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Hide and Seek & Half-past Two

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Compare how the theme of childhood is presented in the poems Half Past Two and Hide and Seek. The theme childhood is presented in both the poems but it’s presented differently, it’s presented more like a fantasy story in Half Past Two while in Hide and Seek it’s presented more realistically. Vernon Scanell tells in details about one game of Hide and Seek when he was a kid so perhaps he addresses himself as the little kid while U.A.Fanthorpe was a teacher so she perhaps would’ve written about something she had witnessed. Half-past Two by U.A. Fanthorpe is a poem about an innocent young boy; it has very cliché fantasy like characters: an innocent hero and a powerful and wicked villain, the poem also begins with a cliché of fairytales, “Once upon.” Capital letters are used by the writer to emphasize on the dominance of the teacher. She is portrayed as a villain, the writer says, “Being cross, she’d forgotten She hadn’t taught him Time.” She is depicted as a short tempered, dominant and a wicked woman while the child is portrayed as a weak, innocent and confused boy, he has no clue about how to read the clock, “He knew the clockface, the little eyes and two long legs for walking, but he couldn’t click its language.” The personification shows his confusion as well as in Half-past Two, the readers feel sympathetic towards the young boy and it makes you realize the innocence of childhood.

Time is personified in the end as well, “He escaped into the clockless land” and it also ends with cliché phrase: “for ever” While Hide and Seek by Vernon Scannell starts by him perhaps telling the story in the present looking back at the past. The poem starts with a positive thought, talks about the seaside, Vernon Scannell uses the word “You” which is ambiguous and it could perhaps mean that he is addressing himself as a kid or he is addressing the readers. There is a sense of excitement and feeling of discomfort at the same time, while playing the game: “You mustn’t sneeze.” There is also a sense of strong competition, “Don’t move. Stay dumb,” but eventually the mood of the poem changes, it starts turning slightly negative from a positive one, “scuffle.” There is exaggerated perception of time in the poem, “It seems a long time,” that shows children exaggerate things especially things such as time. Personification is used to describe the cold weather as it also creates a feeling of discomfort, “The cold bites through your coat.”

In the end he calls out to his friends but eventually finds out he is calling out to no one, the personification shows the child is left with sense of isolation and loneliness, “The darkening garden watches. Nothing stirs. The bushes hold their breath; the sun is gone.” In the end, the last line is perhaps the writer in the present situation asking the question which gives the readers a feeling of nostalgia for childhood friends because it makes the readers feel that he misses his childhood friends. In Hide and Seek there were different moods throughout the poem, it starts off with a young excited boy, who is really focused in the middle he feels a bit shocked when they don’t come to search for him for a long time and in the end when he finds out his friends have left him, he feels disappointed. In Half-past Two the boy’s mood doesn’t change much throughout the poem.

In Half-past Two, the boy is forcefully isolated while in Hide and Seek, the boy somewhat chooses to isolate himself by playing the game as he had to hide alone. In both the poems the emotions of the children and their point of views are conveyed to the readers and the readers feel sympathetic towards the young characters. Both the poems make the readers realize the innocence of childhood and how some incidents can be too memorable such as U.A.Fanthorpe doesn’t even remember what the child was punished for but she remembers the whole incident and even though it was just a game of hide and seek Scannell remembers it till now with little details as well.

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