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The Hunchback In The Park

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The Hunchback in the Park Analysis

The hunchback in the park is a 7 stanza poem, with each stanza containing 6 lines. There is no apparent and consisting rhyming pattern nor any regular rhythm in the poem by Dylan Thomas. The poem is in the past tense, and seemingly in the point of view of someone who grew up around the park and who therefore knows the park and its inhabitants very well. In the first stanza, the title of the poem also makes the first line. It introduces the hunchback of the park, and tells us that he can be found there as soon as the park is opened to when it shuts ''from the opening of the garden lock that lets the trees and water enter until the Sunday sombre bell at dark''. The hunchback is probably a homeless person, because who else would have the time to spend day and night at a park? The second stanza tells the reader how the hunchback eats and drinks and how the children play jokes on him. He eats from newspaper and drinks from a 'chained cup' which the teasing children filled with gravel to laugh the hunchback. Then the narrator references to the fountain basin where he used to play with his toy ships. It is the only time in the poem that the narrator speaks about his own memories of the park. Then the narrator goes on to compare the hunchback do a dog, highlighting that they are almost both in the same rank in society as each other, only that the dog is chained to the kennel but the hunchback goes to his own accord. In the third paragraph the hunchback is again compared to two different animals. This time a simple simile is used to compare the hunchback to the birds (because he comes early to the park), and another more complicated one for the comparison between the water (possibly because he is always at the same place and remains very still, just like the water in the fountain). The troublesome boys are again mentioned, and again provoking the hunchback, this time by calling him names and running away when he stirs. The boys are definitely looking for a response from the hunchback. The fourth stanza goes more in-depth on the children in the park, who view the park as a zoo because of its wild nature. It describes the boys once again trying to get a reaction from the hunchback whilst evading running into the park keeper with his stick. The fifth stanza shows the children's vivid imagination, as they can imagine the park as a zoo with tigers launching themselves at the children, and other times the children pretend to be sailors. But it also adds another person who comes into the park, 'the old sleeper' who along with the hunchback, the nurses and the swans make up the living inhabitants of the park. This helps to give the read an image of a park that is sparkling with different kinds of life and action. The sixth stanza makes the jump from the children's imagination to the hunchback's, who imagines his idea of the perfect woman with the perfect shape. This serves to highlight the differences from the woman and the hunchback, one of which is flawless and the other has extreme physical deformations.
The seventh stanza is a continuation of the previous one, and says that the imagined woman remains in the park even after everyone else has left it. The narrator also calls the children innocent, despite their attitude towards the man, which is just playful. The poem concludes with an image of the hunchback in the dogs kennel. Dylan Thomas grew up near Cwndonkin Park in Wales. This place was to became a great source of inspiration for Dylan Thomas, as is shown by this poem where a park is the primary setting. But the poem contains more than just the park, but is more a microcosm of society. The Hunchback represents the abnormal, who is always cast aside and nothing is done to help him, despite obviously being in a very bad situation which reduces him to drink from dirty cups and even sleep in the basin of a fountain. The fact that he is 'solitary' even in such a social environment full of people, shows that nobody wants to have anything do with him, and perhaps he with them. The boys represent the 'normal' people, who always like to laugh and patronize those who are not like them. The boys are 'innocent' though, as they have been conditioned by society to think that these people are worthless, and deserve any sort of cruelties which may come their way. The fact that the boys are innocent despite their acts also shows how not everyone is innately evil or kind, but that everyone has both sides of characters but most act on those that benefit themselves and the people around them the most.

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