I am looking at the above so that I can view a wide range of poems on a similar theme. This theme being the way in which childhood experiences can be an influence on the journey into adulthood. As I am looking at two different poets I can find similarities and patterns in the way the stories are told and possibly correlate this with the wide range of grammatical terms. I hope to be able to find out how the poets use the influence of childhood experiences to further promote their story line.
The Early Purges is a story depicting the realisation of the facts of life in the needs of the surroundings. It starts with Heaney just as a child watching the horrific acts of Dan Taggart towards the pups, and flows through to the point in which Heaney himself realises that the ” pests” must be kept down, and his views are now permanently changed as of this. It is in the 1st person narrative with evidence of his life being shown before him. I noticed that in this poem there are some vivid quotes that I feel emphasise it’s meaning. Soft paws scraping like mad” Representing the ‘soft’ helplessness of the poor little pups, they ‘scrape’ in utter desperation for life as to exist beyond tomorrow.
” Slung on the snout” To be ‘slung’ as if not worth anything, and on their ‘snout’ which alone is a very harsh, ugly word for their cute noses. I think that this is trying to portray them as being ‘unwanted pests’. ” The scraggy wee shits” This quote refers to them as ‘scraggy’ or scruffy, ‘wee’ small, ‘shits’ which probably doesn’t need more explanation, and again generally states that they are powerless, and destined to die.
A frail metal sound” The noise made from when they impact into the bucket, ‘frail’ suggests that their limp lifeless bodies have been simply tossed away, with no decency or consideration. These very visual quotations help me to visualise what is going on and it is done to enable the reader to become more emotionally attached to the poem. ” Talk cuts ice in town” It’s not easy to cut ice representing that this new ” prevention of cruelty”. Its not just ‘nonsense’, but powerful ‘nonsense’ and the talk has striking effects upon the local inhabitancy.
This whole new understanding of new rules and regulations from an ‘outsiders’ source is not meant for the local establishment. Which only further backs up Dan’s explanation for his desperate acts. As a child he learns that it is vital to manage a farm with precision and it sticks with him, which is shown ” I just shrug, ‘Bloody pups’, it makes sense”. This whole adventure for him has been a harsh learning experience, and he referred to ” the fear came back” when he saw Dan’s ‘tasks’ at work, which I believe is showing that he has not immediately been reformed in views, but simply exposed to a different set, very quickly and cruelly!
Then, again this happens, but later after he ‘grows up’ to the facts of life, he simply looks at this experience and says, ” Still, living displaces false sentiments”. The Sick Equation on the other hand is written by Brian Patten and published in 1996, it was dedicated to the memory of his mother, and like many of his other poems, is about his childhood. Here, he considers the effect his parents’ marriage had on him. There is a little boy in a troubled household, he witnesses the family troubles.
His parents argue all the time at home, and he throws away loads of gifts. He tries to unload his grief onto others and later realises this. ” In school I learned that one and one made two” A fundamental mathematical principle that was picked up by him and later used as a contradiction to his parents marriage. ” I crushed all its messengers” He felt angered at the fact of not having love, and ” threw away so many gifts” in rebellion against ‘false love’, I believe that the messengers are people offering their sympathy towards him.
The shadow of that albatross – divorce,” The ‘albatross’ also associated with Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner as being a symbol of good luck, yet when he took the birds life, everything around him became bad. ” In their sick equation not stay caught” Now realising that the message passed by his parents, that ‘flight’ and happiness can never be just and successful, was wrong, so that he now feels he has symbolically released himself from this net of angst, to finally fly free!
His overcoming of ” The Sick Equation” as he refers to it, had taken him his whole life to awaken from, after being thrust into turmoil as a child. The awakening from this burden or ‘net’ was only found after he has taken notice into other peoples life’s’ and in particular, their marriages. Which seems ironic to this being the everlasting union between husband and wife, that went so sadly wrong in Patten’s parents’. He refers to flight; I interpret this as being the union in marriage and ‘living their lives’ to its full potential.
On the surface of ‘An Advancement of Learning’, he is trying to overcome his fears, yet ” As always deferring the bridge” – A young child is explorative, daring, adventurous, who wants to do something different and travel the route not often taken. He has become more aware, so that life is not all fun and games but there is an inherent danger – he has lost his childhood innocence, he may have conquered his fears but he has lost the relative exploration of ” what if? “
I can see that there are two main points to this poem, the picture the is being painted of the situation are: Tranquil and beautiful Yet Dangerous and frightful. Symbolisation is used quite often to show for example, ” Away from any road” away from safety and knowledge, and in to danger. A war term, ” Bridgehead” which is interesting to find in a mere situation of facing one’s fears, yet can we say that this fear could be looked upon as an enemy?! I presume that this is the initial meaning, which the poet intended the reader to refer to and assimilate. Insidiously listening” – not just a dumb animal but a sign of intelligent and sinuousness.
The third stanza has lots of alliteration, which represents the situation. This is used to enhance the message and make us see the image of the rat more immensely, ” A rat slimed out of the water,” the change into a verb depicts it more so. The fourth stanza shows he is very afraid, ” he turns and sees another rat”, and fear increases ” incredibly” then he ” bridgehead” or encountered the rat. The movement of the rat is ‘clockwork’.
He seems to initially conquer the rat, yet below the surface of poem, I can see that there is a hidden message of how ‘Nature represents man that has effected the environment, hence friction between man and nature. ‘ Crossing the bridge finishes the poem, as he goes over his fears. Was he really victorious? I believe so as he now refers to it with different light, and the new detail ” a small clawed” which is not threatening shows this different approach to it. In answer to my question: How do the poets present Childhood Experiences as being an influence on the journey into Adulthood?
I have found the following: A frequent theme is how these experiences affect us; how apparently trivial moments can change entirely the way we look at the world. They all have a fundamental principle in common; this is that they are written in the first person narrative. I believe that this is important to this type of poem, as it is telling their story, and how this story of conflicting views of life are changed during the poems. They were all also thrust into unwanted situations, which did change their perspective views on life.
Only later either realising the truth or just the truth based upon the situation that they were in! Also I have found that they have so many different interpretations and understanding, these being on various levels that the poet depicts in his or her own story. I can see the basic fundamental level as I read through the poems and get the ‘gist’ and meaning of it. Then I re- read and attain its subliminal messages. These can often be hidden in the use of metaphors, alliteration, and various bi-meaningful words, with alternative meaning and messages.
All the poems are written in the 1st person narrative with evidence of his life being shown before him. This helps to create a good basis on which to understand the poem. Childhood is a very significant time in our lives, not only is it our prime of youth, but it also holds the key to how we will develop and ‘turn out’ later on in life, from looking at these poems I have found that this stage has to be carefully monitored, as views picked up at this time of life can alter your depiction of life, hence altering ones’ beliefs and understandings.