Nettles Poem Analysis

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‘Nettles’ is a poem written by a British poet and author Vernon Scannell, in the mid-1900’s. It is based on a strong parent-child relationship, a realization that there is no complete protection that a parent can provide for their child despite their devotion and love. ‘Havisham’ is written in the late 1900’s by Carol Ann Duffy, a Scottish poet and playwright. The protagonist is taken from a Charles Dickens character, Miss Havisham, from the book Great Expectations. It looks at the mental state of anger and bitterness of Miss Havisham when her fiance betrays and abandons her on her wedding day. Both ‘Nettles’, and ‘Havisham’ have aligning themes of pain and vengeance, as well as conflicting feelings of love and helplessness. These themes are…show more content…
The parent then takes a hook and slashes at the nettles until all of them have been cut. However, the nettles grow back within the following weeks, and the parents realize that they can not keep their son out of danger or vulnerability forever. Scannell effectively uses words such as, “fury” “fierce” “burn”, to convey strong feelings of anger, vengeance, and violence that the parents feel for hurting their son. He also uses alliteration in the phrases, “blisters beaded on his tender skin”, and “took my hook and honed the blade”, to bring attention to the words that express the pain and misery. There are also rhymes, such as “blade” and “parade”, or “rain” and “again”. These words have a fierce or bitter connotation, and each rhyme connects one sentence to the next, as well as create a harmony that readers are able to follow and understand. Contrary to this, the poem also presents the theme of helplessness with the last line, “My son would often feel sharp wounds again”, where the nettles grow back despite the outrage of the parents, and they find that there is nothing they can do for their child. Apart from the obvious storyline of the boy and his parents, there is also an allegory to a veteran suffering from the after-effects of war. This allegory is hinted by the strategic use of martial diction. Some examples include, “fallen”, “funeral”, “parade”, “pyre” and…show more content…
Initially, both characters act violently; the parent in ‘Nettles’ takes a hook to hack down the nettle bed, and Miss Havisham expresses strong feelings of hate, often threatening to strangle or stab her former fiance. However, the themes are communicated differently in the two poems, ‘Nettles’ has a more structured storyline with a clear beginning, middle, and end, while Miss Havisham further emphasizes the emotional aspect of the situation. Through this, the poems reflect how some conflicts lead to closure and realization, while others dramatically change the personality and behavior of a person
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