‘Old Man, Old Man’ is a poem about a daughter who is narrating about her father. The poem compares the past life of her father, to what it is like at present. This involves changes in physical and mental strengths. This poem was written by U. A. Fanthorpe, and possibly written from real life experiences. ‘Warning’ is about a middle-aged mother who looks to the future at what she wants to be like when older. She wants to be different and rebel against the views people have of a typical old lady. This may be because she was quiet and respectable earlier on in life, and she wants to make up for it.Order now
These poems are different in a lot of ideas about old age, which means that these points can be compared and looked at. Physical Factors are a big part of how old age is portrayed in both of the poems. It is one of the things that are picked up by the poet that will or has already changed. In ‘Old Man, Old Man’ most of the statements referring to old age are greatly exaggerated for the reason that the reader can imagine how much the man has changed, and therefore a much greater view of his changed image can be seen and noticed. There are some clear signs that this man may have very poor eyesight.
A condition common in people of his age. “Now his hands shamble among clues He left for himself when he saw better” And “Living in almost dark, I can see you” Changing physically had more affect on him that it would on anyone else. He used to be a doer, “A man who did it himself”. He used to be in control and organised, but through old age he has lost is dignity. “Lifelong adjuster of environments, Lord once of the shed, garage and the garden, Each with its proper complement of tackle,” The use of lord shows the exaggeration of the daughter narrative when describing her father.
During the change from young to old, there have been changes in his domestic life. A man who once spent most of his time in the shed and being self involved with DIY now left with little option but to transfer to do the housework. The use of ‘being self demoted’ shows that the man is leaving behind what used to be in his interest. “A man who did it himself”, really sums up the old man in his young days, and now it is completely the opposite. Mentioned earlier Joseph is trying to make up for her lost youth. Her life has been carried out on how others expected, and not how she wanted it.
This is different to ‘Old Man, Old Man” as here she is trying to improve and blossom in her old age, instead of the old man who slowly deteriated during the years. This will be the chance for Joseph to do what she really wanted to do. When at old she shall use it as a chance for her and her husband to be free, to do the opposite to what is expected and to be shocking to others around. This includes in a number of areas; dress, the spending of money and generally behaviour to those close and in public. She is really trying to break free from the usual stereotype that is given to the elderly. When I am an old woman I shall wear purple With a red hat, which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me” There is hardly anything that has changed in the physical aspects of being old in ‘Warning’, but there is plenty of change mentally. She wants to be stupid now and not be responsible, as before, she was sensible and she did act like an adult. “I shall sit on the pavement when I am tired And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells And run my stick along the public railings” Colloquial language is used to show how improper she will be, as well as being unorganised, once again a complete change to what she is at present. And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats and things into boxes” Maybe she is doing this is because she acted the way others expected her to earlier on, and she does not also want to act responsible later on in life, this brings back to the stereotypical view of an old lady. Many people go through this change, but the over way round, outrageous to sensible, a bit like in ‘Old man, Old Man’, this is why she knows people will see her as strange. “But now we must have clothes to keep us dry… And set a good example for the children” Fanthorpe does look at the mental changes that the old man has gone through, one being mental capacity.
One of the main things looked at in the poem is how the man could not be there for his daughter early on, but how his daughter is now being a parent figure to him. “And where is Drury Lane?…… Let me walk with you to Drury Lane. I am only a cloud” This shows a loss of memory in a serious way. Joseph shows this through really saying the old do forget, but that is what is expected. Throughout the poem there are signs of what her father used to be, and how he has changed. Maybe through change in personality, or to this is linked with the effects of becoming old. The jokes you no longer tell, as you forget If you’ve smoked your timetabled cigarette” “Now television has no power to arouse Your surliness” Through the years not everything has changed in the old man. It is obvious that the man is still frustrated. He is also very self reliant, although he does need his daughter more often, an example being Drury Lane. This is the opposite in ‘Warning’, here she can’t want to change, she wants to. She used the words “I shall” over and over again to show how determined she is of changing so. And” repetition shows how excited she is to become old. In conclusion, by comparing these two poems it meant comparing two very different views and ideas of how old aged is portrayed. In ‘Old Man, Old Man’ old age is like the beginning of the end of life as in ‘Warning’ Joseph puts the idea that old age is a new beginning for her, and therefore the poem is more optimistic to the reader. There are few comparisons that can be made between the two poems, but there are some in that at old age there is a change of some kind.