Compare and Contrast the Presentation of Childhood Memories in ‘Half Past Two’, ‘Piano’ and ‘My Parents Kept Me from Children Who Were Rough’ Focusing on the Poet’s Use of Language, Form and Structure.’

Topics: Poetry, Time, Stanza Pages: 5 (1762 words) Published: October 10, 2009
Compare and contrast the presentation of childhood memories in ‘half past two’, ‘piano’ and ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ focusing on the poet’s use of language, form and structure.’

The poems are different based on theme as piano has a theme of music taking on a memory. Half past two has a theme of life before not being able to tell time. Lastly my parents kept me from children who were rough have a theme of not being able to relive a bad memory.

The three poems are contrasting on the meaning as ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ and ‘piano’ are about the poet’s memories when they are older and ‘Half past two’ is an exploration of a child’s imagination during his early years before he could tell the time.

In Piano, Lawrence shows he is dealing with adult memories of childhood by in the first stanza, ‘Taking me back down the vista of years.’ The use of the word ‘vista’ shows that he is dealing with a long period of time. Similarly ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ Spender shows he is also dealing with adult memories of childhood as in the last stanza, ‘I longed to forgive them, yet they never smiled.’ The use of the words ‘longed’ and ‘never’ show that he is looking back to that time and is hurt that they never said sorry.

In contrast to that ‘Half past two’ is about an exploration of a child’s mind. Fanthorpe shows this in the sixth stanza, ‘He knew the clock face, the little eyes and two long legs walking but he couldn’t click its language.’ This description of the clock face shows that the writer is explaining a young child’s mind of how they were taught how to tell the time.

The three poems contrast in structure as ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ and ‘piano’ only have three stanzas, where as ‘half past two’ has eleven stanzas.

In ‘Piano’ the stanzas change the time of as in stanza 1, the poet is writing about the immediate past. This then changes in stanza 2 as Lawrence starts to write about the past and in stanza 3, Lawrence starts to talk about his regret. ‘My parents kept me from children who were rough’ is similar to ‘piano’ as in stanza 3 he also talks about regret. Spender changes the manner of the poem as the first stanza is about envious and what is being said. Where as in stanza 2 Spender moves on to them being physical towards them.

‘Half past two’ is different as there are 11 stanzas and the stanzas are about the same thing. Half past two is also different as it is the only poem where the poet uses brackets ‘(I forget what it was).’ This makes the reader think about what it was and that he is saying ‘I’ instead of ‘He.’ The poet also decided to use speech ‘my goodness, I forgot all about you, Run along or you’ll be late.’ The poet makes us think about that the speech helps the poet with putting the boy back into his routine.

The poems make different uses of poetic devices as ‘piano’ and half past two’ both uses rhyme where as ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ doesn’t use any but makes use of a simile.

In the poem ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ it uses different poetic devices than ‘piano’ and ‘half past two’ Spender decides to use a simile ‘I feared more than tigers, their muscles like iron’ the use of the simile makes it sounds like its something you would see on TV rather than something that you would hear about in reality. It emphasizes the strength of the bullies in Spender’s memory.

In contrast to ‘my parents kept me from children who were rough’ ‘piano’ and ‘half past two’ both use rhyme. In piano Lawrence uses rhyme at the end of each line, which rhymes with the next ‘me, see, strings, sings, song, belong, outside, guide, clamour, glamour, cast, past’ the use of rhyme makes the poem regular and this relates to its musical theme – the thing which makes him remember in the first place.

Although ‘piano’ uses a large amount of rhyme ‘Half past two’ only uses a small...
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