Write summary for the poem "My Parents kept me from children who were rough" by Stephen spender

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In everyday language, the poem 'My parents kept me from children who were rough' by Stephen Spender might go something like this (as a modern day summary:)

Title 'My parents controlled who I could hang out with'

My parents controlled who I could hang out with, especially the uneducated kids who they thought had no manner or future

That gang who shouted insults as if they were throwing stones, their clothes were cheap copy labels with no designer tags

They had the freedom of the 'hoods,' they climbed and trespassed and swam whereever they felt like it

I was more frightened of those street-wise kids than I was of wild fierce animals, their pecs like steel from pumping iron

as they pinned me down,and jailed my arms in a vice-like grip so I couldn't get up

I was scared of the brutal honesty of their stinging taunts and mocking mimicry

especially when they mocked my speech impediment

from behind my back

They were so agile and fast, they sprang out from their secret hideouts round the 'hood' like wolves to criticize the world the other half lives in - my world!

They showed disrespect by throwing offensive substances at me

while I pretended not to notice

hoping that, one day

they'd ask me to join their gang

but they never did.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
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This poem is about the differences between the classes in the Britain of Spender's day.  Spender was very concerned with class and class differences and this concern shows through in the poem.

The speaker in the poem is a relatively well-off child who is in some ways jealous of the poorer kids.  He sees their lives as more free than his.  He also believes that they are more competent and able to deal with life than he is.

Beside them, he feels weak and incompetent.  He wishes he could be like them even though he knows he is supposed to be superior.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
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