The poem “Schoolchildren” was written by W.H Auden and it emphases that a school could “metaphorically” be a prison. In this poem the school appears to be a junior private school that ranges from kindergarten to grade 6ish. In the perspective of the person telling the poem is the narrator. The narrator appears to be a simple observer looking into the playground of a schoolyard. But the question is; how does this sound like a prison? In stanza one “Here are all the captivities; the cells are as real: But these are unlike the prisoners we know Who are outraged or pining or wittily resigned” This line is pointing out that a school isn’t literally a prison, Auden just compares the kids to prisoners of a school but they share differences such as outraged or pining or wittily resigned.
In stanza 2 “For they dissent so little, so nearly content With the dumb play of the dog, the licking and rushing:” In this stanza the narrator observes that the children are all the same. This verse points out that this school is probably a private school because if they differ so little they must be wearing uniforms. The narrator later points out the activities of the children and how the narrator compares them to a dog. We think of teachers being more dominate then children and the teachers being the dog owner can throw a ball and the children being the dogs can go out and fetch it.
Stanza 3 – like jail mates they only see false hope. What they done cannot be undone. In the children’s perspective they always play and saying how the ‘fallacious angel of a vision’ is really saying how bad education and school is. They like to have fun and the interpretation of ‘little effort’ means they don’t try hard in school but instead enjoys having fun. In contrast to a prison the prisoners didn’t like their life and in order to accomplish a crime they must’ve been really miserable from they’re past experiences. ‘the beast of vocation is afriad’ is emphasizing that in order to achieve a career must not be scared of trying in school.
In stanza 4 “But watch them, O, set against our size and timing The almost neuter”. The children are still immature because they are almost neutered.
In stanza 5 “Yet the tyranny is so easy. The improper word scribbled upon the fountain, is that all the rebellion? The storm of tears shed in the corner, are these the seeds of the new life? The kids cannot find a better way to rebel. The best they can do is scribble graffiti on the fountain and when something goes terribly wrong they shed their tears in the corner. Narrator is in a sense a bit worried because he/she is wondering if these kids are the future?Works Citedhttp://www.hwcn.org/~ap951/auden.html
Courtney from Study Moose
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