Relationship Between Parent and Child in Catrin, Follower and On my first Sonne

These three poems are all linked together and are similar to each as they all use poetic devices commonly used at this time. The poems all compare and contrast the relationship between parent and child. In On my first Sonne written by Ben Jonson is about the death of his son and controlling his emotions. Catrin written by Gillian Clarke is about the struggle of childbirth and the never ending bond between mother and daughter, even at the hardest times. Follower written by Seamus Heaney is about how time can affect people.

The young boy idolises his father as a strong farm worker and he sees himself as a pain but as time goes by their roles reverse. These three poems all compare and contrast the relationship between parent and child.

In Catrin has two main points throughout love and conflict. This contrasts to On my first Sonne as that is the mourning of his son. The use of “struggle” in line 15 could have two meanings.

That the struggle is wild like an animal or it could be tenders as it is describing the birth of the child so it could be a slow struggle. The ‘Red rope of love’ is the key use of imagery in this poem. This is the umbilical cord however it could perhaps be the also be the bond between the mother and daughter. This is a pun although it could be unintentional. In Follower you get a real sense of the feelings the young boy for his father with “An expert.

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” This caesural pause emphasises the respect and idolisation that the boy has for his father. Clarke use imagery to show feelings where as Heaney uses a caesura. In On my fist Sonne Johnson also uses a caesural pause to show his feelings for his boy “Ben. Jonson his best piece of poetry.” This optimises his feelings for his child that after all his great poems this child he brought or in a sense created is his greatest work. This is the ways these poets show their feelings for their children.

Clarke uses alliteration effectively in Catrin to show the harshness of birth “First, fierce confrontation”. The ‘f’ sound is harsh and shows how hard birth is. This is similar to Heaney in follower he uses alliteration to show the strength of his father “Full sail strung”. The’s’ sound used here is a soft yet strong sound that really shows you the strength and effort of his father. Jonson is far more religious as at this time religion was a big thing with many people believing in heaven and hell. Jonson shows this by saying that he is not sad as his son is heaven “Will man lament the state he should envie?” This is him questioning God as he should not let this affect as his son is a better place. This rhetorical question shows how big a theme religion was at the time. This is almost like Jonson is jealous of his son as he is in the perfect place.

In the latter halve of Catrin Clarke shows how the relationship changes between parent and child over a period of time however the feelings never change “Still I am fighting” this shows they are still fighting like the struggle at the start. “From the heart’s pool that old rope” this shows how the bond is still there even though the girl has grown up and their relationship has changed but the feelings never do. This is similar to Follower when the father gets old “But today it is my father who keeps stumbling” this shows that the relationship has reversed as he is now the ‘nuisance’. However I think that the boy still has the connection to his father and would prefer to remember him as the strong farm worker rather than the frail old man. Jonson does not get to experience the change in relationship as his boy dies young yet he thinks this is good “To have so soone scap’d worlds, and fleshes rage”.

This is Jonson saying although he died young he does not have to experience the bad things in life as young age has protected him with like innocence. These three poems are all similar and different in many instances. However Catrin and Follower use similar poetic techniques compared to On my first Sonne. This is partly because On my first Sonne was written earlier than the other two. The main message that Catrin and Follower are trying to show is that time goes and changes people but the bonds between people can never be changed. Jonson is saying that life is a harsh world that his boy has not had to experience. This is how these thee poets all compare and contrast the relationship between parent and child.

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Relationship Between Parent and Child in Catrin, Follower and On my first Sonne. (2018, Dec 16). Retrieved from

Relationship Between Parent and Child in Catrin, Follower and On my first Sonne
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