hyme Scheme- AABB|CCDEED* There is a change of rhyme scheme to highlight the realisation that old people do not choose to be old.
The rhyme scheme goes from DEE but goes back to D to mirror how the poet wants her childhood back/mirrors how child-like adults are; cyclical * There is a rhyme scheme to imitate limericks and children’s rhymes. Again, yearning of childhood. Format* Made up of 3 sentences to mimic a child. We sense the speaker is a child. * 10 lines altogether. Symbolic because the number 10 is what children can usually count up to and perhaps it is suggesting that the child is 10.
Themes:Loneliness-* The only other person mentioned are old people. Very unchildlike because “childhood” has connotations of friendship * People “going away” -> “beads had come unstrung” * The only belonging mentioned “my great-aunt Etty”. Strange because children are usually enraptured with toys and friends Deception-* Connotations of the world childhood are happy which fools the audience into believing that the poem would be reminiscing the past but it is actually lamenting * Although adults have many rights, they are unable to stop themselves of being “helplessly old” Detachment-* She doesn’t talk about her relationship with others or any other intimate relationship. She doesn’t talk about how close she and someone was which gives us a sense of loneliness and neglect * Portrays “grown up people” as a different entity from “I” Other:Shakespeare-* Shakespeare demonstrates the cyclical of life in his 7 stages of life. How you once again become a child as you grow old. The juxtaposition of “helplessly” young/old shows how similar the two ages are.
Personal Response:Sense of yearning for a lost childhood because she was neglected as a child. Maybe she was thrown in the care of her grandparents who did not give her mum love and attention and her parents weren’t around often either (implied from the lack of mention of parental care).Language Analysis:I used to think that grown-up people choseTo have stiff backs and wrinkles round their nose,And veins like small fat snakes on either hand,On purpose to be grand.Till through the banister I watched one dayMy great-aunt Etty’s friend who was going away,And how her onyx beads had come unstrung.I saw her grope to find them as they rolled;And then I knew that she was helplessly old,As I was helplessly young.