How is the theme of parent – child relationship explored in the poems “if” “Poem at Thirty Nine”, “Once Upon a Time” and three other poems?
The poems here all talk about the theme of parent child relationship. The poem “if” talks about a father teaching his son how to become a man, “Poem at Thirty Nine” talks about the relationship between a father and a daughter and how she misses her father. The poem “Once Upon a Time” talks about the realtionship of a son and a father that has been westernized and the other three poems are also showing the parent child relationship theme in different ways.
The poem “If” written by Rudyard Kipling is a didactic poem, it differs from “Poem at Thirty Nine” by Alice Walker an African – American feminist, writer, poet and political activist who wrote this poem at the age of 39 after realising that her father had shaped her directly and indirectly from his actions. The common thing between “If” and “Poem at Thirty Nine” is that both the parents attempt to shape their children.
The difference between “If” and “Poem at Thirty Nine” is that Alice Walker is reminiscing about her father but in the poem “If” Rudyard Kipling is remembering his son. Also the poem “If” is written in four stanzas however Alice Walker’s poem is free verse because the use of remembrance makes it a train of thought.
Alice Walker now values her father because she now knows that he valued their family by cooking for them ” Now i look and cook just like him” shows that the persona and her father had a rather close relationship as he taught her many things. One of the common language devices used is the use of repetition. The phrase “If you can” in the poem “If” is repeated numerous times and it shows that people should considering trying, also the phrase “How i miss my father” is repeated in “Poem at Thirty Nine” for emphasis it expresses clearly and simply the idea running through the poem. It is stated without spare words and this makes the feelings powerful.
Other language devices used in “Poem at Thirty Nine” is the use of similie “He cooked like a person dancing in a yoga meditation” this similie suggests that her father was both excited and at the same time completly absorbed at what he was doing when he cooked, and it also shows the theme of remembrance as it reminds her of what he looked like when he was cooking.
The poem “If’ conveys the parent child relationship by belief as the persona says “you’ll be a man one day my son” this shows that if his son “blew the yards” he’ll become a man. Rudyard Kipling shows caring and love which shows that he cares for his to follow these admires. The persona wants to encourage his son by saying “with sixty seconds woorth of distance run!”
Kipling uses wise words to remain humble, avoid extremes and enjoy the joys of life at every oppurtunity. His attitude changed since he has lost his son from the first world war. ” and not make dreams your master” which means that he didnt want a dream to control his son and destroy him in a way or another.
The tone of “Poem at Thirty Nine” is very touching and inspiring and this is conveyed in the phrases “How i miss my father … he taught me” however the poem “If” has a very serious well thought through, inspirational and provoking tone which reflects on how the father is ordering his son to do many things so he can become a man.
“Once Upon a Time” by Gabriel Okara a nigerian poet born in 1921 whos highly original and uninfluenced by other poets, hes extremly succesful in capturing moods, sights and sounds in Africa. This poem shows great sensitivty, perceptive judgements and a tremondous energy, hes concerned about his ancient african culture because he has been westernized and the people he has dealt with are dishonest and two faced. Howerver the poem “Catrin” by Gillian Clarke is about how the mom looses the link between her and her daughter when the umbilical chord is cut and this makes her feel that both of these poems arent quite the same but are still concerned about their children.
In the poem “Once Upon a Time” Gabriel Okara has went back to nigeria and feels different beacause the people are carefree and arent two faced, so he asks his son to teach him to be like an innocent child “son i want to be what i used to be when i was like you” this shows that the persona is seeking help from his son who hasnt been westernizes.
Gillian Clarkes poem “Catrin” shows how the mother loves her daughter so much that she could feel the umbilical chord being cut, she describes it as “The tight red rope of love” the words red rope is an alliteration but also the colour red symbolises love and passion and this explains that the mother doesnt want to give birth because of the umbilical chord that ties them together.
The structure of “Once Upon a time” compared to “Catrin” is divided into seven stanzas however “Catrin” is free verse. The poem “Once Upon a time” doesnt have a certain style and the words dont have any rhyme although the poem “Catrin” by Gillian Clarke is written in ABAB style which shows that there are rhyming words such as ” I can remember you child” in the first line then the second says “As i stood in a hot, white room at the window … the traffic light”, the wors “white” and “light” are the words which are rhyming.
The compasrison between “once upon a time” and “Catrin” is written in free verse it still has hidden stanzas the first stanza and the second stanza are in the past tense, the poem conveys in these stanzas that the struggle between both the mom and the daughter is enduring and that the feelings are intense and this is expressed using simple language. “Once Upon a Time” doesnt have different meanings and messages to each paragraph.
The poem ” once upon a time” uses many language devices and the most one used in the poem is the use of repetition the most meaningful one is the phrase ” Once Upon a Time” this phrase has very powerful meaning because its also used as the title of the poem, it also reflects on how the father used to be a normal and natural natural person but now hes changed and became westernised. Theres also one use of similies which is in the last stanza that read “so show me son, how to laugh; show me how i used to laugh and smile once upon a time when i was like you” this similie shows that the father wants his son to teach him to be natural rather than be the person he has become. This gives an effect of how unhappy he is of the persona he has become and his constant the effect of this phrase shows that Theres also a few compound words that are used which are “homeface, officeface, streetface, hostface and cocktailface”
The use of language techniques used in “Catrin” is so many there is assonance and alliteration in the phrase “with your straight, strong, long and brown hair” besides the use of assonance the expression “red rope of love” uses alliteration and has a metaphor which describes the umbilical chord.
The poem “once upon a time” has a various amount of language devices, such as the use of repition from the phrase “once upon a time” that starts ad ends the poem. Okara also uses similies in line twenty three till twenty four expressing “all their conforming smiles like a fixed portrait smile” another simili is also the phrase “most of all, i want to relearn how to laugh” this shows that people are very natural however he’s become an artifical person. There is also a methaphor applied in line five saying “ice block cold eyes.” This is also considered to be imagery because it describes that the western people including him show no feelings through their eyes and features and are more false than natural.
In Gabriel Okara’s poem theres a phrase that reads “feel at home! Come again.” This is sarcasm however he was used to people saying this when they acctually mean it rather than being politer and not meaning it in westernised countries. Theres also another use of sarcasm in the poem “glad to meet you” and this is also said but not meant now the poet finds himself regretting that he has found himself adapting these insincere social convetions of the weak. He named all these insincere social conventions “muting things” things that silence his true personality.
In the poem “Once upon a time”Okara structures the poem into 7 stanzas,however the poem doesn’t use ABAB or AABB structure at all,it’s completely a free verse however the poem “Catrin” is 2 stanzas and is structured to rhyme like AABB. This is conveyed using “window watching … and cars taking”
The poem “digging” by Seamus Heaney conveys the parent child relationship as the parent teaches the child even though he didnt follow his dads traditional job as a farmer. His situation in this poem is that he has so many memories which brings them out through writing.
The poem ” follower” by Seamus Heaney also convey the same theme as “Once Upon a Time” because the father wants his son to teach him. His father used to be a plougher “today its my father who keeps stumbling back behind me and will not go away “this shows how much Heaneys father wants to be like him because he’s loosing his skills thtis poem also evokes visiousness and also a different kind of love, different kind of love that means theres always a different type of love for your partner, bestfriend and parents and family their all different. In the poem the roles and responsibilities change at the end.
The poem “follower” Seamus Heaney also conveys the same theme as “once upon a time” because the father wants his son to tach him. His father used to be a plougher “today its my father who keeps stumbling back behind me, and will not go away” this shows how much heaneys father wants to be like him because he’s loosing all his skills.
The poem “Digging” is structured into nine stanzas which are all free verse, the poem also uses AABB however in Heaneys other poem “Follower” he structures the poem into six stanzas which each have four lines exactly he also uses ABAB. Examples of the phrase the poet uses in “Digging” is “a clean rasping sound. When the spade sinks into the gravely ground” the words used are “sound” and “ground” however in the poem “Follower” he uses “full sail strung … his clicking tongue” strung and tongue are the rhuyming words.
There are many languages devices used in the poem “Digging” by seamus Heaney is the use of similies and assonance ,which is used in one phrase “snug as a gun” which gives a meaning that he feels pain for the past 20 years he has spent farming.Alliteration is used in stanza 6 “Nicking … neatly” these two words both have the same letters at the beginning . “Between my fingers and my thumb the squat pen tests dig with it ” this metaphor shows that instead of Seamus digging potatoes he will dig pens meaning he will become a writer.The word “digging” is also repeated several times.
In the poem”follower” by Seamus Heaney the language techniques used are very accurate like the technical agriculture terms as shown in this phrase “The shafts and the furrow” which have a strong effect that is vivid and also gives a powerful description that captures imagery . Another effective technique is onomatopoeia “yapping ,clicking tongue” this also captures imagery , the “clicking” of the phrase gives a strong effect for the sound and movement. Also another device used in the poem is the effective alliterationt through its parts especially the first stanza “shoulders sail strung shafts strained”.
To conclude the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling is very inspirational because Kipling is not only convincing his son to be a man but also how to become one, “if you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is earth and everything thats in it.” This is quite motivational and heart throbbing because his son is becoming a man. “you’ll be a man my son”. The second poem “Poem at Thirty Nine” shows how much a family is worth because Alice Walker misses how her dad used to gather the whole family and cook for them. “How i miss my father cooking like a person in a yoga meditation”. The third poem is “Once upon a Time” demonstrates me a very interesting point that parents can be taught by their children because there is a balanced level in the personality when they reach a certain age.
“I want to relearn how to laugh” The poem “Catrin” also shows that loosing a link between a child is painful and is the first trip of a mom. The poem “digging” shows that there’s a lot of hard work but that children also don’t always follow their parent’s traditions and Seamus Heaney becoming a writer instead of being a farmer conveys this here. “Follower” also conveys that people change because Heaney used to follow his father in the farm but now that his father has grown sand lost his skills he’s following his own son Seamus. Moral of all these poems is that they all use parent child relationships and show that they change or become missed or make a historical manly move.