Hugo's Birthday - Mother's Positive Experience

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In the poem ‘Hugo’s Birthday’ by Kate Llewellyn a key character who has a positive experience is the mother who is celebrating her son’s 18th birthday lunch after a long separation. This experience helped me to understand that time can help to heal relationships to a point, but effort and intention will need to be applied to bring a relationship together as well. The mother, who is the persona of the poem, recounts the lunch that is shared with her son Hugo to celebrate his 18th birthday. She has not seen him for many years and their relationship in the past has not run smoothly. When the persona sees Hugo she describes him as “strong as a brand new door”. As the mother and her son carve the chicken to eat, which would have begun as an awkward and uncomfortable experience for them both, “past irritations fade enough for kindness”. The conversation gets easier to have, yet it is still “an effort” for the mother who purposefully attempts to talk about “punk and rock and roll” so her son might be more comfortable with speaking to her after so many years. When the lunch has been eaten, Hugo takes his mother for a park walk. This is the first time the two of them have done that since he was three years old. She recounts the memory of their last park walk together and how even then, Hugo’s relationship with his mother was not amiable or affectionate. She recalls how Hugo would “never take (her) hand and turned (her) head away”. The persona then goes on to compare her relationship with her son to an open wound with “a painful antiseptic” that “time has stitched somewhat”. The persona ends the poem with “today we look like friends”. The mother is able to see beyond her relationship with her son in the past when she first sees him on his birthday. She can see that he is a healthy and strong young man, “brand new” as he has just entered adulthood. She is able to see these positive things about her previously distant son and does not hold a grudge on him for being negligent...
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