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Compare the three poems in Section I, Childhood, and explain how clearly you think they illustrate some of the problems of being a child

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Introduction

English Literature Poetry Coursework Compare the three poems in Section I, Childhood, and explain how clearly you think they illustrate some of the problems of being a child. The poems 'Half-past two', 'Piano' and 'My parents kept me away from Children who were Rough' are all about the theme childhood. Of the three, 'My parents kept me away from Children who were Rough' explored the problems of being a child very thoroughly, while the other two either left childhood problems unexplored, or conveyed it subtly. The poem 'My parents kept me away from Children who were Rough' illustrates various problems of being a child, that is first evident in the title. The words 'My parents' in the title reveals the subtle laying of blame on the narrator's parents, as they physically shielded the narrator from other boys. The phrase 'kept me' suggests a physical barrier between the narrator and the children, which they have sensed and later exploited. All the childhood problems conveyed by Stephen Spender in the poem stem from the over-protectiveness of the narrator's parents. By declaring the vulgarity and distaste of the children, who 'worn torn clothes' with 'their thighs showed through rags', the narrator's parents had successfully raised their child to a differentiated social class, which is essentially the reason why he is physically and mentally bullied. ...read more.

Middle

The emotive language throughout the poem marks its soft tone, manipulates the readers, and makes them unaware of the underlying childhood problems.The soft tone can first be noticed from the title. The word 'Piano' is ambiguous, signifying that it could have a double meaning, either indicating the physical object, or alluding to the tone of the poem as gentle and soft. Further use of emotive vocabularies like 'softly', 'vista' 'mother' and 'smiles' echoes the tenderness of the tone. After portraying a warm scenario in the first stanza of the poem, D.H. Lawrence dwells on a problem, although not one faced in childhood. Here the soft tone is contradicted by the use of emotively negative language, specifically 'insidious' and 'weeps', the contradiction further advanced by the use of alliteration of harsh 'B' sounds in the phrase 'Betrays me back'. The poem as a whole, with a first-person narrator, provides access to the subject's secret thoughts, and succeeded in communicating to the reader about him feeling less masculine for giving in to his wistful impulses. In other words, the poem 'Piano' leaves childhood problems unexplored, by only dealing with manhood problems in detail. ...read more.

Conclusion

By thinking in a different way, one could deduce that the child suffered from the neglect by his dismissive teacher, but the poem itself does not convey childhood problem in a very intelligible way. On the other hand In conclusion, the poem 'My Parents kept me away from Children who were Rough' conveys childhood problems in a coherent manner, followed by the poem 'Half-past Two' which attempts to communicate to the readers about childhood obstacles though in an indirect way, while the poem 'Piano' conveys nothing about childhood problems. The three poems are well written in their own ways, but the magnitude of which they explore the theme 'childhood problems' is quite different. This could be due to the differences in culture at the time when the poems were written. 'Piano' was composed in 1918, when the world was dominated by men and little attention was paid to the benefits and rights of children. This perhaps explains why D.H. Lawrence focused more on the man and the problems he encountered while spent little time dwelling on childhood problems. The other two poems 'Half-past Two' and 'My Parents kept me away from Children who were Rough' are relatively modern, which endeavoured to pay tributes to children in a situation where they are getting more important. ...read more.

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