The theme of poverty is principal to the poem "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum." Spender creates a crisp image of children in poverty through his descriptions of dire situations and mal-nourished students, revealing a sad, hidden segment of society that was prevalent throughout the world. He is not commenting directly on any particular nation in his poem; instead, he exposes the widespread neglect of children of all nationalities, races, and ethnicities. It is poverty that has caused the students in "An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum" to be "weighed-down," "paper-seeming," diseased, and "twisted." Spender believes this poverty is created through the oppressive power of capitalism.
This poem was written during the American Civil Rights movement, and although Spender was British, the injustice that occurred in the United States was a global issue that affected the entire world, especially close English-speaking allies like Britain. Spender was affected by the struggles for equality in the United States because of his staunch dedication to social and political reforms. Although this poem was written during this time of oppressive racial injustice in America, Spender does not directly focus on a select group of underprivileged children, based on race, religion, or creed. Instead, he hones the content of his poem and remarks about the social injustice imposed upon all children, making it much more difficult to ignore....
(The entire section is 1034 words.)
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