Child's Eyes: The Poetry of Ann Taylor Thesis

Pages: 5 (1600 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 2  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature

¶ … Child's Eyes:

The Poetry of Ann Taylor

Children's lives and behaviors are explored and celebrated in the poetry of Ann Taylor. Taylor's poetry is didactic and musical in its attempt to teach children and celebrate being a child. Rhymes are the best way to convey knowledge to children because it is pleasing to hear and duplicate and children are more likely to remember a rhyme that simple prose. Taylor was one of the first poets to write verse for children and her poems remain popular today because of their simplicity and their ability to reach children at their level. Simplistic images and ideas are used to appeal to the nature of children as well as stay within the realm of their comprehension. Taylor's poems cover topics that appeal to children as well as offer instruction regarding behavior. Taylor's themes range from acknowledging a mother's love, positive and negative character traits, and the notion and worship of God. "The Star," "To a Little Girl That Has Told a Lie," "For a Naughty Little Girl," "The Vulgar Little Lady," "Meddlesome Matty," "Learning to Go Alone," and "My Mother" are example of Taylor's ability to reach children where they are in a way that is appealing and well-remembered. Taylor's poems remain popular because themes of goodness and virtue never go out of style and their rhythmic quality resonates with anyone, regardless of age.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Thesis on Child's Eyes: The Poetry of Ann Taylor Assignment

Taylor wrote her rhymes for children and she recognized how children instinctively understood and were drawn to anything that is rhythmic. She knew that children could be enchanted with sound and the simple singsong rhythm of verse. Sound is significant because it is pleasing to the ears and meaning comes second after the child's attention has been captured with sound. This special feature is one trademark of Taylor's poetry. Part of Taylor's talent was imagining her poetry through the mind of a child and writing on a level on which a child could relate. Her poems are full of charm that appeals to a child's heart. Simple rhyme schemes and a limited vocabulary make her poetry a success among children and adults. They are easy to recite and incredibly easy to memorize. An example of this type of singsong quality that her poetry possesses is "The Star." This poem may be one of Taylor's most beloved because of its mystical topic. We are immediately presented with an image that is out of this world by speaking to a star that is "Up above the world so high, / Like a diamond in the sky" (the Star 3-4). In addition, we read:

When the blazing sun is gone,

When he nothing shines upon,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle, all the night. (4-8)

This poem illustrates Taylor's penchant for rhyme with a rhyme scheme of aabb. The nature of the poem appeals to a child's sense of wonder and encourages a child's imagination.

Morality is a significant theme that emerges in Taylor's poems. One poem that teaches children about morality is "To a Little Girl That Has Told a Lie." The rhyme scheme is aabbcc and, again, we see an example of Taylor's gift for rhyme. The poet explicitly mentions God and behavior together as to teach children that they are never alone and God is always watching them. The poet speaks directly to the child, asking her if she has told a lie, following that with the more important question, "Did she forget that GOD could see / and hear, wherever she might be?" (to a Little Girl That Has Told a Lie 5-6). The poet goes on to tell the child that God is her creator and he "can discern / Whichever way you think to turn; / He made your ears, and he can hear / When you think nobody is near" (7-10). The message of goodness is emphasized when the poet says, "Yes, GOD has made your duty clear... And conscience, like an angel kind, / Keeps watch to bring it to your mind: / Its friendly warnings ever heed, / and neither tell a lie- nor need" (31-4). Another poem that reflects the same attitude is "For a Naughty Little Girl." The poet mentions God and good behavior again when she states, "GOD sees you, who lives in the sky" (for a Naughty Little Girl 4) and that God "sees you within and without, / and always looks down, from His glory above, / to notice what you are about" (10-12). The poem ends on a positive note, with the poet telling the child to stop crying because she knows that she has done wrong and that she knows she will never do wrong again because "I'm sure you must feel it a terrible pain, / to be naughty and crying so long" (19-20). These poems demonstrate Taylor's ability to reach children at their own level while providing them instruction. The rhyming nature of the poems make the learning of the lesson somewhat easier.

Good manners are accentuated in the same way - with sing-song poems that are appealing to the ear. In "The Vulgar Little Lady," gentility becomes the prominent topic of concern, with the speaker addressing the child after she has assumed she is better than someone else because of what she is wearing. The speaker tells the child, "There's nothing so vulgar as folly and pride, / Though dress'd in red slippers and lace" (15-6) and:

Not all the fine things that fine ladies possess

Should teach them the poor to despise;

For 'tis in good manners, and not in good dress,

That the truest gentility lies. (16-9)

Here, the child is taught that we should never judge a person by how they look or what they wear because the finer things we possess cannot be bought. Good manners become the topic in "Meddlesome Matty." In this poem, the child is shown the results of behavior that is unbecoming and meddlesome. Matilda is nosy beyond her own good and this trait brings her more trouble than she bargains for when she snoops inside grandmamma's snuff box. We know the little girl could not resist temptation when we read:

Sometimes she'd lift the tea-pot lid,

To peep at what was in it,

or tilt the kettle, if you did

But turn your back a minute. (Meddlesome Matty 7-10).

While this behavior may seem harmless to a child, it is not what a well-behaved child does. The poem goes on to explain what happens when a child does misbehave. Once the child opens the box and "The snuff came puffing in her face" (36).

Matilda, smarting with the pain,

And tingling still, and sore,

Made many a promise to refrain

From meddling evermore. (49-52).

Here the child is allowed to see what can happen when we allow curiosity to get the better of us. To misbehave is unpleasant enough, but to suffer the consequences is sometimes worse.

Other themes that Taylor's poems touch upon are the safety that can be found in having loving parents. A mother's love is also conveyed in "Learning to Go Alone," we see how the poet instills a sense of security when she writes, "Run along, and never fear, / I'll take care of baby dear" (Learning to Go Alone 3-4). Similarly, we see the depth of a mother's love in "My Mother" when the poet writes, "When pain and sickness made me cry, / Who gazed upon my heavy eye, / and wept for fear that I should die?" (My Mother 1-3) and "When thou art feeble, old and grey, / My healthy arm shall be thy stay, / and I will soothe thy pains away, / My Mother" (My Mother 21-4). These poems focus on the joy of being a child through the security… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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