Walking Away Analysis by Cecil Day Lewis

This is an analysis of the poem Walking Away by Cecil Day-Lewis.

Walking Away describes the sadness of a child leaving his parents. This is actually part of growing up, something that is inevitable for every child, like me.

This poem, however, focuses more on the sadness of the father. When reading it, I can put myself in the shoes of my parents, and understand the sadness that I have not experienced myself.

Language –

Usage of enjambment
  • Evokes a sense of lack of control in persona.
  • This allows the sentences to be stretched longer to fit in more descriptions as well.

Rhyme scheme A,B,A,C,A

  • The rhyming goes like this: start, middle, end. This allows the rhyming to balance out through the poem.
Flashback

  • It evokes a sense of nostalgia in the reader, making the reader look back when they first left their child at school.

Repetition

  1. “walking away” is repeated twice in the poem.


  • The first “walking away” is a physical movement, the parent leaving the child for the first time.
  • The second “walking away” is a mental/emotional one.
  • “walking away” is thus both literal and metaphorical.

Metaphor/simile

“like a satellite, wrenched from orbit”


  • The child is compared to a “satellite”, “wrenched from orbit”, meaning the child has been forcefully taken from his parent

“a half-fledged thing set free”

  • The child is compared to the “half-fledged thing”, a young bird, leaving its parents, just as the child is leaving his father

“Like a winged seed loosened from its parent stem”

  • The child is compared to a “winged seed”, which is slowly drifting away as it loosens from its parent stem (the child leaves the father)

NOTE: As the poem goes on, the usage of metaphor/simile to describe the child leaving the father slowly becomes less strong. “wrenched” à “set free” (fly away) à “loosened”

  • Notice that the word used at the start, “wrenched”, is more forceful than the one used towards the end, “loosened”
  • This shows that the father’s emotions slowly calm down after a while.

“the scorching ordeals which fires one’s irresolute clay”

  • Ordeals faced in life is compared to a kiln, while the child’s mind is compared to clay, which is normally soft and mouldable when unfired, but solid after firing in a kiln.

Usage of onomatopoeia

  • “gnaws at my mind still” This enhances descriptions because the reader can almost “hear” the sound of it gnawing.

Imagery –


Metaphor

  • With the various metaphors, there are a few images seen that can be compared to a child leaving his parent.

Flashback

  • The flashback eighteen years back creates an image of nostalgia (as if looking at a sepia/black and white photograph).
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