In the poem to a daughter leaving home what is the central purpose and what is a good theme to use for this type of poem.i am  trying to interpret this poem a little more and understand the whole...

In the poem to a daughter leaving home what is the central purpose and what is a good theme to use for this type of poem.

i am  trying to interpret this poem a little more and understand the whole concept of it.  i need a  good theme that would satisfied this poem.

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lynnebh's profile pic

lynnebh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted on

Are you referring to the poem by Linda Pastan? If so, I think this is a poignant little poem. The speaker is a mother whose daughter is leaving home for the first time. The mother is remembering back when her daughter was only eight years old. The poem is a metaphor comparing a bike-riding lesson to the girl leaving home. When the mother was teaching the girl to ride her bike, she was also, in a metaphorical sense, "taking off" to go on her own. Now that she is leaving home, she is also "taking off" on her own. The mother's sadness now at her leaving is contrasted with her excitement way back when the daughter was only 8 and learned to ride the bike by just going for it. Her daughter's hair on the bike that day was waving in the breeze, like what she now imagines is a handkerchief "waving goodbye" (this is a simile).

Do you see how the poet skillfully blends her images - the bike ride, the leaving home, the daughter's hair, the handkerchief?

I am not sure what you assignment is, but if you need to write something about the theme of this poem based on your own experience, can you remember what it was like for you when you left home? You are in college, so perhaps you are attending a college away from home and can relate to how your mother felt when you left. You could compare this poem to your own experience, or perhaps write a poem of your own that reflects the same theme.

If your life experience is nothing like this bit of nostalgia, you could still use the theme, only your experience would be different. I once was reminiscing about how sad my mother was when she dropped me off at my college dorm, and my husband's experience was very different - his parents were glad to see him leave home. Sad, but still something to be used for literature.

Good luck.

englishteacher72's profile pic

englishteacher72 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

"To A Daughter Leaving Home" is a very poignant, bittersweet piece of poetry.  In the poem, the parent is teaching his or her daughter how to ride a bike. The entire poem, even though it's discussing watching the daughter ride away on her bike, is an extended metaphor about life.  Someday, that daughter might ride away to college, or off to a distant land after she marries or finds a career.  The purpose of the poem is to show the pride and heartache of a parent as they watch their little one gain a little bit more independence.  The parent watches as the little girl gets smaller and smaller (and more distant from the parent), and hopes that they don't hear a resounding "thud" as the little girl hits the ground.  Isn't that what every parent does, hold their breath as they watch their children venture out into the world on their own, hoping they will fly instead of fall?  I think the theme of the poem is the sadness and pride a parent feels as their child grows up.

arkabasak90's profile pic

arkabasak90 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

to a daughter leaving home is a very emotional poem based on te mother who experiences sad momment when his daughter goes away from her when gets out from her home for few years...........

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