Does the poem"To a Sad Daughter" engage its audience? Why or why not?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In order to engage an audience, a text (poems included) needs to engage each individual reader. In some circumstances, a text may tend to alienate a reader if the reader fails to engage with the reading given their lack of connection to it.

In regards to Micheal Ondaatje's poem, "To a Sad Daughter," some readers may fail to be engaged given they are unable to relate to the message of the poem. Readers who may fail to be engaged with the poem are those who are sons or daughters who have not had a father in their lives.

Given the poem speaks directly to a relationship between a father and daughter, people who have not had this type of relationship to gauge the experience against may fail to become engaged (given they lack the prior knowledge needed to connect with the father or daughter).

Essentially, only an individual reader will be able to decide if they engage with any given text. Ondaatje's poem speaks of a father and a daughter. Unless one can open themselves up to be able to imagine the relationship (if they do not have experience with one of their own), the poem could fail to engage each and every reader.

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