Google definition of ‘Brothers’: A brother is a male sibling; that shares at least one of the same parents. In most societies throughout the world, these siblings usually grow up together and spend a good deal of their childhood with each other, like playing and having fun. Main ideas/Message/Feelings/Attitudes: The poem ‘Brothers’ explores the relationship between two brothers and, in my opinion, I think that this poem is mainly aimed at people who have younger or older siblings because they, like Forster, would be the only readers able to relate to times that they have behaved in negative ways towards their own family which they then regretted later on in life. In the poem the narrator remembers feeling burdened and annoyed with his brother when they were children, using terms like ‘Saddled with you’ to interpret the fact that he felt stuck with his brother like a horse was stuck with a saddle: his feelings about it all were just simply dismissed.
The themes, apart from relationships, that I feel could be linked to this poem are growing up and independence. The reason being is because the older brother, who is only nine years old at this time, consistently tries to convince himself that he is responsible enough to do things that adults do. For instance on the last line of the second stanza, the narrator quoted that he and Paul ‘must stroll the town’ as they would be ‘doing what grown-ups do’.
Through the use of the word ‘must’ the poet was trying to infer that he thought he was much older than he actually was and he was already what someone would classify as an adult. Moreover, earlier on in the poem the narrator stated that one was to ‘stroll’ while his somewhat childish younger brother ‘skipped’ and by doing this Forster expressed his mature opinion of himself and his low, immature thoughts of his younger brother . The overall effect that this has on the poem is that it makes the whole memory, not only partially humorous, but also more realistic because, everyone at some stage in their life has thought of themselves as older than they actually were.
The constantly changing perspective of Forster, between the mindset of a child and adult, helps to express the main message of the poem which is stressed in the final line of the poem: ‘I ran on, unable to close the distance I’d set in motion’. The message that this line teaches, to my understanding, is that miniscule things that we see as nothing, may have substantial consequences. The reason for this is because, by choosing to go with his friend Paul instead of his younger brother all those years ago, Forster extinguished the bond that he and his younger brother once possessed.
Other messages that I feel the poem ‘Brothers’ tries to teach its readers is that, the true meaning of ‘family’ has been diminished. As the highlighted Google definition of the word ‘Brothers’ above states: “Brothers’ usually spend a good deal of their childhood with each other, like playing and having fun.” The events that occur in this poem refute this modern idea about family and how it is expressed by Brothers due to what happened between Forster and his younger brother when he was still a young boy.
Poetic Devices/Memorable Imagery/Language: In the poem ‘Brothers’, Forster uses language to show the age of his mind set in particular parts of the poem. For instance in the beginning, the narrator quoted ‘me and Paul’ to show that his mind set is that of a young child due to the illiterate use of grammar because, as to most common knowledge suggests, grammatical correctness implies that the sentence should be ‘Paul and I’. Furthermore, Forster uses informal language such as ‘go and ask Mum’ when he is speaking to his younger brother who has forgotten his bus fare. Here Forster has used language which we, people of the modern society today, would often associate with young children and the end result of it is that, it gives the poem an authentic child – like quality which simply adds realism to the memory.
At the end of the poem, the author evidently feels regret and responsible about his relationship with his brother because, they seem distant and he shows that he feels fully responsible when he ends the poem by using the last line to express his feelings about it all: ‘I ran on, unable to close the distance I’d set in motion’. Which to my understanding means, he and Paul ran on chasing the bus, and the distance between him and his brother grew, literally and metaphorically, and Forster was never able to decrease this gap and allow their relationship to undergo growth.