Nine Year Old vs an Easy Passage = Youth


How does ‘To My Nine Year Old Self’ and “An Easy Passage” present the theme of youth?

In both To My Nine Year Old Self and An Easy Passage we are presented with the idea of the progression of youth. In Nine Year Old the poetic speaker is looking back at her nine year old self and talking to her, with the poem beginning with a very negative tone, including the risks that she took as a child and by the end of the poem, the poetic speaker is back in adulthood, reflecting on how childhood shaped her body. However in An Easy Passage, the poem explores the contrast between adulthood and childhood, exploring the naivety of childhood.

In An Easy Passage, the title mirrors the term ‘rite of passage’ presenting this time as almost essential and experienced by all, the adjective ‘easy’ highlights the seeming lightness and joy of the moment, against the difficulties and the effect of ageing, initially it is perceived to be commenting on her ability to get into the house, but in a wider sense it is her passage into adulthood.

Both poems explore their themes within the poems structure, in Nine Year Old the ideas which are spoken about suggest this connection, is highlighted through the first line of the poem suggesting a reflective tone. Although there is a distance between both the speaker and her childhood self the use of rhetorical questions suggest that she is trying to close the gap on this lack of connection which she has. Them ideas within the poem look at youthful memories and the speaker’s past experiences. However throughout the poem, there is a contrast between the speaker and her nine year old self, there is a sense of reality through the speaker contrasted with the unawareness of the child and instead is living in the moment through her actions. Within the poem, there is also a lot of commas used to create pauses, suggesting the reflective tone and moments to reflect on her actions now, but it can also be seen as childlike with many pauses to put together a way to express the next thought or idea that has come into their head. The constant flow created through the poem then is a suggestion of the growing emotion that the poetic speaker is feeling. Furthermore, the at the beginning of the poem there are many end stopped lines with question marks and full stops, but as the poem progresses, this changes and becomes commas and hyphens. The change in the punctuation enables a more constant flow of speech, but with less separation, this can create an easier understanding of the poetic speaker’s swelling emotion and lack of clarity in this ‘letter’ as she becomes more embraced by the memories and nostalgia. The ridgid structure of the poem shows how adult lfie is much more regimented and structured than that of a child’s who is free to do as they pleaase. Also, the line length can


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