Analysis of the Poem ‘Half Past Two’
Time is a concept for some. For others it is a source of measurement. For those who detest it, it is the Eternal vanquisher and the Universal enemy of beauty. Here the poet puts forward the notion of Time as viewed by a child, immediately, through the childs’ actions and thoughts we are brought toward the main theme in the poem. Being, “innocence’ the poem is based on the basic thoughts of a child and how The child’s life is simplified into very organized and recognized actions, but actual time has no meaning.
Children are not rushed and ruled by the clock like adults are. It also reminds us of how nice it was to be a child and not have to worry about those things, This should possibly be the writers main idea of writing in persona of a child. The theme of innocence is cleverly brought out through the unique use of poetic devices, Structure and placement of words. The first most visible aspect which proves innocence is the structure.
The poem is set out in 11 stanzas of three lines each, each to slowly moving to define how time was moving in the boy’s situation. Due to the slow pace, the boy’s imagination is widely stretched and has drifted off into his own world where he interprets basic ideas that he encounters such as looking at a simple clock and expressing it as ‘Clock face, little eyes and two long legs for walking’ He describes the clock as an animated object which proves of his naive thinking.
He also starts the poem with ‘Once upon a time’ Which is a typical starting point of a child’s fairy tale, and most importantly there is the inclusion of compound words ‘Timetogohomenow’ by the way the writer presents this it sounds quite resentful because it shows how impatient the boy was to go home and didn’t enjoy being at detention one bit. He wanted to continue with his regular schedule and was extremely bored in the classroom. To add flavor to the poem, the poet has used a creative use of poetic devices. The child is not scared of his own actions, or of the act of being punished.
He is rather scared of the adjective “wicked”-the criticism he gets from the teacher; this is his primary concern. He longs for some token of appreciation. A child attaches significance to things he likes. This explains the Times he knew: ‘ Gettinguptime, timeyouwereofftime…’ The most important device which exists is, ‘Repetition’ refers to the boys weariness of being stuck in the classroom and how he longed to go back home ; ‘Into the…’ the amaphora of this line is very important because it reflects on how he was so lost in his own thoughts that his senses (Smell, Sight and
Hearing) began to overtake his behavior. Among the same phrase there is the inclusion of an oxymoron, ‘Silent Noise’ which reflects on his state of confusion. Also, with the description of the clock, we are also aware of how the child’s imagination works because even though he was unable to read time he described the hands with ‘two hands for walking’ this shows the innocence in his thought process as his imagination is so artistic to personify the hands of the clock as walking, we also know that this is how he whiled away his time, with nothing else to do besides stare at the clock.
Which finally brings us to the title, The Title of the poem tells us a lot of information even before we even read the poem. The information it puts across is that: A boy is told to stay behind until ‘Half Past Two’ but this has no-meaning to him because he has no concept of ‘time’. The boy can’t tell the time but yet he divides the day up into familiar, recognizable units, as in ‘schooltime’, ‘lunchtime’, ‘hometime’. This clearly displays on how the child took time so lightly and just wanted the detention to pass off due to the fact that he had nothing to do and was left bored.
In my opinion I feel that the poet has successfully managed to carry out the importance of the poem and has managed to deliver the main idea to the audience by also adding a bit of humor to the way it’s presented. I personally like the way the poem is presented and how the poet takes the persona of the child to describe the situation of how adults are so engrossed in work that they sometimes also forget about the time and long for more due to their business.
But as for kids, their actions are more relaxed and the kids have the ability to express their imagination in the wildest way possible and at their own paces. Yes, that’s another part I actually quite enjoyed in the poem. With the child’s vivid way of analyzing things and imagining each situation to be something magnificent, I enjoyed the way the writer has also placed the words among the poem to prove of the slow moving pace of the poem, yet it reads to be rather interesting.