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Compare parents in "On My First Sonne" and "The Affliction of Margaret" with two other poems by Heaney and Clarke.

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Introduction

In the poems "On My First Sonne", "The Affliction of Margaret", "Catrin" and "Follower", the parents are presented differently and yet all similar in some ways. In "On My First Sonne", the poet -or the parent- conveys his love in an unusual way. He sees the 'sine' of loving his son too much as the cause of his son's death, and as a punishment, he has to repay him back to God because to Jonson, his son is only a loan. To a modern audience, it may seem a little harsh. However, it would be the norm in the 1600's, when the society was deeply religious and losing a child was a common thing. Despite this, the poet considers his son his 'right hand' and 'his best piece of poetrie', both of which are metaphors of his son. This shows us that his son was of a great worth, and Jonson has simply learnt that 'why will man lament the state he should envie?' ...read more.

Middle

In the first stanza, the poet is writing from memory and the repetition of 'I can remember you' suggest that it is a very strong memory. The poet was already at a 'fierce confrontation' with her daughter even before she was born, which is a presetting for their conflict later on. 'Tight red rope', 'wild' and 'shouted' creates a striking image of conflict and chaos, although through 'tender', we can also see the affection of the mother for her daughter. The 'tight red rope' is a metaphor for the umbilical cord which ties mother and daughter together. This metaphor is repeated in the second stanza as 'that old rope', suggesting that although they are separated physically after birth, there is still an invisible bond that ties them together. The clear gap between the two stanzas shows this separation, and it also indicates the past from the present. Although they are at conflict with each other, the mother is torn between love and hostility. ...read more.

Conclusion

Effectively, their roles are now reversed. One thing that is common with "The Affliction of Margaret" and "Follower" is the formality of the tone of which the parent writes about their child. This can be shown through the way which the poems are similarly structured: both poems have a set number of lines within each stanza, and each line mostly ends with punctuation. When structure this way, the poem gives off a very rigid and organised feel, which in turn sounds formal. "On My First Sonne" and "Catrin", however, is similar to the previous two in terms of the overall tone of the poem, but different in structure. "On My First Sonne" is written like an inscription on a tombstone, shown by 'here doth lye'. "Catrin" is different because its irregular line endings and stanzas is also a symbol of conflict between parent and child, which the other three poems' structure does not symbolise. However different the parents in all four poems may be, they all love their children, and are saddened when the children no longer has dependency on the parents. ...read more.

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