Nettles And Born Yesterday Essay

836 words - 4 pages

In Nettles, the speaker is a father who demonstrates parental love for a young child through his protective thoughts and actions. The poem demonstrates that parents must accept that even though they love their children, they cannot protect them from all pain. As in Nettles, Born Yesterday explores parental attitudes towards children. The speaker in the poem is a friend of a new parent. The poem reflects on what we should hope for in our children’s lives.

Near the beginning of Nettles, the speaker describes the incident when his child fell into a ‘nettle bed’, but goes on to describe the nettles as ‘green spears’. This metaphor exaggerates the danger of stinging nettles and the harm that ...view middle of the document...

However, the fact that the pain is brought back by natural forces (the sun, rain and nettles) reveals the message of the poem: even though parents wish to protect their children, pain is a natural and unavoidable part of life.

Unlike Nettles, Born Yesterday explores parental love from the perspective of a friend to a new parent. This may mean that the speaker is able to be more objective and is less prone to irrational emotions. The first stanza undermines clichéd attitudes about parental love. The tone is sarcastic as the speaker lists some of the things that parents usually hope for in their children, such as ‘being beautiful, or running of a spring of innocence and love’. The alliteration of ‘being beautiful’ adds to the bluntly bitter tone, whilst the romanticised metaphor of the ‘spring of innocence and love’ clarifies the sarcasm. The fact that the speaker describes these attributes colloquially as ‘the usual stuff’ demonstrates that she does not value these ideals highly and she does not believe that loving parents should expect them of their children.

The second stanza of this poem is longer as it details the speaker’s beliefs about what parents or other adults should hope for as children grow up. The language is very practical and straightforward. The speaker hopes that the child be ‘not ugly, not good looking’ and that there will be ‘Nothing uncustomary to pull [the child] off [their] balance’. This calm, practical...

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