chapter q/a

Topics: Meaning of life, Family, Question Pages: 4 (1147 words) Published: February 26, 2014

The theme of the poem is the generation gap which occurs when the communication link between two generations breaks due to a mutual lack of understanding, tolerance and acceptance. Compare and contrast this poem with the poem 'Childhood'. That poem was the child's perspective and struggle to understand himself. This poem is the father's inability to come to terms with the young adult who has replaced the father's 'little boy'.

The poem highlights the internal conflict a father undergoes when his son becomes old enough to define his own interests, thoughts and perceptions. The brooding father complains that he cannot understand his child despite having lived together for many years in the same house. The father tries to continue a relationship based on what he knew of the son from his youngest years but of course, the son has change over time. The tone is almost pleading, attempting to find a link with his grown up son.

Using a typically agrarian imagery, he questions whether he has already lost his own child, his son, due to this distance between them or was the son on a mental plane that was entirely his own and which, the father cannot access. The father uses ‘I’ in these lines acknowledging his own role in creating this communication gap between them.

The father and son have become strangers with no understanding of each other. Traditionally, the son’s upbringing is in the very environment and with the values the father provided. Thus, the father feels his son is built to his design and should be like his father in most aspects. However, his son now has interests the father cannot share. There is no shared passion, no common ground. Most times, there is only an awkward silence between them. The frustration of the father is evident as he struggles to understand why his own son, his flesh and blood, has turned into an absolute stranger.

The father in the poem sees his child as the prodigal (spendthrift, underlying...
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