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Describe the common themes that appear in 'Hide and Seek' and 'Half-past two'

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Introduction

Describe the common themes that appear in 'Hide and Seek' and 'Half-past two' 'Hide and seek' by Vernon Scannell is about a young, excitable infant playing the childhood game of hide and seek. It begins by revealing the juvenile excitement experienced by a child when playing a game - 'Call out. Call loud: I'm ready! Come and find me!' Through the poets use of exclamation marks we can see the child's joy at partaking in the game. It is exhilarating and fun time for the child, but it is also very competitive. The manner in which he hides shows this competitiveness; he meticulously hides under dirty sacking in the garden shed and makes sure that his feet aren't 'sticking out' . Also when his friends are seeking him, they are portrayed as 'prowling in', and 'whispering at the door'. This further intensifies the degree of competitiveness within the game. However he is determined to win the game, and after a lengthy space of time he thinks, 'It is time to let them know that you're the winner'. ...read more.

Middle

However, the words 'half-past two' are meaningless to the boy because 'She hadn't taught him Time', and he was too scared to remind her of that. The boy is always respectful towards the teacher, and their social difference is exaggerated by the capital letter at the beginning of the word 'She'. The teacher is perceived as a god-like figure to the boy, who has no power or say in any of her imperatives. The unfortunate boy has no comprehension of time and therefore 'half-past two' is double-dutch to him. The boy's definition of time comes from aspects of his own family life - 'Timeformykisstime', 'Gettinguptime' and 'TVtime'. The child, although not pre-linguistic, is not practiced in the use of regular time and hence must use time by thinking of things connected with it. His compound 'time-words' shows his inability to associate with the 'alien' abstract time that the adults in his environment repeatedly use. As a result, he does not know when it is time for him to leave the schoolroom to return home. ...read more.

Conclusion

Isolation is a key element in 'Half-past two' because the child in question is forgotten about in detention and he begins to reverie in his own world. It is a more commanding theme in 'Hide and Seek' because of the harsh nature in which the boy is abandoned. One of the most foremost similarities in themes between the two poems is that they both concentrate profoundly on greater social forces. This is seen by the use of the words 'She' in 'Half-past two' and 'They' in 'Hide and Seek'. The boy in 'Half-past two' is completely controlled by his authoritative teacher; and one may argue that the 'prowling' and 'whispering' are quite threatening thus causing the boy to hide because of his fear of society, not simply because he is playing a game. Time is a comparable theme explored in both poems, but more so in 'Half-past two'. In 'Hide and Seek', time symbolically passes to show the transition of friendship to loneliness; and 'Hide and Seek' discusses how the world is restrained by the limits of time. ...read more.

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