Into the darkness. I could taste my fear” (In the Well 4-5) demonstrates how her father is lowering her into the dark well close to the water, and farther and farther away from the father. Also, “My father dropped me from then to then: then water” (In the Well 8-9) shows clearly how the repetitive use of the word “then” implies the increasing distance between her and her father. Both lines from this poem show not only the literal increasing distance between her and her father, but also the figurative meaning of how the increasing distance from safety not only brings in new problems and risks but also is the reason why such risks taken can lead to better outcome, and in this case the dog is brought up. Both poems prove to show in similarity how the increasing distance between the relationship of a parent to their child, or in this case the father to their child depicts the not only risking safety but also the child starting to be on its own, yet still needing the support of their father. The understanding of how water is used as a motif in both of these poems is important, because it sets the scene as to having water on one side and the father on the other. The motif shows as the main character gets closer to water, the farther away they are from their father. This understanding leads to the “bigger picture” of how water is the main component of getting closer to danger in both poems. Hence, the use of water, as a motif, is used as the deeper meaning, the closeness to danger.

Another similarity between “Not Bad, Dad,Not Bad” and “In the Well” are the narrators use of different synonyms for “father” as each poem progresses. Commonly used synonyms for the word, father, are dad and daddy, which in definition have the same meaning but in personal preference differ. For example, the use of “father” as in “My father…” depicts the existence of a male parent of the child but in a respectful way, yet the use of “dad” in “My dad…” depicts a similar meaning but in a more close way to show the personal importance of that child’s male parent. Correspondingly, the use of different synonyms for the word, father, are exhibited with the similar literal and figurative meanings as each poem progresses.In “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad”, in the middle, the narrator uses the calling of “Dad” in “You wouldn’t win any medals, Dad, but you wouldn’t drown” (Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad 7-8) to show the emphasis of her closeness to her father to...

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