Being an adult usually implies that you have a power of perspective, that is, to see things in a larger system and then to understand these things as being symptomatic of this system. Naturally, children lack this ability and their sense of reality is tenuous and fragmented, and many times their only frame of reference is a shadowy emotional memory itself. Richard Wilbur in the poem The Writer and Margaret Atwood in her poem A Sad Child both recognize the violence of childhood consciousness and both have written poems suggesting where the child's line of self and perspective will be or may be under certain conditions. Both poets recognize the severe circumstances, the conceptual intensity, and the wavering devastation of being either too close or far away from the ego.
[...] She begins the poem, addressing the child, stating very clearly, “You're sad because you're sad (Atwood, line Instead of recognizing the wild darkness of childhood as being touching, she recognizes that the sadness of a child begins and ends in itself, and that there is shallowness to it, being that a child would only usually only be capable of this kind of sadness. Like Wilbur she recognizes that it is natural to experience shadowy feelings of unreality, sometimes the sadness accompanying this, and says, “Well all children are sad, but some children get over it (Atwood, lines The same way that Wilbur recognized the devastation that childhood tribulation can cause, Atwood does as well but with seemingly less sympathy. [...]
[...] Atwood is ostensibly less compassionate when it comes to the sadness of childhood only because she recognizes the vanity that it can lead to. The things she prescribes to the sad child, such as buying a hat, coat, or pet are all hideously inept things in dealing with a sadness that is truly chronic or crippling. It is almost more crucial to recognize the absence of words that Atwood uses in the poem. She noticeably never deviates from the word or “sadness” these words themselves being ill equipped to describe a profound devastation. [...]
[...] self and the things of her reality is spiritually and intellectually exhausting. For this reason he wishes her a “lucky passage (Wilbur, line The word is particularly relevant, as it is a word that is without sentimentality, and it suggests in itself the mercurial probability of one's own ability to actualize reality for oneself. Even after he thinks this his daughter pauses as if to reject the “easy figure” of his previous thoughts (Wilbur, lines He says that as she pauses the whole house itself seems to be thinking, another line suggesting that it is her entire sense of reality that is presently at stake. [...]
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