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To a Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan: a Milestone Moment

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 4 (803 words)
Categories: Anxiety, Emotion, Family, Health, Literature, Mental Health, Poetry, Psychology
Downloads: 37
Views: 243

When a significant event or important change in life occurs for a person or family it is known as a milestone. Some examples of milestones shared between a child and parent might include a baby learning to crawl then walk, a child attending his or her first day of school, a teenager acquiring a driver’s license, and becoming an actual adult by turning the age of 21. There is a momentous occasion between a parent and child that might not get all of the attention as other moments in life, but seems to mark the era of a child becoming more independent and growing up and that is a child learning to ride a bicycle.

The poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home”, written by Linda Pastan, is a reflection of a mother helping her daughter learn how to ride a bicycle. The writer uses imagery in this poem in the sense of at least three known types: visual imagery, auditory imagery and organic imagery.

Visual imagery refers to words that illicit something that can be seen in the mind’s eye (penandpad). All throughout “To a Daughter Leaving Home” certain words illustrate a picture of visual imagery. When the daughter is first learning to ride her bike the writer uses the words “wobbled away” and a “curved path”. This visual image depicts that the daughter is not quite ready to ride the bicycle without assistance from her mother representing the fact that you fail sometimes, but you learn from your mistakes. The child may not be mature enough to live out on her own, which might visualize the mother is surprised to see the daughter pull ahead on a curvy path. Being able to use words that allow a picture of what is happening keeps the reader wanting to continue reading.

Auditory imagery is used in poetry when poets employ descriptions linked to the reader’s sense of hearing. In auditory imagery, the poet describes a sound in order to create a more complete picture and draw the reader into the world within the poem (study.com). Many people think of rhyming when reviewing poetry. Linda Pastan does not use rhyming at all, instead uses words that resemble the sound that they mean. At one point the writer speaks of waiting for a “thud”, expecting the daughter to crash. As the daughter becomes more confident, further down in the poem the reader finds the words, “screaming with laughter”. The word “scream” gives the possibility that the daughter is excited to be living independently, which could be a phone call to her mother to tell her how great being on her own has been. Auditory imagery can be both an enjoyable sound or create an anxious feeling, however in either circumstance, the use of words relating to sound keep the reader engaged.

Organic imagery is the most difficult form of imagery to write, because it deals with creating a specific feeling or emotion within the reader. Phrases that show excitement, anxiety, and sadness are all parts of real organic imagery. At the start of the poem the excitement emotion is displayed through the mother as the daughter begins to ride and in the speaker terms “my own mouth rounding in surprise”. Emotions continue to build up as the daughter continues to ride the bicycle without a fall, however the mother is anxious about her daughter as the poem says she “sprinted to catch up”. All these positive fun emotions are revealed from the beginning to nearly the end, and then the speaker takes us through a totally different emotion of sadness when the very last words of the poem has the mom seeing her daughter’s “hair flapping like a handkerchief waving goodbye” as if the mother has just experienced leaving her daughter to live independently.

The tone of the poem starts out as happy and as you keep reading it becomes a bit more worried as the mom waits for a “crash” and tries to keep up. Just before the end as the daughter “grew smaller”, there is a sense of relief from the mothers. Finally at the very end, we experience a bitter sweet moment as it appears the daughter says goodbye and becomes independent.

Growing up and gaining experience in life is similar to learning to ride a bicycle. Parents, particularly a mother as in the poem, help teach their daughter’s to become independent. After working so hard to raise her daughter, a mother has to let her go. “To A Daughter Leaving Home”, focus is on a particular aspect of family life, learning to ride a bike, which is something we’ve all experienced. Linda Pastan does a great job of getting the reader right into the action, while the realistic hints that happen when learning to ride a bike, allow for image and response.

Cite this essay

To a Daughter Leaving Home by Linda Pastan: a Milestone Moment. (2019, Dec 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/to-a-daughter-leaving-home-by-linda-pastan-a-milestone-moment-essay

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