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The History Teacher Poem Analysis

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Through the common use of poetic devices, the two poems share a common theme: innocence. Whether it is the losing of one’s innocence or protecting others innocence; the poets try to advised other with their words to not repeat the mistakes as their speakers did. In “Southern History” by Natasha Trethewey and “The History Teacher” by Billy Collins, the poets both demonstrate innocence through diction, allusion, imagery, and tone. The poem “The History Teacher” by Billy Collins describes a history teacher’s attempt to protect the innocence of his students. The harsh realities of life is sugar coated to his students as he teaches them history; however, his attempts proved fruitless. At the beginning of his lesson, he uses understatement as a poetic device. For instance, he suggests the Ice Age as the Chilly Age because they all just had to wear sweaters. The War of the Roses taking place in a garden and the Enola gay dropping one tiny atom on Japan represents the children in the poem. The "one tiny atom" symbolizes the realization that these "innocent" children are no so innocent. It is ironic the history teacher is trying to protect their innocence by withholding the truth about history; however, the children are unable to see the wrong in their actions, for learning history can prevent it from repeating. Once class was dismissed, there was a shift in the speaker 's tone. In addition, the speaker 's tone went from a sarcastic to a calm destructive tone. When the children
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