The Boy at the Window

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The Boy at the Window is a poignant poem written by Richard Wilber. According to a statement made by Wilber, it was inspired by his five year old son being concerned about the possible danger his newly completed snowman was in due to a pending storm. Poetry is often recognized for its ability to evoke strong feelings in the reader and the beautifully innocent nature of Boy at the Window exemplifies this magnificently with skillful use of personification and beautiful use of metaphors.

The story starts with painting a bleak and very serious over tone, seemingly from the overly dramatic perspective of a young boy as told by an omniscient outside perspective. The dire aspect of the snowman’s situation being a wholly terrifying experience to him, as seen in lines three and four of the first stanza, “The small boy weeps to hear the wind prepare/ A night of gnashings and enormous moan.” It is apparent that, to this boy, this is a huge menacing storm blowing in and threatening his snowman. It is further defined in the use of personification to describe the prediction of the storms violence, gnashing and moaning, both human qualities with tendencies of use in both pain and anger. Gnashing specifically paints an intense image of something being grinded between two forces until destroyed is extremely impacting.

The line following in the poem is a description of the snowman’s facial aspects as seen by this young man, showing a desperation and betrayal as compared to the biblical story of a God- forsaken Adam looking into Eden for the last time. It adds a touching depth to the fear that this young man is in grips of and it is representative of the emotional transfer to the snowman in a young boys mind.

The second stanza is written from the snowman’s perspective, which as a statement in its self shows personification. I find that the fact that the snowman experiences feelings in a very heartfelt way, showing a warmth of humanity and empathy. These traits come into a...
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