Learning check

Questions about the poem

No study aids.

 

1 What is characteristic of the form of the poem?

 

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2 What is the rhyme scheme?

 

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3 What do parents do to protect their children from fear?

 

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4 What is the real warning in the poem?

 

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Wider contexts

1. Critical context: reception: excerpt from blog

Explain the following excerpt from a blog from 2007 commenting on Elizabeth Jennings’ poem “Warning to Parents”. Do you agree? 

“When all the philosophical and moral theologians have had their say about original sin, whether children are born with a propensity to sin, or are environmentally, genetically, behaviourally determined, or are free until their responsible conscious choices can be given moral significance; when the theologians think they have it sussed, Jennings' poem 'Warning to Parents' upsets the tidy theological game being played with the surprise finality of a cat jumping on a chess board.”

propensity    tilbøjelighed

suss               finde ud af

 

Wider contexts

2. Psychological context: comparison with the article “Why not everyone is a torturer”

Compare the ideas about evil expressed in the poem with those expressed in the article “Why not everyone is a torturer”, page 188.

 

Wider contexts

3. Literary context: other text by a different author: William Golding, Lord of the Flies

Read a summary of William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies (e.g. at www.bookrags.com; search Google for “Lord of the flies summary bookrags”) or see Peter Brooks’ film of the same name. You may also choose to read the following excerpts: Chap. 1, pp. 20-24, chap. 4, p. 74, middle of the page 78, l. 6 and chap. 12, p. 219 to the end (Faber Paperbacks, 1979).

Compare the attitude to evil portrayed in Lord of the Flies to the attitude in “Warning to Parents”.