Analysis Of Prayer Before Birth By Louis Macneice

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Praying For the Life Ahead Life throws countless curveballs and when they hit hard enough, all you can do is follow blindly behind those who lead you. When being an unborn child, you do not yet know the challenges of life, and in the poem “Prayer Before Birth”, written by Louis MacNeice, the unborn child is praying that those challenges are to be resolved using their own judgement and not others. The child is found wishing for all the malicious things in the world to spare him and leave him to live a life of peace. Louis MacNeice’s poem demonstrates the cruelty embedded in the world and how the act of war only enhances that. Throughout life, loved ones reassure their constant presence without being able to make good on their commitment. In “Prayer Before Birth” the newborn baby is asking for knowing of when the “mountains frown at me, lovers laugh at me, …” (MacNeice lines 20-21). In Louis MacNeice’s life he was left alone while his wife ran away with their son to go with an American graduate student. MacNeice helps bring more emphasis to lines 20-21. He uses “at me” repeated to add more emphasis to it to show how his love for his wife was taken when she left. When his wife removed herself from his life, MacNeice felt that his life was slowly falling apart. He fell into a pit of writing and because of the lonely feeling inside, he wrote some of his best poetry. MacNeice’s experience with the loss of his wife is an example on how there are many cruel challenges in life that will happen and that sometimes in these situations other people make a decision that you do not agree with and that sometimes you just have to grin and bear it. MacNeice grew up in a religious household, his dad being a minister. Soon MacNeice abandoned his baptismal first name and it was changed to MacNeice. The newborn prays for the “trees to talk / to me, sky to sing to me, birds and a white light / in the back of my mind to guide me” (MacNeice 9-11). The white light represents the symbolism of a heaven while the birds also represent a symbol in religion. The bringing up of religion in MacNeice’s poem relates to his childhood and how he grew up with his father’s faith. As MacNeice grew up, he was conflicted with his faith and soon

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