Nettles and Born Yesterday Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By rosanna7
Words 818
Pages 4
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 they can cause is presented as deadly instead of just painful. Juxtaposing a three year old boy with weapons designed to kill shocks the reader, but it also presents the protective nature of the father. Every threat, no matter how small, is perceived as a matter of life and death by this overprotective speaker.

Later in the poem, the speaker demonstrates the angry retribution that a parent may bring down upon anyone or anything that hurts their children. The speaker says ‘And I took my hook and honed the blade/ And went outside and slashed in fury with it’. The violent verb, ‘slashed’, expresses the speaker’s aggressive need for violent revenge upon the nettles. The monosyllabic diction across these lines supports the brutal simplicity of the need to remove anything that threatens the boy, whilst the enjambment and the repetition of ‘And’ suggest that the father will not be satisfied until the task is completed.

In Nettles, the final lines of the poem reveal the overall message. The final two lines reveal that ‘the busy sun and rain/Had called up tall recruits behind the shed:/My son would often feel sharp wounds again.’ The personification of the nettles, as soldiers,…...

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