English / Nature Vs Nurture
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Autor: anton 01 December 2010
Words: 882 | Pages: 4
Nature versus Nurture:
A Time Old Debate
Once upon a time, two poets sat down to tell a tale. They both wanted to tell this story to their children. One looked outward and described the life that he wanted for his child. One looked inward and described the desire for that child to come into the world and begin living life. The poems were both masterpieces and have become classics. The assignment of a young student from her illustrious instructor is to compare the two poems and illustrate their similarities and differences. Ironically, the poet whose child lived and thrived to become an adult probably had homework just as inane when he was a student. Since that is the main similarity between your narrator and the child, let us illustrate the differences between the two poets.
Anna Letitia Barbauld wrote "To A Little Invisible Being Who Is Expected Soon to Become Visible" to her imaginary future child. She writes of the maternal instinct to, "lay her burden down,/ That her glad arms that burden may resume" (17-18). She is curious as to what kind of life her child will have and what kind of person they will be. Her main concern is the birth of the child. She commands the child, "Haste, little captive, burst thy prison doors!/ Launch on the living world, and spring to light!" (29-30). Future mothers, of children real or imagined, all share much the same sentiment. Poets would especially understand this need for release. Every time they write a poem, it goes through a period of waiting and when ready, it is birthed to the nation.
While Barbauld is waiting for her child with anxious heart, Samuel Taylor Coleridge is waiting for his child to grow with bated breath. As his child lies in the cradle by his side, he imagines the life that he will introduce to his child. His imaginings are full of nature and her beauty. Coleridge remembers his lonely, miserable childhood at boarding school and vows that his child's maturing years will be much different. Nature and her wisdom will infuse his child with riches beyond imagining. The "Great universal Teacher! he shall mold/ Thy spirit" (63-64). Nature and God will entwine to capture his son's imagination and creativity. His spirit will be free and his soul will fly.
These are very poetic images compared to the nurturing sense that the reader receives from Barbauld's poem. While Barbauld stays grounded in reality, Coleridge flies on the wings of fantasy almost as if his poem is a dream. This is a major difference in the two poems. Coleridge uses very visual descriptions of nature and memories, such as, "But thou, my babe! shalt wonder like a breeze/ By lakes and sandy shores, beneath the crags/ Of ancient mountain, and beneath the clouds" (54-56). These images contrast deeply with lines from Barbauld such as, "And see, the genial season's warmth to share,/ Fresh younglings shoot, and opening roses glow!" (9-10). As both poets discuss nature, the reader gets a very different feel from the poems. While one keeps you grounded, the other lets you fly.
Another big difference between the poets is the simple one of sex. A woman bears a child and eventually lays it to her bosom. A man will sit beside the cradle once the babe is born. These may seem like two simple matters, yet it can change the perception of the reader. The mother will love the child as it stirs in her, "She longs to fold to her maternal breast,/ Part of herself, yet to herself unknown" (21-22). She already knows the child, even though it is a stranger to her. The father has a different experience. He can love the child while in the womb, yet he can not experience the depth of emotion that a mother has until the child is freed into the world. Even as an infant, Coleridge speaks of it in the physical sense, "My babe so beautiful! it thrills my heart/ With tender gladness, thus to look at thee" (48-49). Barbauld sees the emotional side of the child, while Coleridge sees the physical side because that is all he knows of it at that time.
There is one major similarity in both poems, both authors love their child. Barbauld loves her imaginary child as the poet loves his creation, whilst Coleridge loves his real child as his own creation. This similarity is the strongest emotion throughout both poems. They may use different images and metaphors; however, love is carried in every syllable. These are both love poems written to their children.
Once upon a time, there were two poets. The poets found a young student and sang to her two songs of love. The young student compared them and found some small differences in both. One spoke of love and hopes for a new being; one spoke of love and a natural upbringing. One spoke of emotional love her unborn child; one spoke of physical love for his new son. However, small differences aside, she found one common thread. The fairy tales they sang to the young student were full of love. Therefore, the student must relate to the instructor that the poets sang love to her and they all lived â€œhappily ever afterâ€.
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