My Son, My Executioner

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“My Son, My Executioner”

In the Donald Hall poem,” My Son, My Executioner, “Hall depicted a father who has grown old, holding their young child in their arms. Hall portrayed strong imagery of a fatherly figure giving up everything to care for his young child. The tone of the poem is both happy and dark. Hall’s theme showed that once a person has a child, the parent’s life is completely changed. “My Son, My Executioner” is a very well written poem with a deep, true meaning that readers could relate to.

The imagery helps Hall depict a father caring for their young child. Hall is first telling the reader that the father is with his child. The child seems to be very young because the father takes the child in his arms. “I take you in my arms/quiet and small and just astir.” This shows that the father cares a lot about his child. The father could be taking out time from his day to share this moment with his child. The son, who is in his arms or lying on his lap, shares the father’s warmth. “And whom my body warms.” The father expresses how he has to give up himself in order for the son to be happy and healthy. “Your cries and hungers document/out bodily decay.” Hall is saying when the child is hungry then he must get fed. As time goes on, the father gets older and the roles of father and son are reversed. The dedication has to be there for the parents to raise a happy and healthy child.

The tone of this poem is a combination of happiness and darkness. The poem can be seen to have a happy tone that Halls shows well. He writes about the father acknowledging his child as his own. “My son.” Hall portrays happy images like a father wrapping his arms around his young child. “I take you in my arms.” The father also makes it known that his presence will live forever in his child. This means the father will always be with the child spiritually. On the other hand, this poem can be taken in a direful tone. Right from the title, Hall throws a dreary feeling toward the...
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