How Is the Theme of Growing Up Explored in a Range of 20th Century Poems?

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How is the theme of growing up explored in a range of 20th century poems?

The theme of growing up is explored in a variety of ways in many 20th century poems, using different language techniques, that I am going to explore, to convey the emotion of children growing up in the times of class discrimination and racism. The four poems that I have chosen are all from different perspectives, the child’s or parents, or from retrospective points of views, recalling on the speaker’s life as a child. Chapter 7 : Black Bottom of The Adoption Papers, by Jackie Kay, is an extract of a poem that I am going to analyse. This poem is about a white mother adopting a black child and how she faces racial bullying by the more “superior” whites in Glasgow, Scotland. The Adoption Papers uses the child, the white adoptive mother, and the white biological mother’s voice in alternating first person narrative, written in the present tense giving the poem themes of growing up, bullying and racism. The other two are from retrospective points of views, reflecting on the speakers’ lives as children and how they had to cope with the difficulties of growing up in a class system society. My Parents Kept Me From Children Who Were Rough, by Stephen Spender, is a poem about an adult reflecting on his childhood in the upper middle class, and the lower class bullying him because of the social differences, exploring themes of loneliness, remorse and fear. The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost, is the third poem I will analyse, explaining how choosing the correct path will determine the outcome of your life, and that maybe taking the lesser travelled road could make the difference.

The Adoption Papers is themed on the effects of racism on younger children while they are growing up. This effect on the child is explored in detail throughout the poem and how she has had to cope with being victim of racial bullying, “you were fighting yesterday, again”. The uses of caesura and end-stopping show how...
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