ompare and Contrast Old man, old man and Warning
Old Man, Old Man uses deep images of our view of a stereotypical old man. To show the life of an old man going from the master of many things to a senile old man who can not remember a thing. Warning is a similar poem about an old woman written by Jenny Joseph written in first person. This old woman that seems to have decided that her elderly years should be spent doing what she had missed out on as a child. Which is summed up in one nice quote ‘make up for the sobriety of my youth’.
The first lines of the beginning stanza written in Old Man, Old Man by U A Farthorpe comment on how many possessions an old man or woman collect over their possible long and interesting lives. ‘He lives in a world of small recalcitrant’ this quote is commenting on how he is still free to do what he wants but he is restrained by his age. ‘Thing in bottles, with tacky labels. He was always a man who did it himself’ this quote starts to let us build up a profile of what the old man referred to in this poem is like. It also tells us that he is a possible collector of useless or useful possessions however you look at it.
I am not sure if this is an old man habit or a ‘Man’ habit because I know of several people who have vast collections of possessions which for one reasons or another are useless or broken. If we examine the structure and content of the poem we see that it has been written in a third person format. I believe that this poem has been written for personal experience or from knowledge of the elderly lifestyle. The narrator could possible be the old mans daughter this is brought to light in stanza ‘World authority on twelve different
Sorts of glue, connoisseur of nuts And bolts, not good with daughters ‘not good with daughters’ this quote is a blunt comment which does not flow with the style of the poem it has been deliberately placed in the poem to stand out to give use a hint that the narrator is the old man’s daughter. If you look at the meaning and placement of the stanzas you find that the stanzas are in two groups, one group (1,3,4) comment on the old man’s past life how he was ‘A man who did it himself’ this give us an image of a competent DIY natural.
The second group of stanzas (2,5,6,7,8,9) these stanzas draw us a vivid image that the old man is slowly going senile and becoming a lonely and inevitably bitter ‘And small things distress “I’ve lost my hammer'”. I would have assumed that the poem would have a sound progression from the old man being strong and virile to old and weak and then eventually death. This is not the case the stanzas jump around and the time line muddled up. Why this format has been used in my opinion is to give the reader uncertainty to the final outcome of the poem. Also to give us a sense of confusion which all adds to the feel and mood of the poem.
The vast contrast between the two types of stanza is clearly evident in the first two stanzas. Stanza one tells us that the old man was a person that needed no help who did it himself. Stanza two informs the reader that the old man has lost his mental stability and now struggles to remember thing that he always knew. ‘Clues He left for himself when he saw better’ this quote tells me that the old man has known that this was going to happen (get old and go senile). He may not have accepted it but he knows it on the way. Stanza 7 tells me a small amount of information on the old man’s history and past.
It tells me that the man was a stuck in his ways person. He would take little or no attention of the children or family always watching or getting angry at the television, ‘Now television has no power to arouse Your surliness… Those pictures of disinherited children And you wouldn’t know’. ‘And where is Drury Lane? Old Man, Old Man’ Drury lane is a area of central london with a vast amount of theatres and entertainment venues. This area is a place that the old man has visited many times. Now he’s getting distressed because he does not now where it is.
The last two stanzas 10 and 11, the old man is now very old and is possibly going to die or someone close to him has died, ‘When I left, you tried not to cry. I love Your helplessness’. They also mention a person possible his daughter, offering to help him get to Drury Lane, ‘Let me walk With you to Drury lane. I am a cloud. ‘ Like the Old Man in Old Man, old man Warning by Jenny Joseph contain an old lady who is telling someone or possible thinking it to her what she is going to do when she is old. This poem like Old man, Old Man contains many eccentric ideas about what to do or what has been done when one is and old aged person.
In Warning the old woman say that she is going to where purple and eat more food and learn to spit. All these points that have been described in stanza one ‘gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells’ are very wild and they are similar points of madness in Old man, old man. In warning you can still see as with Old man, old man that both poems have been written with the experience and or knowledge of elderly people. There are still several clues in the poems that refer to what I would call a stereotypical old person. I have seen on many occasion old people hoard collect and steal thing like bottle of fluid, rubbish, newspapers.
One of the most famous old people who behaved in this way was Mr Trebus from BBC 1 ‘A life of grime’. The two poem comment on this behaviour ‘and hoards pens and pencils and beer mats and things in boxes’ and in Old man, old man ‘Things in bottles, with tacky labels. In conclusion the two poems are similar because they are both about old people. There structure, language and the way they are read is completely different. For example Warning seems to contain commands or instructions on how an old person should behave. Still both poems have shown me vivid pictures of an old persons life even thought there styles are completely different.