The Poems of Margaret Atwood

Reading "To a Daughter Leaving Home" and "Death of a Young Son by Drowning": Poetry Comparisons through Imagery and Symbolism College

Linda Pastan’s To a Daughter Leaving home and Margaret Atwood’s Death of a Young Son by Drowning both apply imagery and symbolism to exemplify the difficulties of being a parent. These poems describe the moments and instances that no parent wants to consider. They confirm that parenting can be the hardest job in the world. Both of the poems use similar styles of imagery and symbolism; they focus on two very different painful situations some parents have to experience.

To a Daughter Leaving home is describing an unfortunate situation where a mother comes to the realization that her daughter no longer needs her to guide her in life. It is never mentioned where the daughter is headed, instead, the poem focuses on the mom’s feelings and how hard it is to see her daughter go. She reminisces of the first taste of independence her daughter got years ago when she first learned how to ride a bike without her mother’s help. She describes her fear of when her daughter first rode away on the bike while she was left behind as her daughter vanished out of sight. She mentions that her daughter grew “more breakable with distance” (16-17). This phrase showcases her feelings of fear and anxiety which this situation has evoked. She has to watch...

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