How do Morrissey and a poet of your choice present a parent-child relationship?
In this essay I will compare the ways that Sinead Morrissey and Eavan Boland present a parent-child relationship in ‘Genetics' and ‘Inheritance'.
In ‘Genetics', Morrissey presents parent-child relationship as one that is embedded in us, especially to the child. This is clear through the way Morrissey uses a poetic pastiche as she plays with the structure of a villanelle, which could relate to the way that in a parent-child relationship, our genetics play with the way that we resemble with our parents. The use of this structure and the repeated reference to the speaker's hands, "my fathers in my fingers, but my mothers in my palms" shows that not only that a parent-child relationship is one that we grow up having, but it is embedded in us, in our genetics. The use of personal pronouns shows how a relationship like this is personal to the speaker but also provokes sympathy in the reader as it is a relationship that many can relate to. Furthermore , the reference to "fingers" and "palms" could also perhaphs suggest that in a parent-child relationship, the parents are always there for the child, presenting the relationship as a go to place because it is at the tip of the child's ‘fingers' and is handed to them in their ‘palms' from birth. This is further emphasised by the change in the refrain "I know my parents made me by my hands" but ends with "we know our parents made us by our hands. Despite the slight word change, Morrissey continues to reference the idea of hands and palms throughout, showing that she is remaining connected to the connection to her parents and the slight change shows how parent-child relationships change throughout our lives and although "they may have been repelled to different lands" the relationship still remains constant as it is imbedded in us.
Eavan Boland presents this parent-child relationship in the same way, but not as frequently as it is only made clearer towards the end and the speakers relief "as if I knew the secrets of health and air, as if I understood them" after worrying throughout her poem that she has nothing materialistically valuable for her daughters to inherit. This idea of it this relationship being embedded in us is shown by the mothers natural instinct o of helping get rid of her child's fever and presents the relationship as something that is embedded in us like a mother's instinct, rather than being learnt the rules of parenthood.
In addition to this, Eavan Boland presents a parent-child relationship as something that puts pressure on a person. We see how the mother stresses how "gifts that were passed through generations- silver and the fluid left after silk- were never given here". At this point in the poem we see how the speaker feels pressure to have expensive items such as and ‘silver' and ‘silk' to pass down to her daughters. This is further emphasised the sibilance as the concrete ‘s' sounds creates a sense that the speaker thinks that materialist value is more important to her child and she is feeling pressured as she admits that those materialistic items were "never given here". Another way that Boland possibly presents the stress is through the short stanza and the caesuras which could symbolize how little she can give to her daughters and how she pauses in realisation because she is hesitant to admit she does not have these materialistic items. This contrasts to Morrissey's ‘Genetics' which represents a parent-child relationship as something about togetherness and love, rather than being based on the stress of needing to leave behind materialistic items for your children to inherit. We see how the speaker remembers her parent's relationship and is more concerned with her parent's relationship as "I re-enact their wedding with my hands". This shows that in parent-child relationship, the child admires the relationship of their parents and despite their separation the speaker still reminisces on the ir relationship rather than stressing about it the way that the speaker does in ‘Inheritance'.
To conclude, both poets use a child's perspective and a parent's perspective to present