What is the significance of the title of the poem "The Flower School"?    

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Titles of poems are the first piece of the text readers come across. Therefore, the title of a poem is meant to draw a reader into the poem. Sometimes, the title is also meant to make the reader think about how the title of the poem speaks to what the poet wishes the reader to consider while reading the poem itself. Poem titles which are ambiguous or seemingly confusing are meant to make the reader question the poet's titling of the poem.

The title of Rabindranath Tagore's poem "The Flower School" draws readers in given the "fact" that flowers simply do not go to school. Therefore, an engaged reader must consider what school could have to do with flowers. Perhaps, the poet is stating that flowers have something to teach mankind.

Given that knowledge is one of the things that gives mankind power ("knowledge is power"), the idea that nature, more specifically flowers, could enlighten mankind is curious. The speaker questions the act of learning by the flowers, comparing them to the speaker's (assumed) own experiences in school: "if they want to come out to play before it is time, their master makes them stand in a corner." Here, the speaker draws the reader into seeing a comparison between the flowers and himself or herself. The flowers are not much different than the schoolchildren of the world. This is the lesson the flowers have. The flowers have "schooled" those reading the poem. The flowers, figuratively, run the school.

Therefore, the "Flower School" is meant to refer to the knowledge that nature (symbolized by the flowers) possesses. Nature wishes to educate the youth of the world (given the setting is that of a school) on the importance of nature and the similarities that nature has to the youth. This final comparison is illustrated in the final line: "they have their mother as I have my own."

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The title of the poem "The Flower School" by Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore serves two main functions. It piques readers' interest due to its paradoxical nature and it introduces the main themes and metaphors of the poem.

As readers, we are aware that flowers, unlike humans, do not actually attend schools. This means that when we encounter the title of the poem, we are immediately curious about what the poet could mean by the phrase and this curiosity causes us to continue reading.

Next, the title introduces the central metaphor, which is complex. On one level, Tagore is comparing the flowers to children. Just as children are schooled indoors and then released to bloom, as it were, in the world, so flowers start underground and bloom visibly above ground. On a more profound level though, Tagore is a deeply religious Hindu who is comparing our lives on earth in human bodies to the underground where flowers exist in nascent forms as seeds or the schools in which children are trained; the soul's release from the body is parallel to children being let out of school or seeds growing into flowers. The world is thus our "flower school".

 

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