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Question: Write an essay in which you critically analyse line by line a poem by Don Mattera called Let the children decide.
Title: A Line-by-Line Critical Analysis of Don Mattera's Poem "Let the Children Decide" Don Mattera's poem 'Let the Children Decide' is a poignant exploration of the themes of childhood, freedom, and societal responsibility. Through this critical analysis, we'll dissect it line by line to uncover its rich layers of meaning. I. Introduction The poem unfolds with the poignant mandate for society to loosen its grip on childhood, "Let the children decide!" It immediately establishes Mattera's core argument: that the innocence of childhood should not be marred by adult impositions. II. Body 1. "For what use is our power” - This line questions the use of authority often misused by elders. It introduces the thematic tension between power and vulnerability, implicitly asking: why should the powerful impose their will on those who are powerless? 2. "Our wisdom our pride" - Mattera criticises the arrogance that accompanies adulthood, hinting at the pompous nature of 'grown-up' wisdom and pride that neglects the different intelligence children hold—their raw, untamed creativity and imagination. 3. "If we can't show a guidance” - This line denotes an adult's responsibility not as a dictator but as a guider. It details how guidance should be the primary role of the older generation as opposed to rigid control. 4. "Without taking sides” - Here, Mattera alludes to the unnecessary dichotomy often formed between adults and children. He encourages neutrality, promoting the virtues of patience, dialogue, and understanding. 5. "Let the children decide” - The recurrent refrain, it emphasizes the central thesis that children should be given agency and autonomy. 6. "What is wrong and what is right” - This line controversially asserts that children should be left to discern between right and wrong, challenging conventional societal norms that position adults as the moral arbitrators. 7. "But always be there” - Despite advocating for children's agency, Mattera reminds readers of the need for a safety net—guiding presence, emphasizing that freedom and responsibility are not mutually exclusive. 8. "To tuck them in at night” - The last line crystallizes the perfect equilibrium Mattera seeks to establish between protective oversight and nurturing independence—an ideal note to end the verse, leaving readers with captivating imagery that conveys the fine balance between care and control. III. Conclusion In 'Let the Children Decide', Don Mattera encapsulates the tumultuous dynamics between adults and children eloquently. He pleads for a more balanced approach to nurturing the young—giving them the freedom to explore, to make mistakes, to discern, but also providing the necessary guidance and warmth. The poem serves as a reminder of the need for society to reconsider how we raise our children, veering away from authoritative dictation and towards supportive nurturing. In this critical analysis, each line of Mattera's poem is dissected, drawing out the depth of thought embedded within his unassuming verse. Not only does it shine a light on the societal norms governing generational interaction, but it also enables a deeper appreciation of Mattera's craft and intent. It is clear that 'Let the Children Decide' is more than a poem—it is a call to action; a strategy for change.
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