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Analysis of Warning

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WARNING -Jenny Joseph Jenny Joseph is an English poet. Her poem "Warning" was identified as the UK's 'most popular post-war poem' in a 1996 poll by the BBC. This poem was written in 1961 and considered as the best of all her poems. The poem is popularly known by many titles including the actual title "Warning", as well as by "When I Am An Old Woman", "The Purple Poem", "I Shall Wear Purple", "Old woman" and other affectionate names. It is written from the point of view of middle-aged woman who yearns to throw off the cloak of respectability in her old age. For now, she must live the life of expected sobriety but, when she reaches old age she is determined to let respectability fly to the wind! ...read more.


She foresees the freedom of being old, when people will stop expecting her to behave in a responsible manner. The poem conveys both her excitement at her plans for growing old and her frustration at the way she is expected to behave now. The speaker dreams of all that she will do when she grows old, like spending frivolously on brandy, summer gloves and satin sandals instead of satisfying the essential needs. She wants to sit on pavements, gobble up samples in shops, press alarm bells, run the stick along the public railings and go out in slippers in the rain. She expresses her desire to pick flowers in other people's gardens, spit everywhere and fulfil her heart's desire without needing to be concerned about anybody or anything. ...read more.


Jenny Joseph deserves a big applause for her success in presenting old age as a positive experience. The poet writes this poem in free verse. In the first and the last stanzas the speaker presents her own longings and dreams with the use of 'I'. In the second stanza the persona addresses with the word 'you' to indicate that this problem is also pertaining to others who have reached middle age. In the third stanza, by using 'We', she points out the moral code every one is expected to follow in life. Though the poem sounds very simple, its fame increased rapidly. Many women's groups have been formed based on the theme of the poem. Some have even put on Plays about the poem and others have written related poetry about getting older joyfully. By: Abdurrhman Ahmed Al-Shimi ...read more.

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