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Compare the Ways Attitudes Towards Children Are Presented in Nettles and Born Yesterday

  • Date Submitted: 04/17/2012 01:45 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 63.6 
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Compare the ways attitudes towards children are presented in Nettles and Born Yesterday
In Nettles, a father hacks down a bed of nettles that have stung his three year old son. Images of pain and war are used throughout the poem as the father cuts down the “regiment” of “green spears” that have hurt his song. However, his victory is short-lived as the nettles will reappear two weeks later.   Born Yesterday was written by Philip Larkin for Sally Amis, his best friend’s daughter, and focuses on his wish for her to be normal so she can be skilled and happy. Each of the poets show different attitudes towards the children in the poems, Scannell has a more protective attitude, whereas Larkin is more of a relaxed and hopeful attitude towards the child.
The speaker of Nettles has vast love and adoration for his son. The first line of the poem begins with “my son” this shows that the focus of the poem is on the son and the speaker’s protective and unconditional love. The writer makes several references to war, conflict and the military such as “spears”, “regiment” and “recruits”. These references are a metaphor for the nettles and the hurt that they caused the child. The poem only contains one, sixteen line stanza. The alternate rhyme scheme and use of iambic pentameter gives the poem an ordered, regimental feel.
Scannell uses many simple, monosyllabic words to maintain a steady pace and convey the feelings and vulnerability of the child, “with sobs and tears”. The son’s pain and the fathers anger are portrayed through images such as, “I took my hook and honed the blade” and “water grin”. The speaker then launches attack on the nettles as he “slashed in fury” at them, he does this as a way of trying to protect his child, and he also waits until his son has stopped crying before he attacks the nettles. Maybe he wants his son to witness his revenge and ‘victory’ over the nettles.
Although the speaker had launched this attack, in actual fact it hadn’t achieved much as in...


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