The narrator’s mother comes to his house to help him with measurements holding the tape while he walks away shows him moving away from her while she still holds on. The narrator is looking forward to being independent but is also slightly scared if he’ll succeed without his mom but there are hints she’ll always be there for him

Ideas and Themes:

  • Family relationships
  • Independence
  • Getting older

Structure:

  • First stanza is about how he needs his mother, second is where he explores independence
  • Last stanza he understands “something/Has to give” if he wants to be independent
  • Poem ends with him unsure of whether he will fall or fly

Form:

  • Loosely written like a sonnet showing he still loves his mother. Unlike a sonnet it has an irregular rhyme scheme showing he doesn’t know if he still loves his mum or not which reflects uncertainty
  • Last uneven lines show how they are both at breaking point

Language:

  • “single span”- this is the distance greater than his own hands showing he needs his mother to help him and her support is still vital to him.
  • “Span…hands//doors…floors” Former is a half rhyme latter is a full rhyme, showing dislocation
  • “acres of the walls, the prairies of the floors”- Metaphors and hyperbole create images of adventure but also shows he feels daunted
  • “unreeling years between us. Anchor. Kite”- Tape represents shared history but enjambment shows them both moving on. The mother is the “anchor” trying to hold back the son who is the “kite” trying to fly free away from her. The 2 one word sentences slow down pace of poem suggesting he feels apprehensive and thoughtful
  • “to breaking point where something has to give”- Relationship needs to change eventually
  • “your fingertips still pinch…to the last one hundredth of an inch…”“pinch” emphasises how desperately she’s holding on and suggests pain. “last one hundredth of an inch” shows she’s there till the very end but eventually let’s go shown by ellipsis
  • “towards a hatch that opens on an endless sky to fly or fall”“endless sky” shows he thinks the possibilities of being independent are limitless. “To fly or fall” is bird imagery suggesting that he’s breaking free of his mother’s grasp but he doesn’t know if he’ll succeed.

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