Warning by Jenny Joseph and On Ageing by Maya Angelou
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Warning by Jenny Joseph and On Ageing by Maya Angelou Warning by jenny joseph is a humorous way of looking towards old age. It is written as a monologue within which the poet describes how she will behave when she is an old woman. In The first stanza she talks about herself and lists all the things she will do when she is old. She says she will wear the colours purple and red which are significant in the fact that they are bright garish colours. The two colours clash with each other and would not be put together by someone who cares about keeping up their appearance. One of the main themes to this poem is the idea of rebelling against the way society expects you to behave and the idea of not conforming therefore she decides to deliberately make a statement with her appearance by wearing clashing colours to show rebellion against the idea of everyone looking the same- everyone conforming. This idea of rebellion is further emphasised when she says "I shall spend my pension on brandy... and say we've no money for butter". She has decided that she is going to be deliberately difficult and irresponsible.
The list like form to the poem now reverts to a complaint opposed to a positive proposal for the future. The word "we" suggests a collective term for everyone and for shared responsibility showing that whilst young it is essential to keep up appearances and to carry out your responsibilities to society which she is unhappy about. However in the last stanza she says " but maybe I ought to practise now" this yet again changes the tone to the poem and also the pace, she is now thoughtful as the rebellious mischievous tone returns and she considers breaking the rules of society right now. This ends the poem positively with the sense of hope and excitement. On ageing my maya angelou also looks at the process of ageing. However in her poem she doesn't look at old age as a change instead she makes the point that the person behind the ageing exterior is still the same person they always were, she is making the point that she does not want people to treat her differently now she is older because she is still the same person she always was- she doesn't want people to pity her.
This saddens the reader because it gives the impression of this young mind being trapped inside an old body unable to do the things she wants it do- showing the misery of old age which is a direct contrast to the views of Joseph who has the opposite view of old age being a time for freedom and to break out of the prison of societies rules. However Angelou does finish with positivity and determination " but aint I lucky I can still breathe in" she doesn't use a question mark which allows her to ask a question that makes the reader think whilst making a positive statement- it is the mind not the body that is important. The ageing person still has a spirit and a mind, they are still alive and therefore still fully human and just as important as they were when they were young. Both poems address the concept of old age. joseph has not yet reached old age but talks in positive anticipation of the freedom from society she feels old age will provide her. Whilst in On Ageing Angelou has reached old age and is expressing her upset at the fact that when people look at her they don't see past the ageing exterior to see the spirit and person she really is.
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