Child And Insect Poem Analysis

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The poem “Child and Insect” describes a child’s first encounter with the dualistic nature of life – both its fragility and its tenacity; and the child’s response to his experience. The poet uses diction, stylistic devices, and vivid imagery to contrast the child’s life attitude towards life before the incident, and his attitude after the incident. Through the “story-like” nature of the way this poem is developed, the reader is able to experience the boy’s emotional journey and growth - from ignorance to understanding, empathize with the magnitude of the process to the boy, and understand how such an encounter may permanently change a child’s view of the world, and of himself. The reader is drawn immediately into the boy’s world with the first line – “He cannot hold his hand huge enough.” From the start, the reader is instantly able to sympathize with the boy’s fascination with the breadth of life: the insect he clutches between his hands is “huge,”…show more content…
The lack of any breaks in sentence and stanza structure conveys how sudden this revelation was. The “shrieking meadow” is immediately contrasted by the “silence” of the insect’s death. The abruptness with which life has been terminated is both shocking and paralyzing to the boy. The shocking nature of this event is conveyed by the break between the first and second stanzas, when the boy takes in the damaged grasshopper.
To the boy, the formerly exuberant life is “nothing” (12) now and it is contrasted effectively with the metaphor of life in the first stanza as a powerful beast. This contrast is startling and once again conveys the magnitude of such a revelation to the boy. The poet uses alliteration and diction to convey the ease with which fragile life can be destroyed. For example, in line 12: “snapped struts,” and in lines 13-14: “brittle” and
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