Frances Cornford Childhood Analysis Essay

I used to think that grown-up people chose
To have stiff backs and wrinkles round their nose,
And veins like small fat snakes on either hand,
On purpose to be grand.
Till through the banister I watched one day
My great-aunt Etty’s friend who was going away,
And how her onyx beads had come unstrung.
I saw her grope to find them as they rolled;
And then I knew that she was helplessly old,
As I was helplessly young.

This is a piece that really intrigues me because it manages to have both a childlike tone, and also one that is so spot-on in expressing the ‘helpless’ tragedy of old age. It evokes so beautifully the way that age defines us — both as a child, and as an elderly person.

Phrases like “grown-up people” and the notion of people getting “stiff backs” and  veiny hands “on purpose to be grand” ensure that the poet’s voice retains a childish element. We can all remember thinking things like this of ‘grown-ups’ when we were children; age limits the child’s understanding and empathy due to lack of experience.

The speaker describes her “great-aunt Etty’s friend” who’s beads have “come unstrung” and who gropes around to find them “as they rolled”. What a poignant image. The word ‘unstrung’ is carefully chosen – it delivers the notion of a life unravelling… It is an important moment in a child’s life, when they first realise the limitations and failings of adults – and when they first become conscious of their own mortality.

I’m sure everyone can relate to the feeling you get when you witness helpless old age, or helpless frailty. It does something to you because you are watching somebody suffer, but also because you are being faced with a weakness that you know is within you also, and that is hard to admit.

I think the word “helpless” is perfect in this situation. The old lady, great-aunt Etty is “helplessly old” and the speaker is “helplessly young”. Etty is limited by her frail body in her movements, and the speaker is limited in her empathy and understanding by her youth.

Reviewed by Emily Ardagh

analysisPoetry

...and WTO, France has a low level of corruption, a fair trade system and highly regulated safety standards and intellectual property rights. As the leading destination for FDI in the European Union, it is evident many other businesses have invested in Frances potential. Along with good demographics as a centralized country, France is one of the world’s top tourism destinations and the world’s second agricultural power. With many distinguished universities, France has a highly qualified, skilled workforce despite its regrettably high unemployment rate. Country’s Macro Environment Country Description: Democratic Republic of Congo is is a highly developed country, has the third largest economy in Europe after France and Germany with an approximate GDP of $2.48 trillion US dollars. . Its main trading partners are the USA, France, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain and Japan. . In 2011, the total trade in goods was$10.66 billion . France’s has a highly advanced infrastructure composed of a modernized transportation and telecommunication industry. There are over 84 canals which makes France one of the largest commercial waterways in Europe. Along with domestic and international airports, highways, roads, the French National Railway company, Train à Grande Vitesse, Eurotunnel’s, as well as extensive bike paths...

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *