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With Close reference to at least two poems, examine how the poets have explored the theme of parent-child separation.

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Introduction

With Close reference to at least two poems, examine how the poets have explored the theme of parent-child separation. In your response you should deal with * The contexts of the poems. * The contrasts and similarities in the poet's methods and approaches. * The use of language. * You personal reaction to the poems including your preference. Many poems have been written on the basic theme of parent-child separation. I have chosen to write about two poems. The first of these is "The Slave Mother" written by Frances E.W. Harper, written in the mid 1800's. It explores the idea of a black slave mother having her son stolen from her. The second poem I will study is "Walking Away" by C. Day Lewis. Both show the difficulties of Parent-Child separation. However "The Slave Mother" is much more violent and disturbing as oppose to "Walking Away" where there is no mention of violence at all. Frances E. W Harper wrote "The Slave Mother" at a time when blacks were being severely discriminated against. Society and American Law at the time promoted slavery. She was orphaned as a child and therefore has some background on parent-child separation as, similarly to "Walking Away", it is an experience she has gone through. ...read more.

Middle

It also seems as though the speaker is further away from the incident than in the last verse when they are telling the reader what has happened. In the first verse the poet conveys the mothers anguish by the way she describes the shriek rising "wildly" in the air. The world wildly emphasising the pain through the piercing sound "Walking Away" begins with 'eighteen years ago' showing the father is deep in thought reflecting back. The words "almost to the day" show how significant it was- that he can remember the exact day. The naturalness of the event is described by comparing it to nature itself - "leaves just turning"- as nature is changing the son will too. Lewis also remembers the few seconds when he lost sight of his son many years ago during a football game and now he is reflecting back on that time which is similar to the events now. However this time it is long-term. He is trying to understand why nature gives us children but is natural that they move away form us. We can see this form the line "about natures give-and-take". Lewis says that he has had "worse partings but none that gnaws at my mind still". ...read more.

Conclusion

being the opening line. The speaker in "The Slave Mother" seems to be a by-stander at this shocking incident. They are not a reporter on this but are empathising with the mother. In "Walking Away" the speaker is very much a part of the poem, whereas the reader is not involved to they same extent as they are in "The Slave Mother". We can see that the speaker is involved in "Walking Away" through Lewis' repetitive use of the word "I" Both "The Slave Mother" and "Walking Away" are scattered with a series of image references, to get across clearer this separation that is taking place. In "The Slave Mother" all the natural images such as "storm of agony" and "life's desert wild" show the relationship between the mother and child. I think the way they are expressed with such sorrow shows how strong the bond is. Many of the image references are about the same thing compared to "Walking Away" where they are slightly different each time. The poet has used these image references to make us feel more empathy for the mother at this heartbreaking time and so the separation will have more effect on us and Harpers listeners at her lectures. It also makes it all the more shocking for listeners and therefore would be a good way for Harper to get her point across. ...read more.

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