The poem begins with a description of a child crying. However, his cries seem harsh and fierce “Your laughter metamorphosed into howl”. This also suggests that the child is normally a happy one and something happened to have changed his happiness. The last line in the stanza informs us that the reason why the child is crying is because he has been beaten “the quick slap struck”. The little boy is also staring at the parent hoping that he might be feeling guilty for hitting him. This might mean that the child is trying to play on the parent’s emotion “you stand there angling for a moment’s hint”.
It is important to note that the stanza is giving the point of view of the parent. The parent is imagining that the child is demonizing him for hitting him “The ogre towers above you, that grim giant,// empty of feeling a colossal cruel”. From this, we can understand that the parent thinks that the child believes that he is cruel and evil for hitting him and therefore is thinking of ways to overcome or get away from the parent.
Poet makes it clear that the father loves his son. However, he is slapping him for is own good. He also suggests that the father is hurt by the son’s tears and would do anything to make him stop crying. “This fierce man longs to lift you//……” Yet, the lesson must be taught.
Maybe this stanza suggests that no matter that there are often important behaviour or lessons children must learnt by children.
Parent – Child Relationship
The father seems to be firm and strict with his son. Although he loves him he does not allow him to have his own way.
The little boy experiences pain and resentment for his parent. Unlike Ana, his childhood is not one that is carefree without any consequences for undesired behaviour.
The father tries to be a good parent. In his eyes there are some lessons that his son must learn. Therefore, he carries out physical punishment so that he can learn these lessons.