Compare the ways parent/child relationships are represented in Before You Were Mine by Carol Ann Duffy and three other poems, one by Simon Armitage and any two from the Pre-1914 Poetry Bank.
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Sample Essay - Parent/Child Relationship Compare the ways parent/child relationships are represented in 'Before You Were Mine' by Carol Ann Duffy and three other poems, one by Simon Armitage and any two from the Pre-1914 Poetry Bank. The relationship between a parent and a child can bring about any of a range of emotions. In 'The Affliction of Margaret', we see a parent's desperation at not hearing from her missing son in seven years, while in 'On my first Sonne', the poet bids farewell to his dead son. In 'Before You Were Mine', the poet describes the effect her own birth had on the lifestyle of her mother, whereas 'My father thought it bloody queer' describes a strained relationship between father and son. The differing structures of the poems affect their impact. Wordsworth's structure for 'The Affliction of Margaret' consists of eleven verses of seven lines each, one for each year her son has been missing.
There are three verses, each with a different number of lines, and there is no regular rhyme scheme. As in 'The Affliction of Margaret' and 'Before You Were Mine', the effect of the verses is to separate the different ideas about the relationship between parent and child in the poem - the first verse describes his father's reaction to the earring, the second goes back to when he had his ear pierced, and the third describes how he now finds himself saying the same things as his father. Each poet uses a different style of language to describe the parent/child relationship. In 'The Affliction of Margaret', there is a confused, obsessive style of language. Margaret often contradicts herself: "Neglect mel no I suffer long / from that ill thought". This shows her desperate state of mind. The language in 'On my first Sonne' is gentler and calmer. Jonson wants his son to "Rest in soft peace", and this expresses his tenderness towards his son and his acceptance that he has lost him.
Feelings about parent/child relationship in the post-1914 poems are less clear cut. In 2Before You Were Mine', the poet admires her mother's rebellious life before she was born: she calls her "Marilyn", which shows she sees her as glamorous. However, the poet seems to think her own birth deprived her mother of this exciting life, forcing her to be responsible. In 'My Father', the parent/child relationship is strained, as the father mocks the child for his attempt at rebellion. Now he has grown up, the poet finds himself saying the same things as his father, but we can see that the memory of his father's reaction still hurts, as he describes "my own voice breaking like a tear". All four of these poems take an interesting angle on the trials and tribulations of parent/child relationships. I feel that the most affecting is 'On my first Sonne'. I find this poem very moving, as Jonson bids a fond farewell to his son. He describes his son as his "best piece of poetrie", and I feel this is a beautiful way of showing the pride he had in his child.
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