Analysis of ‘Bear in There’ by Shel Silverstein

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“Bear in there” is written by the artist-poet Shel Silverstein. It is a single stanza poem consisting of 17 lines & 79 words. It is a light & uplifting poem. It was published in Silverstein’s collection of the poem “A Light in the Attic” in the year 1981. Shel Silverstein’s poetry is simple and enjoyable for even young readers and his work remains wildly loved even after his death. This poem is a good example of his humorous writing style.


Bear in There Poem by Shel Silverstein Analysis

In this humorous poem Bear in There, the poet is ranting about how a polar bear has taken over the “Fridgitydaire.” The poet addresses the general concern of having a bear take over his fridge. The bear “likes it cause it’s cold in there.” The bear could refer to a naughty child, we could preferably take the example of a mother & son. The bear won’t leave because he likes it’s cold in the fridge and he can eat all the food he wants He has a control of the situation just by being himself and scaring off anyone disturbing him. The bear is used as a metaphor for the unruly “teenage kid” who proves to be quite a menace at home. The bear has made himself a “seat in the meat”, and put his “face on the fish.” These lines suggest how the teenagers usually gormandize the food, especially in an ill-mannered way.

Teenage is considered to be one of the most bewildering periods of life & the parent’s face hardship raising their children. The transition from childhood to teenage marks a profound change not only physically but also mentally. Teenagers are known to be voracious eaters. The poem suggests the churlish attitude of a teenager once he starts eating the food. The poem draws a parallel between the polar bear & the teenager because of the similarities in their food habit. The teenager has in a way colonized the fridge imposing a concern to his parent’s.

bear in there poem delves deeper into the psyche of the parents having to bear with the “famished” teenage kid. The reader can relate to the poem with ease as they themselves have experienced the same thing. Even after all this, the bear is far from being content he is shamelessly “nibbling the noodles”, “munching the rice”, “slurping the soda” and “licking the ice.” This suggests that the teenage kid is still not satisfied after having a hefty amount of food. It further alludes to the fact that the narrator is angered and is complaining about it all at once. Moreover, the bear does not want to be disturbed as it roars when the door is opened. This implies that the teenage kid is more likely to resort to hostility if he is corrected for his manners. “And he lets out a roar/ If you open the door/ And it gives me a scare” we learn that the parent would not tell the kid otherwise.


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bear in there poem bears the frustration of an angered parent. The speaker might likely be the frustrated mother trying to deal with the changing nature of her growing child. The poem is full of imagery. The reader finds himself transported into the world of the poet’s creation. The use of appropriate words also plays an important role in the understanding of the poem. The poem carries a universal message which is applicable to every person. The reader feels the relevance to the situation at hand because he has been through the similar state in the past.

The poet is trying to show the reader just how central food is to the “teenage” kid. It is more likely to assume that their world revolves around only food. The act of roaring of the bear can be compared to the aggressiveness of the child when he is told otherwise. In fact, it seems that the parent is scared of their child & his behavior.  The fridge is his domain or the second room & anyone daring to cross the threshold of his territory has to bear the fear of his wrath. The parents have been the subjected to this wrath & therefore are fearful of him. The note of humor in the poem creates a perfect ambiance for the reader. It is a well-crafted poem with a humorous undertone. The idea of stationing the bear in the center of the poem and drawing a parallel with the teenager exhibits his brilliance. This poem is a work of art & is thoroughly amusing to read & comprehend.

 Bear in There Poem by Shel Silverstein Theme/Central Idea

The underlying theme of the poem is the idea of love & tolerance. It also states how unruly and difficult children can be at times. It addresses the angst of the parents having to cope with their children. It also dives into the depths of the turbulent relationship of love & hate between the parent & their children. It addresses the bittersweet truth of the period of adolescence. Teenage marks the period of change. This change is apparent in the child’s food habit & also in his display of aggression. It is a confusing phase for the parent as they struggle to understand their children. The fridge is the second home of a growing child as his hunger pangs get the better of him. Also, it is a difficult period to condition them into behaving properly. It is more likely that they will take it in a negative way. This scares the concerned parents. This sort of behavior was previously unfathomable but the new changes have presented a problem for the parents. They are finding it difficult to cope with the changes in the situation.

Nevertheless, the poem provides the reader with a sense of warmth. The imagery is playful. The overall mood of the poem is a jovial one. Even the young readers will find it amusing to read. The poem leaves the reader’s head reeling with thoughts as it invokes a strong imagination. Although it is an uncanny situation where the bear has occupied the fridge but the reader actually finds it realistic enough. Bears are adorable to look at & so are the children. But, if anybody tries to get in their way they become aggressive. The poem is light & uplifting and leaves a good impression on the reader’s mind.

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