"My parents kept me from children who were rough" by Stephen Spender

Essay by Espi0nixHigh School, 11th grade November 2004

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"My parents kept me from children who were rough" is a poem I have recently been reading. It is written by Stephen spender. It is about a boy who longs to be part of a group of children who he looks up to. I think the poet is writing about himself because he uses a lot of words like 'my', 'me' and 'I'.

In the first paragraph the poet introduces some of the things they do. The poet writes about them throwing "Words like Stones". He also writes about how they dress and take off their clothes. The children wear rags and 'torn clothes'. Their skin shows through. This gives the idea that the children have a reckless nature.

The second verse tells the reader about what the boys do to the boy himself. The boy shows his fear of them by saying "I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron."

He says they make fun of him.

At the end he writes about what the boys do in the community, like jump out from behind hedges and about how he wants to be part of their group but they never smile at him.

The writer uses many types of speech such as metaphors, similes, alliteration and onomatopoeia. An example of metaphors is when the poet says

"I feared the salt course pointing". This is effective at showing how painful it is being made fun of. I think this is a good way of describing this as it explains the situation well. Sometimes the poet uses alliteration. All the alliteration is in the first verse with lines like

"Their thighs showed through rags". This is repetition of the 'Th' sound. I don't really like this alliteration in this because I don't think it's very effective, it doesn't really change any views or images the reader may have. There are quite a few similes throughout the poem, e.g. "Who threw words like stones" This is a very good description of the way the boys insult others. Sometimes being insulted by these boys is almost as bad as having stones thrown at him. This is effective because is captures the readers attention as it is right at the start of the poem and makes it clear the victim is suffering. Finally the poet uses onomatopoeia. This is used in the 2nd and 3rd verses. "Jerking hands" is one of them. "Jerking" when said out loud actually sounds like the quick movement of a jerking action. I think this is effective because it helps paint a picture in the reader's head of the boy "jerking" under the boy's knees; of the violence involved when they attack him.

In this poem there are a few serious themes, one of them being bullying. This is the main theme and is written about well. The poet successfully manages to tell the reader about him being a child. It is obvious one of the themes is bullying because the poet writes about him being bullied all the way through the poem.

Another main, strong theme is fear. The boy is scared of what the boys might do to him and what thy might say. Fear isn't as big a part as bullying but they go together well. Another theme that may be included is loneliness and isolation.

Overall I think the poet tries to tell the reader that the boy was scared of what the boys do to him but he desperately wanted to be part of their group because the idea of being able to do anything that you want must be an exciting thought for the boy.

I thought this poem was ok, it had a good theme and was well written. The poet used good, varied language as well.

Michael Baird