• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Poetry combines words and structure to appeal to our senses: to make us feel - How does this statement apply to Louis Macneice's "Prayer Before Birth"?

Extracts from this document...


Poetry combines words and structure to appeal to our senses: to make us feel. How does this statement apply to Louis Macneice's "Prayer Before Birth"? It was once said that "poetry uses the best words in the best order." In many cases, poetry helps us associate the given situation with our life and feelings. "Prayer Before Birth", written by Louis Macneice during a time of conflict, uses various technical devices such as soaring stanzas, a progressing structure, chanting rhythm and confronting imagery to strengthen the message of the poem: corrupted and turbulent society we live today and the affected future generation. Throughout the poem, we find series of contrasting and confronting images that emphasizes the violence and the corrupt nature of humankind. "I am not yet born; O hear me". The idea of a baby looking for attention and care before it is born is very confronting to the "Blood baths", "Black racks" and "tall walls" that the "human race" provides. The use of these conflicting images and the baby pleading creates a powerful voice, with a sense of innocence that expose the reality we live in. In order reinforce this message; the poet uses juxtaposed imagery in stanzas two, three and four. ...read more.


It then needs rehearsing to be corrected and then it needs support to be "filled...with strength against those who would freeze my humanity". "I am not yet Born" is the statement made at the beginning of each stanza. This is used to intensify the message of the poem and it is used to reinforce the confronting emotions, since it indicates a child pleading before birth, before it could ever experience anything from this world. It is very persistent, because it appears at the beginning of each stanza. This stress the urgency for change in this world before is too late; before the baby is born. The verbs at the beginning of each stanza are imperative. This suggests the idea that the baby is giving orders to God to change this world of sin and provide the baby "water to dandle", "trees to grow" and a "white light". This stresses the fact that the poem is a prayer, as the title "prayer before Birth" suggest. This makes it confronting to the reader, since this "prayer" is not answered but is ignored and contradicted by this world of "treason", "murder" and "sins". ...read more.


Otherwise kill me". In the final stanza the unborn baby makes this ultimatum to force a change. The baby chooses to be "killed" rather than to be converted to a "stone." The word "stone" connotes a senseless being. "Spill me" is polysemous; it can mean two things, "spill" as in birth, since the waters "spill" in the womb when the baby is about to be born and "spill" as in spilling blood; killing. The baby decides to die pure and innocent rather than to live and be like a "cog in a machine" or a "lethal automaton" in this conflicting sinful world. "O fill me with strength against those who could freeze my humanity". Macneice makes good use of juxtaposed imagery, confronting imagery and swelling stanzas to convey the message of the poem. Macneice uses the image of a baby talking before it is born to make the reader understand the desires of human beings and to make us feel compassionate towards the future generation. The poet overshadows the benevolence and kindness in nature with the negative aspects of humanity. Although this poem does not have a particular audience, it is directed to everyone in general. This unborn child speaking this dramatic monologue could be any one of us. Karen Chang 9th GPL ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Abortion and other medical issues section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Abortion and other medical issues essays

  1. Reread Prayer Before Birth

    Rather, they seem to be used figuratively, as these creatures are associated with disease. They are also frequently the subject of children's nightmares. The use of "club-footed ghoul" especially is a strong use of imagery, as the word ghoul implies a diseased, flesh-eating and dismembered monster.

  2. An evaluation of Theatre Alibi's production of The Freeze.

    The bully doesn't seem to understand what she's says and often refers to her Dad as part of the insult; "My dad's seen them at it." Baby Jane is treated at times as a baby, like when Lawrence is talking to Mark about how to hold her and Mark think he will drop her; "No you won't.

  1. Abortion arguments and powerful images

    The doctor will use forceps, a curette and the electric pump to remove the contents. Prostaglandins are normally used from 15 weeks onwards, especially in NHS clinics. This is for late abortions. Prostaglandins are hormones and they are taken in drug form (injection or vaginal pessary through the cervix into the uterus or the abdomen)

  2. Using the literary and linguistic concepts and approaches of 'I Syng of a Mayden', ...

    Throughout the poem it shows references to Mary and baby Jesus, such as 'Kyng of alle Kynges' which has been mentioned in the Bible referring to Christ being more powerful than any King, 'He cam al so stylle' meaning he appeared in her womb as if like magic or 'As dew in Aprylle' as the poem suggests.

  1. Free essay

    Human growth and development-Conception to Birth

    Below is a month by month guide to how babies grow and develop up until the age of 1 year. * 0-1 months- babies express emotion mainly by crying, grimacing, or displaying a bright and alert face. Babies are very open to learning at around 3 to 6 weeks they develop different crying sounds for different needs e.g.

  2. child development

    The average length of a full term baby is about 50cm. Head Circumference The average head circumference of a full term baby is about 35cm. Swallowing and sucking reflexes When anything is put in the mouth, the baby immediately sucks and swallows some babies even make their fingers sore by sucking them while still in the uterus.

  1. If These Walls Could Talk - film review

    I think during this time period, even though abortions were legal, woman had limited access and much of society looked down on them. When Chris visited the abortion clinic the first time, there was a small group of praying protestors who harassed her and told her they could help her.

  2. A Heavenly Sent Birth.

    I picked the phone and before I could even mutter the words "hi dad," he told me "Great news, mom's in the hospital." I nearly threw the phone down in shock. What could have possibly happened to mom? And how could dad be so happy about it?

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work