Analysis, Central Idea and Theme of To My Grown Up Son

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Critical Analysis of To My Grown Up Son:

“To My Grown-Up Child” by Alice E. Chase is an intense poem, which touches and arrests the heart and emotion of everyone who reads it. It fundamentally conveys an insightful message to all parents – keeps aside some, if not most of their time for their children; because these special moments of today will become the precious treasures of future, which the parents can continue to muse over in their old age, with absolutely no regrets. This poem powerfully reveals the deep-rooted distress and nostalgias of a mother, for the years that have passed by, and cannot be retrieved or redone any longer. The seemingly best choices she had made in the past, as a dedicated and devoted mother who is always busy tending to the needs of her child – but not electing to share some fun times and little things asked by her child many a times, now haunts her as her not having “much time for” her child now seems like the most blasphemous act ever.


The years have now hurried past, and the empty-nester mom now longs sincerely to go back to those good old days and “stay a little while longer” in his room. When the child used to ask her to do little fun things together, those well-intended promises of “A little later” seldom became reality for she was always busy, leaving the child with his own company only.  Neither the lost opportunities nor the precious moments of bonding ever return, leaving the mother with the life -long regret of not spending enough time with him, causing her an anguish that can’t be measured with anything. The joblessness now reminds her of the busy days, the emptiness now reminds her of her son wanting attention, the barrenness now troubles her soul, triggering a helplessness that is aggravated by the sense of lost time.

Stanza-Wise Annotation of To My Grown Up Son:

3rd Stanza:

tuck you in: to put the child in bed, push and fold the edges of a bed cover

4th Stanza:

Confide: tell someone about a secret or private matter while trusting them not to repeat it to others

5th Stanza:

Yesteryear: last year or the recent past, especially as nostalgically recalled.

6th Stanza:

days are long: lack of work makes a day feel longer

Poetic Devices in To My Grown Up Son:

Figures of Speech:

2nd Stanza:

little later: This is an example of alliterations, for we spot the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of the closely connected words.

3rd Stanza:

minute more: This is an example of alliterations, a figure of speech characterized by the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of the closely connected words

5th Stanza:

children’s games: This is a transferred epithet, a figure of speech, here we find the use of the word “children’s” not required for it’s a given that games are played by children. ,

Rhyme Scheme:

The poem To My Grown Up Son by Alice E Chase, has six stanzas with four lines each. End rhyme has been used extensively is the poem all throughout. It follows the rhyme pattern of aabb/ccdd/eeff/gghh/aaii/jjbb

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Central Idea of To My Grown Up Son:

The poem To My Grown Up Son by Alice. E Chase is a lament of the mother, voicing a regret felt by all mothers once their children grow up, for its then they realize the wrong set of priorities they had set for themselves, causing them to miss out on precious times with their little ones. Hence, the central idea of the poem is to utilize every moment and strike a beautiful balance between doing chores and spending quality time with their children, for once time flies by, and their children grow up, they would wish they had spent more time with them, given them more attention instead of perfecting the household, for a child needs nothing more than love and company during their growing up years, and the only one they go to with all their requests and queries is their dear mother. The poet enlightens us how they have grown up really fast, stressing on how she wishes she had done things differently, listened to the requests and obliged to them, for being their playmates would help create lasting memories, doing the dishes wouldn’t. We can perceive a form of warning in her lamentation, urging all to not make the mistake she did, for when one realizes it, it’s always too late, since one can’t go back in time and redo things differently.

Themes of To My Grown Up Son:

The theme that is forbearing in the entire poem is that of seizing moments of little joy that comes in the form of one’s children, for time slips through one’s fingers as quick as sand. Without running behind mundane everyday errands, that all of us inevitably do without even realizing it,  we remain unaware of those innumerable moments life can be lived in causing us to be enriched, those countless times we fail to recognize the opportunities we are provided with to achieve fulfillment of the soul and those incalculable times we make the wrong choice, ignoring whats truly precious for what is insignificant.

The theme of transience is stressed upon too, for the poet reminds us how swiftly life moves for her child is now grown up, gone are the days of childhood through which she hurried tricking herself to believe that she had time on her side. It’s only when he has grown up, that she realizes time in life waits for none, and at the end of the day one is left without an option but to only “wish” choices made were different.

The Tone of To My Grown Up Son:

“To My Grown up son” as the name suggests, is a mother s note to her loved son, who is now a grown up. Hence, the tone of the poem is very informal and personal, filled with emotional fervor. The poet adopts a disconsolate tone when she tells us about the days of her past life and the importance of treasuring each day, making the most of all the little moments of life, seizing the little joys a child has to offer, for too soon the present becomes the past, leaving us all wishing we did things differently. She adopts an emotionally rich tone when she elucidates the sentiments common to all mothers. The tone of the poet is very crestfallen throughout since she has no option but to only reminisce and regret. On the whole, the poem has a remorseful tone that strikes a chord leaving all to examine the choice they make in their daily lives.

Conclusion

To My Grown Up Son is a decidedly rousing piece which conveys an extremely imperative life lesson, that of spending as much time as possible with one’s child, regardless of all other work that one might be expected to do. It’s these memories made, it’s that time spent together that will shape the child s memory box, also him as a person. The presence of the mother in the life of the child isn’t limited to sewing, cooking and cleaning for him, but in being with him emotionally throughout his growing period. The poet has used a very simplistic style to impart a momentous meaning, enhancing the beauty of the poem. The message that the poem diffuses into its readers is more of a reminder how fast life goes by and how important it is too slow down and examine what is really important in this journey, lest precious time be spent on worthless things. It is relevant to readers of all times, making this poem as significant now as it was when it had been published first.

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