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Section B: pre 1914 and post 1914 poetry.

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Introduction

Section B: pre 1914 and post 1914 poetry. 22. Compare the way the poets present family relationships in two poems from List A and two from List A. Family relationships are evident in many of the poems in the anthology, they are central to most people's lives, and the poems present how these relationships can change with age, and how they often fraught with conflict. I have decided to analyse: 'Digging' by Heaney, 'Baby-sitting' by Clarke, 'The Affliction of Margaret' (TAOM) by Wordsworth and 'On my first Sonne' (OMFS) by Jonson. In 'Digging', Heaney presents a relationship that spans three generations; the author, his father and his grandfather. The respect, admiration and love with which the young Heaney feels for his elders contrasts with the poet's admitted apathy and coldness towards an unrelated child in 'Baby-sitting': "I don't love / This baby". In 'TAOM', Wordsworth uses powerful imaginary to portray a mother's tormented anguish over her fragmented relationship with her son. ...read more.

Middle

He says, "I've no spade to follow men like them" as if he knows he lacks their strength and perseverance. "Once I carried him milk in a bottle / Corked sloppily with paper. He straightened up / To drink it, then fell to it right away." The phrase 'corked sloppily with paper' suggests that the author feels inadequate, he brings refreshment but his father is so absorbed with his task that he only pauses briefly to drink, unaware of the boy's presence. By the end of the poem, Heaney feels more triumphant and hopes to gain the same pride and sense of worth with the use of a pen as previous generations did with a spade; "The squat pen rests. / I'll dig with it." The poem ends with this emotional phrase as the poet reconciles himself by drawing similarities from the pen and the spade. Similarly, 'TAOM' and 'OMFS' are poems in which the protagonist idolises a family member. ...read more.

Conclusion

The poem is written as though Jonson is talking directly to his son: "tho'wert lent to me, and I thee pay". This is a very personal sentiment, and the reader really feels how close he and his son were, as though the poem is intended to be his child's eulogy. Jonson also uses language found usually on gravestones, for example: "here doth lye"; this enforces the fact that the poet is writing a speech in praise and tribute of his recently deceased child. A poem which depicts a dysfunctional, 'abnormal' parent/child relationship, is 'Baby-sitting'; in the poem, Clarke skilfully uses language to present her feelings as a mother looking after someone else's child, in a house which isn't hers. Clarke almost sounds emotionless at times, and describes the baby in an uncaring, business-like way: "She is a perfectly acceptable child." She feels detached from the girl and seems to see her as an object and an inconvenience, rather than a human. Clarke even uses the recurring semantic field of witchcraft with phrases like: "enchant" and "familiar", to suggest that the child is otherworldly. ...read more.

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