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In order to explore the theme of parent child separation I have selected two poems for further consideration. The first being "The Slave Mother" written by Frances E W Harper and the second "Walking Away" by C Day Lewis.

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Introduction

English Coursework: Poetry In order to explore the theme of parent child separation I have selected two poems for further consideration. The first being "The Slave Mother" written by Frances E W Harper and the second "Walking Away" by C Day Lewis. Although these two poems follow the same theme, which is parent child separation, they are very different because one of the poems, "Walking Away," has a very gradual natural separation and "The Slave Mother" has a very brutal quick unnatural separation. "The Slave Mother"- Frances E W Harper (1825-1911) was a black woman who wrote the first novel to be published by an Afro-American woman. Harper was very young when her parents died and at this stage slavery in America had not been abolished. Frances Harper was brought up by relatives who were heavily involved in the Anti-slavery movement and women's rights. As she grew older she was renowned for her speeches for the women's rights campaign and the abolition of slavery. She used her own poems in her speeches to emphasise a point and this was usually the highlight of her speech. This is known as polemical writing. "The Slave Mother" tells us the story of a black mother and her son. In the times which the poem was written slavery was common among black people although Harper herself was born into a free household. ...read more.

Middle

The repetition of the paradox emphasises how much parent child separation is going against nature, as well as showing the trauma that this child and his mother are suffering. In the next verse there is a metaphor used to describe the mother's life. "a fountain gushing ever new Amids life desert wild. I think the use of the metaphor is used to describe how much the mother needs her boy just as we would need water to survive in the desert. The last few verses of the poem are very emotional. They are all about the mother's love for her son. There are many metaphors in these verses. For example "his lightest word has been a tone Of music round her heart, Their lives a streamlet bent in one Oh, Father! Must they part? In this verse I thought the metaphor "their lives a streamlet bent in one" was a very moving sentence. This depicts the mother and the son's raw emotions and that their thinking pattern is along the same line as the mothers. This would be another phrase, which emphasises how unnatural the separation between them has been. The very last verse of the poem is an extremely reflective verse. It also echoes the first verse and many of the same words and phrases are used. For example- "heard you that shriek? It rose so wildly in the air, it seem'd as if a burden'd heart was breaking in despair. ...read more.

Conclusion

The next verse we see the phrase "eddying away" and then the simile "like a winged seed loosened from its parents stem." Eddying away is another phrase used to describe the gradual separation between the Father and son. Another comment on how slow the separation the use of the simile "like a winged seed loosened from its parents stem." The verse also mentions how nature gives and takes. I liked this because it uses the word nature as opposed to "The Slave Mother" where everything is unnatural. In the next verse C Day Lewis " I have had worse partings, but none that so Gnaws my mind still." My interpretation of this is that he had lost people through death but this one although it wasn't through death it has been the hardest to cope with. Then in the last two lines of the stanza C. Day Lewis says, "selfhood begins with a walking away and the love is proved in the letting go." I thought these lines were very emotional for the poet because he is saying that his boy will begin his own life and the father shows his love even though it is difficult to let go. After reading the two poems and writing this essay the one I prefer is "Walking Away". I found it quite easy to understand and the phrasing used was very genuine and heart felt. The poet conveys very skilfully his great depth of emotions and feelings as a result of separation from his son. ...read more.

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