Compare and contrast the moods, themes and ideas created in ‘childhood’ poems from Section C of the Anthology


Your plan needs to be a detailed account of almost everything that will go in your essay. You don’t have to write in sentences but all of the ideas need to be there. Laying your plan out like this also helps to ensure that your final essay will be well structured. If you write a good plan it becomes a lot easier to write a good essay.



Main Point 1:   All of the poems portray childhood as a time of simplicity, innocence, excitement, naivety and purity. This is perhaps most obvious in ‘Half Past Two’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ where it helps convey the excitement of childhood while the purity and innocence of children is more subtly implied in ‘Prayer Before Birth’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’.


Subpoint A: The Simple Naivety and Excitement of Childhood in Half Past Two and Hide and Seek

Evidence:          gettinguptime’, ‘capitalisation of ‘She’ and ‘Something Very Wrong’, the sense of hyperbole and awe at escaping ‘into ever’

Explanation:      The neologisms ‘gettinguptime’ and ‘timeformykisstime’ help to create a sense of naivety in the child as the impression is that he is unable to properly break up the phrases that he has heard from adults into their constituent parts and thus treats them as whole ideas. This sense of naivety is reinforced by the capitalisation of the word ‘She’ to refer to the teacher which bespeaks the awe and reverence the child feels towards this figure of authority, an idea further accentuated by the hyperbolical fear the child seems to have at having done ‘Something Very Wrong’ and his equally exaggerated conviction that he has escaped ‘into ever’ as a result of not being able to tell the time.


Evidence:          the tone of barely contained excitement in ‘Hide and Seek’, the use of colloquial contractions ‘you’d’, ‘they’ll’, the fast pace




Subpoint B: In contrast the innocence of childhood is more subtly implied in ‘Prayer Before Birth’ and ‘Once Upon a Time’

Evidence:          the childish fears of ‘bloodsucking bats’ and ‘club-footed ghouls’, the gentle verbs ‘dandle’ and image of a ‘white light’



Evidence:          repetition of laugh and smile




Main Point 2:   However, in contrast to the celebration of childhood evident in ‘Half Past Two’ and ‘Hide and Seek’ it appears that the innocence and purity of children is under threat from the harsh adult world in ‘Prayer Before Birth’ and the two Nigerian poems.