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Norah AL-Modiny



Posts : 3
Join date : 2010-03-07

PostSubject: 3rd assignment   Fri Apr 30, 2010 2:12 pm

Analysis of “Prayer before Birth” by Louis MacNeice

In the poem, “Prayer before Birth” by Louis MacNeice, the speaker expresses his strong views on the human life in the Second World War, by writing a poem through an unborn child’s voice. A child who prays and asks God to protect him from dangerous creatures. The speaker uses this voice referring to his fear from War, death and diseases.

In the first stanza, the speaker started with asking God to protect him from “the bloodsucking bat or the rat”. When the speaker says “O hear me/ come near me” he refers through these words to the child’s fears which also rhyme. In the second stanza, the speaker says “console me” he feels sad and afraid. That the human race may with tall walls wall hem. And afraid of being led to drugs or taken control by other people who use lies. We can see that when he says “drugs dope me/ wise lies lure me”.

The third stanza, the speaker want to know if he will be born in a good world that have “grass/ trees to talk/ sky to sing/ birds”. The world that he sees in the Second World War is hostile, greedy and dangerous. He asks if there is any “white light” to guide him. In The fourth stanza, he asks God for forgiveness that he “shall commit”. The sins that he may do like wrong words, evil thoughts, killing people and commit treason. When he says “my life when they murder” he refers to his own death of soul because that world may pressures him to do these sins.

In the fifth stanza, the speaker asks to be guided to how he acts and performs his role correctly. When he says “mountains frown / waves call/ lovers laugh/ desert calls” the speaker uses personification to express his feeling. Also the dangerous he may try. The speaker does not want the man who thinks he is God and he is better than anyone to come near him. We can see that in the sixth stanza.

The seventh stanza, talks about the speaker Frightfulness. He asks for the strength not to become a killing machine or a part of it “a lethal automaton/ a cog in a machine”. When he says “a thing” he is afraid to become inhuman. Also become something under the mercy of others. Then in the final stanza, the speaker begs God not let this world make his heart a stone or his life be wasted. Then he asks if they will do that to him .It is better if they kill him.

As you can see Louis MacNeice expresses his fear from the Second World War. How that world affects the humanity. We cannot denial that every parent who expects a child will be having the same fears. We still see some people act like what MacNeice says in this poem.
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