Poem Comparisson A Barred Owl The History Teacher

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It is always an awkward moment when an adult is expected to explain something complicated to a child. In most of these cases adults are forced to take a decision whether to tell the child the crude lie or whether to try and protect the child and cover it up with a harmless white lie. This idea is very well portrayed in two different poems both of which deal with the same topic, adults who lie to children to protect them. A Barred Owl by Richard Wilbur talks about a child who is waken up at night by the sound of the wind, which according to her father is just the sound of an owl from whom she must not be scared. On the other hand The History Teacher by Billy Collins deals with the euphemisms a history teacher uses in an attempt to protect his students’ innocence but in the end it turns out that the students are everything but innocent. These two poems are written in very different styles and even the reason for the lie is different which means that the only similarity would be the main theme of the poem which involves and adult lying to a child to protect him. The reason for the lie, the result of the lie, and the speaker’s attitude about lying to the child, lead us to understand that each of the poems is directed to a child of a different age. In A Barred Owl there are no apparent reasons for the adult to lie to the child, it is just a stupid lie in an attempt to get the child to go back to sleep. This is due to the fact that the child is about four to five years old, time when most of the kids suffer from nightmares. The poem uses assonance and alliteration in an attempt to make the poem sound like a nursery rhyme which gives more support to the theory that the child is small. There is also the use of metaphors which compare the wind to an owl. On the other hand, in The History Teacher there seems to be a reason for which the History teacher lies to the students.
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