Poem Analysis “Cartoon Physics, Part 1”
Nick Flynn centers “Cartoon Physics, Part 1” around childhood innocence. He very strongly urges not only parents, but anyone around a young child to not force upon them knowledge they do not need to know. Flynn captures the simple kid mind and harsh reality with tone, imagery, figurative language, and even the form of the overall poem.
There is a stark contrast between tones in the passage. In the first few lines the tone is cold; detached. The actual physics of the never-ending universe would overwhelm a child (2). They do not need to know that there are galaxies bigger than ours that are “collapsing” (5) at the very moment they eat their lunch. Facts of nature are grim and matches the emotion Flynn conveys. Not only is the diction itself create a tone, but the author’s punctuation helps determine it. Lines 1-6 contains many commas that prolong the sentence making it seem more urgent. Flynn wants the point to get across that certain details are too grim for young children. In the next section, however, the tone changes when he talks about cartoons and the events they depict.It becomes more hopeful and light. Most kids believe there is a solution to everything; that there's always a hero (15). These two drastic changes represent the differences in a child's mind and imagination versus the reality adults have to face everyday. Imagery within the poem shows the inside of a child’s imagination. A little girl is playing with her toy bus in a sandbox. She “knows the exact spot” it rides, who will “swim” and “who will be pulled under” (23). She controls the outcomes where there are no surprises. Her lack of enlightenment from the world protects her, as well as all other children, from tragedies that their simple minds cannot understand. The child is the hero if there is no one else to save the day, but if they’re equipped with the awareness that bad aftermath is possible then their entire outlook will change. It is...
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