Robert Louis Stevenson And Sam La Rose Compare And Contrast Essay

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Read the two poems carefully and write an essay of 800-1000 words comparing and contrasting them in any way you think is interesting. The immediately obvious theme present in both poems was, for me, the concept of maternal love. Both Robert Louis Stevenson and Jacob Sam-La Rose are unconventional in that they portray this affection not as something beautiful and pure as poetic tradition would dictate, but a painful ordeal for both parent and child. The mother referenced in “To Any Reader” by Stevenson (henceforth “Reader”) seems as refined as the neatly rhyming couplets depicting her as a distant figure who once watched the reader play from the house. Interestingly, the poem actually places the reader in the position of a nostalgic mother mourning the youth of her child. “So you may see…another child, far, far away, And in another garden, play.” She is remote and quiet, unable to reach her child despite knocking on the window, classically demure and ineffectual. By contrast, both the second woman and her demanding…show more content…
The “mammy” is hyperbolically compared to “a jealous god” capable of demanding submission from heaven and hell alike. She appears formidable to the reader and so, by extension, is the love she personifies. Again “Reader” is the more subtle of the two, it’s imagery almost tentative- if Sam-La Rose’s “mammy” is a god, Stevenson’s hybrid reader-mother might be compared to a ghost, unable to reach her “child of air”. I find this metaphor fascinating- childhood is of course a temporary state, and yet Stevenson seems to be suggesting this child in some way exists separately to their adult self, even if they live on only in memory and are composed of nothing more substantial than air. They are still subtle enough to be the subject of the poem, in contrast to “Gravity’s” sole focus on the
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