Summary Of The Poem Prayer Before Birth

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As the poem ‘Prayer Before Birth’ is in a form of a prayer, it features repeated use of first person, followed by imperatives to God. The poem comprises eight stanzas with various lines. Every stanza starts by depicting the speaker as a child who is still not born, which is then followed by an imperative on the same line of verse, in a single request’s form (excluding the last stanza, which is also the shortest [used for emphasis by Louis MacNeice]). Similar to ‘A Mother In A Refugee Camp,’ it is a free verse. Nevertheless, the exceptionally high level of repetition of the structures of phrases, and the use of personal pronouns like ‘me’ as the last word of the first and the last line of every stanza, creates a rhythm to the poem. Every stanza (excluding the last one) is a single sentence, echoing the prayer format of the poem. Interestingly, the opening stanza sets the scene by using childish fears like “club-footed ghoul” to gain sympathy from the reader. The dramatic nature of this monologue increases by a series of increasing lines in stanzas (excluding the sixth and the last stanza), which builds up the potential consternation of the world like a crescendo. The cascading lines could portray the danger and chaos of life on earth. In contrast, the last stanza is extremely brutal and a matter of fact statement designated to shock the reader and emphasise the severity of the core message of the poem; as the unborn baby would rather be aborted than to live in a world of sin;

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