In the Nursery and New Baby

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Essay comparing In the Nursery to New Baby

New Baby by Jackie Kay and In the Nursery by Ann Stevenson are two poems about babies. In the Nursery is about a mother comparing her 7 month old son to a plant or flower which shows her love and affection for him. In contrast, New Baby is about the poet adopting a child’s voice and expressing its anger and annoyance for their baby brother. This essay will compare the two poems’ use of language, poetic devices, perspective of speaker and structure. It will also include which poem I prefer and why.

The use of language in the two poems is very different. New Baby uses simple, childish and exaggerated language. This is shown when Kay uses the sentence ‘not that I like him or anything’. An older person would find a more sophisticated way to say this, Kay uses these childish sentences throughout the poem .Using this language is effective as it makes it clear that it is the voice of a child but not a young one as Kay’s clever use of the word ‘devised’ tells us. On the other hand, In the Nursery uses more sophisticated and positive language. Stevenson’s language in this poem is plant and flower based. This is made clear when she says that her sons’ eyes are ‘corollas’ and stating that his yawning is a flower blossoming.

Both poems have used many poetic devices. In the Nursery has an extended metaphor which helps to compare the baby to a flower or plant. ‘Sleep drops off him like soil’ is the simile that Stevenson uses. It tells us that the baby is floppy and delicate. It is effective as it gives a clear image of this. Alternatively New Baby uses no similes or metaphors. It has lots of alliteration; ‘baby brother’ is one of the alliterations Kay uses. She also uses anthropomorphism in many of her stanzas. ‘The Rottweiler next door phoned up to complain’ is an example of this. It is effective as it helps to make it clear that it is a child speaking because children usually have a vivid imagination.

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