Relationship Between Father and Child in Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad by Jan Heller Levi and In the Well by Andrew Hudgins

Relationship Between Father and Child in Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad by Jan Heller Levi and In the Well by Andrew Hudgins

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The simultaneous distance and closeness within the relationship between the father and the child are inevitable even in the most tragic and happy events in life. The poems “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” by Jan Heller Levi and “In the Well” by Andrew Hudgins are both about the closeness and distance in a father and child relationship. Both poems are written in first person, or in the child’s point of view to emphasize the thoughts of distance and the experience of childhood thinking to the readers. The poems both use similar literary devices such as motifs and imagery to illustrate and accentuate the ideas of each event that the narrator, a child, experiences. Similarities between both poems are the use of water as a motif of the barrier to being farther away from the father, and the use of different synonyms for the word, father, to indicate the amount of distance at each point in the poems. On the other hand, each poem takes its route of distance in completely opposite directions. “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” by Jan Heller Levi and “In the Well” by Andrew Hudgins accommodate the similarities for the use of the same motif, water, and the use of several synonyms for “dad” throughout the poems, but also differentiate because they proceed in opposite directions from the beginning to the end.
In both poems, water is used as a motif to convey the barrier to being farther away from the father. From the poem, “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad” the line “That icy ocean between us” is where the narrator talks about how the distance between her and her father is so far she even doubts whether he will even save her, even though “You [father] were moving as fast as you can” (Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad 14,16). These lines are important in the poem because the poem depi...


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... motif of distance from the father. The narrators in both poems, children, focus on their fathers and consequently the distance between each of them. In “Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad”, the daughter with the fun enjoying “Dad” that swims and leads to the “Icy ocean between us” (Not Bad, Dad, Not Bad 14) to symbolize the distance between the two literally and in their relationship. In “In the Well”, the daughter goes down the deep dark well close to the water where she could “taste fear” (In the Well 4-5), which then in the end she comes back up the well and comes to the “Light” (20) and her “Daddy”(15) where she is safe and at peace. Both poems depict the clear understanding of distance and the closeness of a parent to child relationship at even the simplest of occasions.No matter how far away the child is, the parent, in this case the father, is always there for support.


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