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To A Daughter Leaving Home Analysis



Author: Poetry of Linda Pastan Type: Poetry Views: 1886

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The Imperfect Paradise1988When I taught you

at eight to ride

a bicycle, loping along

beside you

as you wobbled away

on two round wheels,

my own mouth rounding

in surprise when you pulled

ahead down the curved

path of the park,

I kept waiting

for the thud

of your crash as I

sprinted to catch up,

while you grew

smaller, more breakable

with distance,

pumping, pumping

for your life, screaming

with laughter,

the hair flapping

behind you like a

handkerchief waving

goodbye.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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2. “When I taught you sprinted to catch up,at eight to ride while you grewa bicycle, loping along smaller, more breakablebeside you with distance,as you wobbled away pumping, pumpingon two round wheels, for your life, screamingmy own mouth rounding with laughterin surprise when you pulled the hair flappingahead down the curved behind you like apath of the park, handkerchief wavingI kept waiting goodbye.”for the thud -Linda Pastanof your crash as I
3. Analysis Lines 1-10  speaker recalls the moment as she ran along side her daughter, teaching her to ride a bike  symbolizes how the speaker raised her the young girl, sticking by her through all the “wobbles” of life  excitement when the girl begins to ride on her own Lines 11-17  daughter rides further and further away on the bike  speaker grows more worried about her as she experiences new things in life, waiting to save her the moment something goes wrong Lines 18-24  speaker watches as daughter squeals with freedom and glee  realization that her daughter has grown up, and the speaker is not needed to help anymore
4. Analysis Diction and Tone  simple words and sentences  speaker’s tone is reflective and melancholy as she remembers this pivotal moment of her daughter’s childhood  instability imagery  “wobbled” (5)  “thud” (11)  “crashed” (12)  “breakable” (15)  symbolizes the speaker’s fear for her daughter’s departure, trying to protect her from what will go wrong  symbolizes the daughter’s vulnerability as she leaves the safety of her home
5. Analysis Syntax  line ends are broken; sounds similar to choking back tears as one speaks  choppy lines create a more realistic and deeper meaning  has a more emotional and dramatic effect as opposed to the poem being written in prose  abrupt endings in lines show speaker’s deep thought as she recalls this moment  also creates the natural pauses people take when telling stories of events from the past
6. Analysis Emotion  Anxiety  “I kept waiting for the thud” (9-10)  “sprinted to catch up” (14)  The speaker is anxious for her daughter, as any caring parent would be  Excitement  “my own mouth rounding, in surprise” (7)  “with laughter” (20)  speaker is happy her daughter can ride on her own  Sadness  “like a handkerchief waving goodbye” (22-24)  speaker says goodbye to her daughter, sad moment  does not see a wave of a hand, but a wave of a handkerchief that is used to dry her tears
7. Analysis Surprise  broken line ends create a suspense at the end of each line  “I sprinted to catch up while you grew, smaller, more breakable”  “while you grew” seems like it implies as the girl grew older, but the next line is surprise because it contradicts that idea, saying she is “smaller, more breakable”  “pumping pumping for your life, screaming with laughter”  “for your life, screaming” suggests the daughter is panicking; similar to someone running for their life screaming in horror  “with laughter” is a surprise because this positive emotion was not expected to follow a description that sounded so terrible
8. Analysis Surprise (contd.)  the use of surprise expresses the speaker’s mixed feelings as her daughter grows up  as the speaker begins to say one thing, she completes her thought with a different and surprising idea  unable to sort out her emotions  mixed feelings when a child leaves

| Posted on 2016-07-12 | by a guest


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This short poem is about the mother and her eight year old daughter.In this poem, feeling of mother is explained in a very beautiful way. To teach her daughter a bicycle, mother also walks with long steps so that she can follow her while she enjoys her ride. She was surprised to saw her daughter moving smoothly along the curved path of the road. The mother thought that her daughter might crash so she started running fast. But her daughter was going faster and faster, leaving her mother behind, and therefore her mother was not able to protect her as she has gone very fast. She was enjoying her ride so much that she was screaming with joy and her hair was flapping like a handkerchief which was saying Good Bye.

| Posted on 2015-09-22 | by a guest


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This may be an analysis of the writing. requests for explanation or general short comments allowed. Due to Spam Posts are moderated before posted

| Posted on 2013-10-31 | by a guest


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this is a beautiful poem written by linda pastan .in this poem a mother fondly recalls how she taught her young daughter to ride a bicycle.

| Posted on 2013-09-09 | by a guest


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very bad the poem also and the summary or analysis...ok

| Posted on 2013-06-25 | by a guest


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In connection with \"To a daughter leaving home\" we can discern that, perhaps, it\'s a metaphor to all daughters? suggesting, it applies to all mothers.(nostalgia)
The poet cleverly takes the concept of a bike experience, as a whole life experience. \"Wobbled\" suggest when the daughter was uneasy and there were problems - i.e teenager? problems with school/boyfriend/growing up.
\"you pulled up\" gave me the impression of pulling up a car in the drive way - the daughter passed her driving test?
The bike is a journey of the daughter growing up (that\'s the main concept and meaning throughout the poem)
In addition - \"the hair flapping behind you like a handkerchief waving goodbye\" here, we note that the mother is not facing the daughter - she does not want to burst up in tears? as too, it shows that the mother has, perhaps, has hidden emotions for the daughter?
ALSO - question the enjambment and the one stanza, the lines are ongoing - representing the mothers feelings, they\'re ongoing and she doesn\'t want to lose them, as too, her daughter.
This poem came up on the English Literature exam (GCSE)
And above ^ I wrote that answer - along those lines.
That\'s what I personally think! Essentially, there are no wrong or right answers, it\'s merely your own interpretation.

| Posted on 2013-05-31 | by a guest


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To a daughter leaving home is a wonderful poem written by Linda pastan.In this poem a mother fondly recalls how she taught her daughter to ride a bicycle.She describes her anxiety about her daughter\'s safety,her amazement at the girl\'s success and her realization of the girl\'s independence.

| Posted on 2013-05-31 | by a guest


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in this poem linda pastan is telling that how the mother thought her daughter to ride a bicycle when her daughter was eight years old. When her daughter wobbled away and enjoyed riding bicycle her mothers mouth rounded in suprise, and she kept wathing that if my daughters don\'t fall down. She was worried.
At last her daughter learns to ride the bicycle and her mother was HAPPY....

| Posted on 2013-03-29 | by a guest


.: :.

in this poem linda pastan is telling that how the mother thought her daughter to ride a bicycle when her daughter was eight years old. When her daughter wobbled away and enjoyed riding bicycle her mothers mouth rounded in suprise, and she kept wathing that if my daughters don\'t fall down. She was worried.
At last her daughter learns to ride the bicycle and her mother was HAPPY....

| Posted on 2013-03-29 | by a guest


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This poem is about a bicycle.the girl. and a mother. it the bicycle serves as life where the daughter will learn more as she continues her journey. on the process of learning the mother is there guiding her untill she will learn how to stand on her own.

| Posted on 2012-10-14 | by a guest


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this is a metaphorical poem.this tells us abt the feeling of a mother while she teaches her daughter 2 ride a cycle and also explains the feeling of independence the daughter experiences.

| Posted on 2012-10-01 | by a guest


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This is a very sweet poem written by Linda Pastan in which she is trying to convey the mothers feelings about her daughter becoming independant.

| Posted on 2012-09-06 | by a guest


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this is a poem having mixed feelings of the mother.in the beginning the mother wants her daughter to be independent and in the end she grieves to say goodbye.this whole seen takes place in a park.

| Posted on 2012-07-06 | by a guest


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this poem deals with the relationship between a mother and her eight years old daughter who focus her aim to teach her to ride a bicycle. in the same hand the mother is little worried little worried about her daughter\'s safety. she is also unhappy as she is being left behind and she is also amazed at the girls success and her realization of the girl\'s independence.

| Posted on 2012-05-01 | by a guest


.: :.

this poem deals with the relationship between a mother and her eight years old daughter who focus her aim to teach her to ride a bicycle. in the same hand the mother is little worried little worried about her daughter\'s safety. she is also unhappy as she is being left behind and she is also amazed at the girls success and her realization of the girl\'s independence.

| Posted on 2012-05-01 | by a guest


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Thanks alot to all those people out there who helped me understand this poem...Now i\'m really gonna\' ace the test tomorrow..

| Posted on 2012-03-08 | by a guest


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The explanation given by a lot of people was really helpful hopefully because of you people I can clear my 8th std. with good marks thanks to all.
-Student from INDIA

| Posted on 2011-12-09 | by a guest


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This short and sweet poem is all about the life.Itz all ab8 the mothr who is being departed from her daughter n this poem deals ab8 da pain n worries 4 her daughter.Also, how mothr collects strength to say goodbye 2 her daughter.
Overall it represents the feelings of all da mothr of dis world 4 their children.

| Posted on 2011-09-08 | by a guest


.: :.

This short and sweet poem is all about the life.Itz all ab8 the mothr who is being departed from her daughter n this poem deals ab8 da pain n worries 4 her daughter.Also, how mothr collects strength to say goodbye 2 her daughter.
Overall it represents the feelings of all da mothr of dis world 4 their children.

| Posted on 2011-09-08 | by a guest


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this poem deals with the relationship between mother and her children who focus her aim to teach her child to ride a bike . In the same hand the mother is unhappy because
she is slowly goin to depart.There will be some bumps on the way, but they usually work out in the end.

| Posted on 2010-08-18 | by a guest


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This is a great poem about a father helping his young daughter to learn to ride a bike, however it is much more. It is actually more of the father learning to let go. There is an instant when he lets go of her bike and she rides alone. In that instant he realizes that for the first time in her life, he is not able to protect her. She can now ride faster than he can run, and he cannot protect her should she fall. It is more about his letting go of his precious daughter than about her learning independence.

| Posted on 2010-04-27 | by a guest


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This is a poem about a mother starting her daughter up on life. She helps her with a push, and then shes of on her own. The mother is reflecting on how parents help their children grow up. She is seeing her daughter grow up as she is being left behind.

| Posted on 2010-02-27 | by a guest


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the writer pours her emotions about her daughter who finally learns how to ride a bike. the mother is worried about the fact that her realtion with her daughter is fragile because she is slowly goin to depart

| Posted on 2009-08-20 | by a guest


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The poem is a way for the mother to find a way to say goodbye to her daughter. Although it can affect many people in different ways. It shows that at the start she is sure that she will be needed for a long time. She soon realises that her daughter won't want or need her eventually. Children seem to grow apart from their parents, wanting to expand their experiences by themselves. She notices that her daughter is enjoying her time, and then comes the classic- if you truly love someone, you must let them go. The poem is a deep way of saying that parents and children must grow apart for them to grow themselves.

| Posted on 2009-05-19 | by a guest


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This short poem explained how a mother accepted the fact that her daughter is moving on in life. There will be some bumps on the way, but they usually work out in the end.

| Posted on 2008-10-13 | by a guest


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This is a fairly simple poem about a mother whose daughter was learning how to first ride a bike. It tells of the mothers fright as the bycicle gains speed and hurries away from her. She is worrisome of her daughter possibly falling and hurting herself. Though, when relating the title to the poem, one can easily see that it is all a metaphor for when a daughter finally packs up and leaves home. The speed of the bike corresponds to the speed of which children seem to flee from the home and how far away they can seem. The mothers worry reflects the trepidation of what might happen to the newly departed daughter. Will she be okay? Does she have enough money for food? Will a young boy break her precious heart? But in the poem the daughter does not fall. In life, the child generally does not meet the worst of his or her parents fears. Some hard times come and will always come, but they will always come out alright in the end. The goodbye at the end makes me think of acceptance. The mother accepts that her daughtet can continue on her own.


| Posted on 2005-04-12 | by Approved Guest




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