Explain how the title of the poem "To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair" by Finuala Dowling is unusual, and comment on whether or not it is effective in relation to...

Explain how the title of the poem "To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair" by Finuala Dowling is unusual, and comment on whether or not it is effective in relation to the poem's contents. 

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The title of the poem, "To the doctor who treated the raped baby and who felt such despair" by Finuala Dowling, is unusual because it is a direct address. The title indicates the narrator will be speaking to the physician who treated the abused child, and acknowledging his/her feelings. In addition, the title lacks the accepted use of capitalization for a piece of poetry by solely using an upper case letter for the first word.

The use of the title as a direct address to the doctor is appropriate for the contents of the poem. The words are spoken on behalf of those who were able to sleep that night without a thought of such gruesome atrocities. The author creates a dichotomy in the poem by alternating between describing the medical care the doctor provides for the child’s horrific wounds, and explaining how other children are nurtured by caring adults.

Although the poem alludes to a larger social problem, it is written as a personal acknowledgement. Once again, in the last lines of the poem, the narrator speaks directly to the doctor.

And for the rest of us, we all slept in trust

that you would do what you did,

that you could do what you did.

We slept in trust that you lived.