Gwendolyn Brooks Paper - Fain1 Victoria Fain ENGL 1102 Dr....

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Fain1 Victoria Fain ENGL 1102 Dr . Waren 04-10-08 The Social Construction of Childhood in Gwendolyn Brooks’s Poetry Though, Gwendolyn Brooks was born in a small suburb in Topeka, Kansas she grew up in Chicago in the South Side . Her poetry is very much influenced by her surroundings . In an interview Brooks stated, “I wrote about what I saw and heard in the street . I lived in a small second-floor apartment at the corner, and I could look on one side and then the other . There was my material” (New York Times obituary). Much of her writing is about the South side of Chicago and the way children grow up there . The poems “A Song in the Front Yard”, “We Real Cool”, and “A Boy Died in My Alley” are some of the many poems by Brooks that show how children and teenagers are influenced and shaped by the world around them, progressively lousing there self and individuality . In her poetry Brooks show how the social construction of childhood and the forces of the city gradually affect the children as they grow into adulthood . Brooks in “A Song in the Front Yard” shows how children are influenced by their surroundings and want to be like the people they see around them” . This poem uses the metaphor of the back and front yard of a house to show the persona . The front
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Fain2 yard is the character that everyone sees and that is made to look pretty and cared for well, while the back yard is the real person that no one sees and that is not kept up as nicely The speaker in the poem shows an interest in going into the back yard to see what it is like . She says “They do some wonderful things/ They have some wonderful fun” (Brooks, 857) . This shows that the speaker has been influenced by those in her neighborhood and thinks they are worthy of imitating . She wants to have the fun that she thinks that the other children who come from bad homes have . Brooks also shows how children are influenced by there parents in “A Song in the Front Yard” . The speaker of the poem also feels suffocated by her mother who holds her close and won’t let her play with the “bad children” who, she considers a bad influence on her daughter . The speaker says “My Mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae/ Will grow up to be a bad woman/ That George will be taken to Jail soon or late/ (On account of last winter he stole our back gate)” (Brooks, 857) . The speaker’s Mother here shows the natural desire to shelter her daughter from all the things she thinks are bad . But the daughter in the poem dose not agree with her Mother about what she thinks is “bad” . She says, “My Mother sneers, but I say its fine/ How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine” (Brooks, 857) . Here we see that the speaker dose not understand why her mother is so worried about her playing with the “bad” children . This passage also shows that the speakers Mother is very controlling of her daughter and the daughter is just getting to the point in her life when she wants to start making her own decisions and not let her Mother make them for her .
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Gwendolyn Brooks Paper - Fain1 Victoria Fain ENGL 1102 Dr....

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