The other protagonist in the poem is the poet. The poet is in complete awe of his father from the beginning of the poem as he considers hi father’s profession to be one of honor as it benefits other people. The poet is saddened by the fact that his profession can be of no such use to the rest of the world and he cannot contribute to others in the same way his father does. He says, “I have watched the other save no one, serve no one, dance with this pencil.” The poet is also in awe of how his father takes decision without any hesitation. The poet, on the other hand, is very indecisive as he says, “I curse tonight the other hand, whose indecisions keep me cursing nightly.” The poet feels the need to do service to others just like the way his father does and hence, wishes to pay a tribute to his father by writing a literary piece for him. This is evident as the poet says, “Hand you may have a chance to stitch a life for fingers that have stitched new life for many.” The poet constantly compares his capabilities with his father. . It is as if he puts his father on a pedestal and hero-worships him.
The poem is fast paced. From the beginning of the poem there is a feel of movement and energy as the father works in his study. Movement is also brought about by the use of the mention of the words “intricate dance” and “dance with this pencil”. The poet says that the speed at which his father’s hand was moving was fast. The poem concludes with the father dropping his pencil, and leaving for work. It is as if there is no break in the flow of movement in the passage.
The author uses metaphors throughout the poem to compare his father’s and his own capabilities to their hands. He feels that although his father and his own hands are physically similar, they have very different capabilities. At a deeper level, he means to ay that his father and he have very different professions and talents. He says, “who would have thought hands so alike-spade palms, blunt fingers short in the joint-would have no more in common.” The author uses the metaphor of “hands” to effectively bring out the contrast between his father and him as he mentions that his father’s hands work fast while his work slowly, indicating how devoted his father is to his work. He uses a personification at the end of the poem to compare the hand to a person whom he addresses. He tells the hand to pay a tribute to his father and do him good just like his father has done so much good for others. Since hands are capable of stitching cloth, he requests his hands to “stitch a life” for his father.
The title “two hands” is very significant because it represent hands which are similar in the physical aspect, but very different I abilities. One hand does service to others by operating on people, while the other does service to others by presenting them with literary works to appreciate. At first glance, it is possible that a reader can assume he “two hands” to be hands of the same person, however it is ironic that it’s not.
The basic message which is brought about through the poem is that all professions benefit a person in some way or another. Although the poet thought that his profession wasn’t as great as his father’s, he too did a service to mankind by creating literary work which the world can appreciate. Every individual has different capabilities and it is foolish to compare them with another as we each have our own talents. Another important message which is given through this poem is that everyone should try and contribute to mankind by doing service to others while doing their profession.