Poets use form and pacing (rhyme and meter) to give their works of poetry a look and beat, which is similar to introducing musical instruments in a song. In “To a Daughter Leaving Home” and [in Just-], the poets explore youth's simplicity and illusiveness. Analyze the variations of form and pacing that the poets use in their works. How do these poets use structure and pacing to create a sense of urgency in their texts? Who are the narrators, and how does their narration influence the form and/or pacing? How successful were the poets in the choices they made and why?

The pacing of “To a Daughter Leaving Home” reflects its content as it starts slowly and then speeds up like a child learning to ride a bicycle. The poem is narrated by the child's mother, who is left behind as her daughter rides away. The pacing of [in Just-] is halting, disjointed, and hesitant and also reflects the poem's content and the readers' suspicions.

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Let's examine each of these two poems with an eye to their pacing and narration. Linda Pastan's “To a Daughter Leaving Home” consists of very short lines with no true rhyme but quite a few “ing” words at the ends of lines that give a nod to rhyme. The poem's pacing actually reflects its content. It starts out fairly slowly like a child learning to ride a bicycle and a mother “loping along” beside. Then it picks up speed by the end as the child on the bicycle does, leaving her mother behind.

The mother is the narrator, telling the story of her daughter's success in the first person. The poem as a whole provides both a sense of excitement as the daughter rides off and a sense of sadness, for the poem's title tells us that the narrator is speaking about more than the first bicycle ride of an eight-year-old. It suggests that the daughter is now grown and ready to go on a longer, more permanent journey than a ride down the sidewalk, but again, she will leave her mother behind.

The poem [in Just-] by e. e. cummings is quite different in its pacing and narration. It's structure is filled with spatial gaps between words and lines that lead readers to pause briefly at each of them. This creates a disjointed, halting pace. The repeated word “wee” also slows down the poem's pace, for most readers cannot resist holding out the “ee” sound. This slowing tendency, however, alternates with constructions that speed up the pace, like the joined phrases “eddieandbill” and “bettyandisbel.” The linked conjunctions also speed up the pace as in “from hop-scotch and jump-rope and …”

The poem is narrated in the third person, but readers get the feeling that the narrator is watching the scene and that the alternations in pacing reflect the content. There are naturally pauses between the balloonman's whistles and the children's appearances. Further, the halting pace may also suggest readers' confusion at the poem and their wondering about who the balloonman really is and why he is calling the children. Readers may even hesitate in suspicion as they read about the “goat-footed” man and recall the mythological allusions of danger (the god Pan and fauns) this word suggests.

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