Literary Analysis Of Donald Hall's My Son, My Executioner

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“My Son, My Executioner” Analysis “My Son, My Executioner” is a poem written by Donald Hall. It has a very distinctive theme of new life and impending death. As the poem unfolds, piece by piece, it becomes obvious how the author adores his newborn son, but also feels as though he is a sign of growing older. The author exhibits a number of different literary elements throughout the poem to help explain his intended message and meaning.
Figurative language is a major element within the poem. The reader sees this immediately within the first line, as the author deems his newborn son his “executioner”. Of course, he is not actually the person that will put him to death. However, he is a symbol of new life, and therefore, the impending death
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He makes it clear that even though he is calling this child his executioner, he does not feel hatred for him. He still loves him as a father should.
Diction is another strong element within “My Son, My Executioner”. The author’s word choice is what brings the poem to life and gives it such deep meaning. We see this most visibly when he calls his son both his “executioner” and his “instrument of immortality.” However, we see it even more as we delve deeper into the poem. It is with words and phrases such as “sweet death” and “enduring life” that the author so vividly describes the contrast between a baby and his parents. The author uses his choice of vocabulary to effect the reader. He wants to make them truly understand what he is feeling, and what he is trying to make them feel as well. He also uses his word order to move the poem in certain directions. This is most obviously done by his pairing descriptions in groups of three, such as, “Quiet and small and just astir” and “Sweet death, small son, our instrument of immortality.” This infliction drives the idea into the readers mind, helping them to further

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