Born yesterday

Mind Map by lukevincent, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by lukevincent almost 7 years ago


Mind Map on Born yesterday, created by lukevincent on 05/14/2013.

Resource summary

Born yesterday
1 Subject
1.1 In the poem the speaker offers the child a welcome into the world and outlines what he hopes will become her attributes.
1.2 The poem briefly presents traditional good wishes and hopes offered on such occasions - "the usual stuff" - but follows with the suggestion of a less conventional path to "happiness" won by "An average of talents" rather than great beauty.
1.3 the poem was written shortly after Sally's (writter) birth, but "Born yesterday" is also a phrase used to describe someone who is clueless about the world. thus making the poems title a pun.
2 Structure
2.1 two sections, a ten-line stanza and a 14-line stanza. The lines are short and direct.
2.2 The first stanza concentrates on the presentation and eventual deflation of traditional wishes for a newborn child.
2.3 The second stanza presents the speaker's unconventional hopes for the child. The greater length of the second stanza is an indication of the belief that this attitude is more worthwhile.
3 Language
3.1 "tightly folded bud" over protective parents.
3.1.1 natural image associated with a newborn baby, that of the "Tightly-folded bud". This metaphor reflects the baby's curled posture.
3.2 The third and fourth lines start with negative words "None" and "Not", shifting the emphasis from "the usual stuff/About being beautiful" and leading a life "running off a spring/Of innocence and love".
3.2.1 The use of negatives undermines the presentation of traditional wishes as well as preparing the reader for the second stanza in which less conventional wishes are offered.
3.3 "may you be ordinary" doesn't want her to be different to other women.
3.4 "in fact may you be dull" he may consider being "dull" a good thing.
3.5 The speaker sets himself apart from "the others", brushing aside their sentiments ("They will all wish you that").
3.6 The closing lines are presented as a list, an energetic, optimistic outburst that contrasts with the previous language of being "average" and "dull".
3.7 The poet wishing the baby happiness in the future, but is more honest, realistic and sincere.
4 Attitudes, Themes and ideas
4.1 The speaker in Born Yesterday asserts the opinion that the best way of "Catching" happiness is to embrace the "ordinary", "dull" life that so many people experience.
4.1.1 To wish for more is perhaps to focus on unrealistic and ultimately damaging ambitions.
4.2 The language of the poem reflects certain beliefs: "ordinary", "average", "nothing uncustomary", "balance", "dull" are all presented as desirable qualities or conditions, despite their customary negative associations.
4.3 The "usual stuff" about wishing a newborn child a life of "beauty" and "love and innocence" is dismissed as naïve - perhaps those who wish such things are "born yesterday".
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