a. The poet begins each stanza by ‘she said’ to convey to the reader about the woman’s feelings like in the first stanza ‘Who do I carry, she said, This child that is no child of mine’ showing her bewilderment as to why she picked up the child. The use of ‘she’ indicates the poem is written in a third person perspective, which is striking, as the reader knows only the thoughts and feelings of the woman, while other characters such as the child are presented only externally.
Moreover, the poet ends each stanza with rhyming words like ‘dead’, ‘tread’, ‘fed’, ‘bread’ and these string of words indicates the woman feels burdened for caring for the child as it was ‘heavy as the dead’ and wished to remove the burden so she could continue living ‘with a lighter tread’ because she has difficulty ensuring both of them could be ‘fed’ and begged for ‘at least bread’.
The poet’s striking way of conveying the woman’s feelings towards the child and her action in attempting to save the child evokes sympathy of the readers and b. The woman has a bleak outlook on life.
The phrase ‘If it grow to hero it will die or let loose’ indicating the child would eventually die even it grows up to become a hero despite being saved, therefore there is no need to rescue the child. These negative thoughts reflect the terrible state of the country during wartime, ‘soldiers have thrown down their rifles, misers skipped their packs’ and the woman who abandoned the child which depicts people throwing away their burdens and loss of human sympathy as soon as an individual is threatened.
It is difficult to remain optimistic given the circumstances she is in and hesitation on whether to save the child is reasonable as she herself can barely survive. Despite her pessimism, she still held hope. The phrase ‘If we ever should come to kindness’ shows that the woman believes there is still compassion in humans and the word ‘pity’ in line 20 shows she thinks people are capable of showing sympathy.
She is also an example of a someone capable of sympathy as the woman ‘lift[ed] it……out of its cradle’ in spite of her uncertainty. It is moving to see such acts of compassion being carried out during the times of war and that people still care of one another. I hope her dream for a better future and for human nature continues regardless of the situation. Kennis Koh by pleading for a bed ‘to lie down on’ and ‘at least bread’ The phrase ‘death, or to hireling, nature already is too profuse’ indicating death is like being employed to do menial work that does not requiring much skill and lacking prestige is abundant.
Courtney from Study Moose
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