The poem, Little Boy Crying, written by Mervyn Morris is mainly about father and sons relationship. Poet shows the two main themes through this relationship; fathers love towards his child and his effort to lead his child into a right world in life. Mervyn Morris explores the child and parents relationship by using second person narration and language techniques such as allusion and emotive words. The important messages behind the poem are: parents love us and they will do anything to lead us to the right way.
In the first stanza, the poet describes a boy who is very relaxed at first but he gets very tense with the fathers punishment. Your laughter metamorphosed into howls in the first stanza shows the change of the mood for the boy with his fathers scold. With three year old frustration, your bright eyes swimming tears, splashing your bare feet in the first stanza is described from the fathers view (using second person narrative) and he sees it as a wrong behavior and slaps the boy, causing the boy to tear.
But the father does know the sons feelings when he is slapped; it is just the three year old boys emotion. You stand there angling for a moments hint of guilt or sorrow for the quick slap struck, shows that father is hiding his guilt of hitting his child and boy is looking for any evidence that, his father feels guilty for hitting him. This stanza tells the reader that father slapped the boy not with anger but with love to make his boy go to the right direction in life.
Stanza two is from the boys point of view. Using allusion, the poet let the boy imagine revenge upon his father. In this stanza, the boy regards his father as a cruel giant who exercises the power over a little boy and revenge in the fairy tale. The ogre towers above you, that grim giant, empty of feeling, a colossal cruel In this stanza shows that boy really hates his father and describes him as a heartless, cruel giant ogre. You imagine chopping clean the tree hes scrambling down or plotting deeper pits to trap him in: the boy imagines himself as Jack in the fairy tale, Jack and the beanstalk, cutting down the beanstalk before the giant ogre, metaphor of his strict father, comes down.
In the last stanza, the poet again emphasizes the fathers love toward his son in spite of the sons wrong doing. You cannot understand, not yet, shows that the father loves him very much and he understands what the boy feels. It also shows that father knows his son isnt old enough to understand his fathers intention of the punishment. This fierce man longs to lift you, curb your sadness with piggy back or bull fight, anything/ hidden behind that mask tells us that father may look strict to the boy but he also has a very soft side. However, it seems that disciplining his son takes precedence over showing his love to him in the line, But dare not ruin the lesson you should learn. Again the poet emphasizes that father scolded him to lead him to the right direction.
Lastly, the poet adds the last line to highlight the lesson hed like to teach his son; You must not make a plaything of the rain. It shows why he goes hard on his son. As most parents do, he wants his son to grow up as a decent person and to give his son the lesson; You shouldnt play with the rain, that is, tear because the tear cannot always be the answer.
In conclusion, Mervyn Morris explores child and parents relationship using second person narration and imagery. The poem shows the fathers endless love towards his child and his efforts to lead him to the right direction in life. The poem leaves another important message through the relationship between the father and the son; we should always appreciate our parents, who are always there for us when we need help, not only with giving love to us but also with disciplining us.
Source: Songs of our selves-IGCSE poetry anthology
Courtney from Study Moose
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