To My Nine-Year-Old Self - Helen Dunmore

Anna Wilson
Mind Map by Anna Wilson, updated more than 1 year ago
Anna Wilson
Created by Anna Wilson about 4 years ago


Mind Map on To My Nine-Year-Old Self - Helen Dunmore, created by Anna Wilson on 01/11/2016.

Resource summary

To My Nine-Year-Old Self - Helen Dunmore
1 The poems tells a one-sided conversation as the poet imagines she has gone back in time to address her nine-year-old self. She reflects on the mistakes she has made, and envies the child her carefree innocence.
2 STRUCTURE - six stanzas of uneven length, varied sentence lengths. Fragmented rhyme - sounds conversational and natural to say.
3 LANGUAGE - colloquial, conversational - 'you must forgive me.' Active verbs such as 'run, climb, leap' show unrestrained energy of children. Double entendre of 'scars' - both physical and emotional. 'Do you remember how...?' sense of nostalgia, regret for her lost innoncence. Contrasts pleasant, light-hearted elements- 'baby vole, sherbert lemons' with sudden repulsive image of 'cesspit.' Image of innocence marred by realism 'men in cars after girl-children' - the child is already losing her innocence and becoming aware of the dangers of the world. Poem ends with visceral, uncomfortable image 'slowly peeling a ripe scab from your knee to taste it on your tongue' reclaims reader's attention, induces physical repulsion.
4 VOICE - first person - personal reflections, addresses younger self directly as 'you', occasionally unifies to 'we' particularly in 3rd stanza. Maintains adult persepctive. Tone is sometimes nostalgic, most often bleak, reminiscent - 'I have fears enough for us both' - ominous suggestion of hardships to come as the child grows. Present tense - encounter is happening as the poem is read.
5 Compare with 'An Easy Passage' by Julia Copus - both explore themes of adulthood compared to childhood and the transition between the two.
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