What is the meaning of the title of The Children's Hour?

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Hellman ironically uses as her title a quote from (and the name of) a poem by Longfellow. The first stanza is as follows:

Between the dark and the daylight,
When the night is beginning to lower,
Comes a pause in the day's occupations,
That is known as the Children's Hour.

The speaker goes on to describe how his three kids come down the stairs in an attempt to take him by surprise and interrupt his work in his study. Overall, the poem is gentle and positive in mood and gives a picture of domestic happiness.

Hellman's use of the title is appropriate, but it is also ironic in the extreme when compared with its original poetic context. In the play The Children's Hour , the plot centers upon a totally unexpected and...

(The entire section contains 384 words.)

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