First 516 words of the document:
Subject: This is about a boy spending an afternoon with his younger brother and his friend, and explores the
relationship between siblings. It is written from an adult perspective but considers the feelings of the
older brother who thinks of his younger brother as an inconvenience.
Themes: The distance between the ages, regret and loneliness.
Emotions, Aspiration to be older-
Moods, They want to do 'what grown-ups do' is apparent through the poem. In the first stanza, the older
Feelings: children discuss football and are dismissive of the younger boy as if they are wiser.
The speaker sees age as an advantage: 'His smile, like mine, said I was nine and he was ten'. The
speaker is reflecting the naively superior feelings of the older boys. The shared smile also hints at their
close friendship, an intimacy which is craved by the younger brother but will be denied him because of
the 'distance' between the brothers.
Frustration- the narrator and Paul want to get away from the younger child.
Guilt- the narrator presents his younger sibling as eager, using childlike innocent terms. This makes the
narrator's actions seem worse.
Regret- the poem suggests that, even at the time, part of him wanted to go back, and he wishes that he
could close the 'distance' in his relationship with his younger sibling.
Inconsiderateness - the older children don't go back for their younger sibling. The narrator recognises in
the poem this was a mean thing to do, hinting at the regret he feels - 'I ran on, unable to close the
distance I'd set in motion'. This portrays the way that the tensions in family relationships often go back
to childhood, to events that may have seemed trivial at the time.
Impatient- even through the poet presents the younger brother as eager, innocent and childlike: 'you
skipped beside us' but at the time the narrator was impatient and frustrated at being 'saddled' with him.
In contrast to his younger brother, he though the he knew it all: 'doing what grown-ups do' and looking
back the poet seems to know now that he has made a really bad decision by leaving the youngster
behind. It seems to have caused a rift between them which the poet blames himself for 'the distance I'd
set in motion'.
What techniques are Metaphor- sets the tone for the relationship between the two brothers: 'Saddled' suggests
used the negative feelings the speaker has for his brother, as if he is an inconvenience, restricting
And what effect do the freedom of the speaker. With the third stanza makes it clear that the older boys are still
they children, despite how they would like to be seen by the world: they 'chased Olympic Gold'
Have on the reader:
Bethany Cunningham Brothers
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The voice of the speaker suggests throughout that he is feeling resentment towards the
'ridiculous tank-top' of the younger brother and his 'six-year-old views'.
The childhood feeling of superiority is later regretted by the speaker, however.…read more
Here's a taster:
How it makes the The friendship in the poem is important, and yet the final image suggests the loss that the
reader feel? speaker feels at not being closer to his brother. 'I ran on, unable to close the distance I'd
set in motion'. It seems that the younger boy will miss the bus and so be separated from
the brother he wants to be like and be with. The older boy is probably relieved not to be
'saddled' with him anymore.…read more