Childhood Metaphors

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An analysis of poems discussing the different ideas of infancy and what infancy and childhood means to different people. The ideas of infancy vary across the poems from being a curse to the family to being a blessing from the heavens or even a key to break out of the boundaries set by reality. The poets use various literary devices such as metaphors, similes and different poem structure to convey the message that they carry. Each poem has its own viewpoint on infancy. On the whole four of the poems, “Infant Joy” –William Blake, “You’re” – Sylvia Plath, “Once upon a time” – Gabriel Okara and “Piano” by D.H. Lawrence all have a more positive view towards infancy whereas, “ Infant Sorrow” – William Blake and “Prayer before birth” – Louis MacNeice show a more pessimistic side towards infancy. Despite the fact that each poem has its own different point of view on the subject of infancy, they all seem to share one thought which is the fact that infancy represents innocence and in some cases a fresh start.

At first glance, William Blake’s “Infant Joy” shows readers that the mother is extremely happy and delighted to have had a baby. The first two lines of the poem, “I have no name: I am but two days old.” Gives readers the impression that babies represent a sense of purity and innocence as the baby doesn’t even have his own name. A more in depth look would be to see the baby as a clean canvas which has yet to be painted on by society and how the environment of a child
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