To a Daughter Leaving Home

Topics: Family, Girl, Feeling Pages: 4 (951 words) Published: June 24, 2013
Amy Berglund
Professor Hathaway
English Composition 1022
19 June 2013

To the Daughter Leaving Home
When I taught you
at eight to ride
a bicycle, loping along
beside you
as you wobbled away
on two round wheels,
my own mouth rounding
in surprise when you pulled
ahead down the curved
path of the park,
I kept waiting
for the thud
of your crash as I
sprinted to catch up,
while you grew
smaller, more breakable
with distance,
pumping, pumping
for your life, screaming
with laughter,
the hair flapping
behind you like a
handkerchief waving
goodbye.

By: Linda Pastan

I decided on the poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home,” for its overall simplicity matched with the deeper meaning that I found within. It stood out to me immediately as I was able to relate to both the underlying connotation as well as the literal experience of learning to ride a bike. Poems can become complex and complicated, to me, and often lose their meaning. I found this particular poem to be straight forward, clear, and quite frankly, something I could understand.

“To a Daughter Leaving Home” takes place in past times back in the 1950’s or 1960’s when life had a much slower pace to it. The speaker is the parent; the father is reminiscing about his daughter’s upbringing. The audience is the daughter; the girl is being talked to about the feelings her father felt as she grew up, learned her lessons, and left home. The setting is outside, at a nearby park, during a nice, sunny, Spring day. The park has a path which is where the girl is beginning to learn to ride a bike. The hour is in the late afternoon about four or five o’clock. Dad and his girl are alone, at the park, somewhere in the rural United States.

The daughter is eight years old when her father takes her to a local park to learn to ride her bike. At first, Dad ran alongside the girl to help steady her; however, she then pulls away, riding on her own. Dad is surprised and tries to run after and catch...

Cited: Arp, Thomas R. & Johnson, Greg. “To a Daughter Leaving Home.” Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry. Thirteenth Edition. Boston: Wadsworth, 2011. page 222. Print.
Dictionary and Thesaurus Merriam-Webster Online, http: www.merriam-webster.com (D&T).
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