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In this piece of writing I will be looking at "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" by Maya Angelou and "Light Shining Out of Darkness" by William Cowper. Both poems are examples, showing attitudes towards facing difficulties.

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Rory Turner 10S 25/02/2002 There are several different attitudes to facing difficulties in the poems in this section, compare two or three of these. In this piece of writing I will be looking at "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" by Maya Angelou and "Light Shining Out of Darkness" by William Cowper. Both poems are examples, showing attitudes towards facing difficulties. In particular, "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" relates to the fears of young children and how they try to deal with it. "Light Shining Out Through Darkness" on the other hand deals with people's attitudes towards religion. Firstly I will look at "Life Doesn't Frighten Me". In this poem Maya Angelou uses various techniques to convey the feeling that it is from the point of view of a child and that it is in particular in the voice of a child. From the first stanza it is looks as though the difficulties being faced are in the form of a list and that there are a lot of them. In the first stanza each of the difficulties faced aren't physical. The "barking dogs" and "noises down the hall" are both things you can here but that can't harm you. The danger from ghosts and "shadows on the wall" can only be seen in the mind and are again of no harm. ...read more.


Meanwhile the diction contained within the list of fears is also extremely simplistic and childish. They are typical words of a young person and are very simply strung together. In particular words like "boo" and "shoo" in lines thirteen and fourteen, together with adjectives such as "big" and "bad" are very childish. Just as there are no complicated words and there are no complicated uses of language such as metaphors or similes. Although this could be through lack of knowledge, it could also be interpreted as an act of defiance against thinking up such language. With these various uses of language, diction and layout, a sense of desperately trying to convince the reader that the author really isn't afraid. However because of the way in which the fears and how she deals with it, the reader isn't convinced. The second poem, "Light Shining Out Through Darkness" by William Cowper was written in the eighteenth century and refers to people's attitudes towards religion and God, which were a top topic of conversation at the time. Therefore the difficulties shown in the poem are about the concept of believing in God. Cowper describes the difficulties people have with believing in God and religion. One way of saying that God doesn't exist is that there is no proof that he is there. ...read more.


Another example is in lines nineteen and twenty, "the bud may have a bitter taste but sweet will be the flower". Here the flower starts of bitter but the sweetness and beauty comes through in the end. Both poems are trying to put across a view on how to face difficulties, but you can notice differences between them. One such difference is the mood of them. When reading "Life Doesn't Frighten Me", you get the feeling that the author is trying desperately hard to convince the reader that she isn't afraid. "Light Shining Out of Darkness" however has different mood as you feel as though it is only an opinion or a point of view and that he is not trying to sell his ideas to the reader. If Cowper had tried to sell or convince the reader of his beliefs of God, instead of presenting them, then it would feel intrusive. "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" doesn't feel intrusive even though it is trying to sell an idea and this is because it is written from the point of view of a child. Having read both the poems you feel that you have been told two different things. "Life Doesn't Frighten Me" concerns childish fears and everyone can relate to them. Most can also relate with the problems to do with religious beliefs. I feel that they relate well to their intended purpose and the techniques of language, tone and diction emphasise these. ...read more.

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