Watching Your Child Grow

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Richard Wilbur’s “The Writer” as well as “High School Senior” by Sharon Olds, are two poems that focus on the growth of someone’s child as person. The narrator in “The Writer” speaks about watching his daughter explore the freedoms associated with growing up as she writes a story. In “High School Senior” the speaker describes her feelings as her daughter prepares to leave for college, and describes the eternal bond the two share. Both authors tackle a similar theme and portray their love for their daughter, as well as their ideas on growing up, using similar and distinctive literary devices and techniques from the other.

In “The Writer”, Richard Wilbur depicts a scene where his daughter is writing in a room. He recalls memories of an event where a small bird was trapped in the room his daughter now likes to write in. He describes it repeatedly trying to escape it’s prison and how after becoming all bloodied and battered it finally escaped. This can be viewed as an allegory for his daughter trying to find her freedom within the story she’s writing. This can also be seen as foreshadowing of the trials that growing up faces people with. Sharon Olds’ style of writing her poem “High School Senior” is more straightforward and descriptive of her actual daughter, verses Wilbur’s thought evoking allegory. She describes aspects of her daughter to try to cope with her leaving for college. She describes things like her daughters scent and the way she breaths and while using similes, for instance when she says her daughter squatted ‘like a bright tree-frog’ within her womb, creates a more open poem that is clear and straightforward the first time you read it.

After reading Wilbur’s poem multiple times the reader can notice a theme with ...

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...ewhat reserved like the narrator in “The Writer”, usually watching me and my sister and rarely speaking his feelings unprovoked.

“The Writer” and “High School Senior” by Richard Wilbur and Sharon Olds, respectively, are two poems that speak about a parents child growing up and finding themselves. The storyteller in “The Writer” watches his daughter explore the liberties associated with maturing as she writes a story. The narrator in “High School Senior” describes her thoughts as her daughter prepares to depart for college, and describes the immense love and connection she has with her daughter. Both authors attempt a similar theme and show affection for their daughters, as well as their views of life and growing up, using like and unique literary devices and techniques from the other two create two poems with many similarities written in different ways.

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