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Eleven by Archibald Macleish Analysis

Autor:   •  December 5, 2012  •  Essay  •  399 Words (2 Pages)  •  4,661 Views

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The poem ‘Eleven' by Archibald MacLeish is about a boy who is frustrated by the way his parents restrict him. The speaker describes how the boy finds happiness in the shed with an old man. The poem conveys the theme of restriction and control caused by the boy's parents and this is shown through images, diction, tone and structure.

The theme suggested in the poem is that the boy feels restricted by his parents to do things what they want him to do. The boy is ‘mute' and every time he can he ‘would leave on tiptoe' to the shed. This shows that he want to get away from his parents. The poet makes the theme more evident by saying that the boy crosses the garden ‘tree by tree' almost hiding and enters the shed ‘with outstretched fingers'. The boy is angry at the fact that he has to do what his parents want him to but he is ‘rebellious' and leave the ‘three chairs on the verandah', which symbolises the family and goes to the shed. On contrary to the verandah environment, in the shed, the boy finds peace and ‘sits there, quiet, breathing'. This suggests that the boy feels happier when he is away from his parents.

The poet uses various images to show how the boy feels when he is with his parents and when he is in the shed with ‘the old gardener'. As the boy gets away from the ‘verandah', he crosses an ‘empty lawn' which suggests that the boy feels empty when he is with his parents. He is frustrated that his parents do not understand him and treat him as a ‘rebellious' and ‘stupid' child. On the other hand, as the boy enters the shed, the imagery becomes more positive as the boy feels happier there. The tools are personificated as they ‘gather' out of the ‘dazzled shadow' and are described as ‘wise'. This suggests that the boy also feels lonely and does not communicate well with his parents so he is imagining the tools as people to communicate


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