Parenting Poems

4 April 2015
A comparison of “The Red Hat” by Rachel Hadas and “A Watts Mother Mourns While Boiling Beans” by Etheridge Knight.

This paper compares “The Red Hat” by Rachel Hadas and “A Watts Mother Mourns While Boiling Beans” by Etheridge Knight. Both poems are about parenthood. The two authors have related poems in that the subjects are both about protecting their children from external forces once they walk out of the house.
“Symbols and metaphors are used in the two poems to describe the feelings of the mothers regarding their sons. The Hadas poem uses symbolism in the line, “Already ties are feeling and not fact.” The ties symbolize the unseen bond between parent and child and how they affect emotions. Another place symbolism is used in this poem is in the line, “parallel paths part; he goes alone from there.” The parallel paths symbolize how children are with their parents when they are little and then they start to pull away and walk down their own paths as they get older. Hadas also uses metaphors in her poem like the one used in the line, “The watcher’s heart stretches, elastic in its love and fear. In this line the author is comparing the ability of the mother’s heart to stretch in the same fashion as elastic. Metaphors are also used in the line, in the eddies of this change, empty, unanchored, perilously light In this line eddies or whirlpools are used to describe the mother’s emotions. Also in this line she refers to her emotions as unanchored such as a boat would be unanchored and allowed to drift aimlessly. These metaphors subtlety reinforce the authors need to show us the mother’s feelings of love and worry for her son.

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