Analysis of “Little Boy Crying” by Mervyn Morris

Mervin Morris writes “Little boy crying” making reference to the relationship between a kid and an adult, who in this case is his father.

Throughout the poem different feelings and emotions are expressed, not only of the child but also of the man. The little boy turned his “recently relaxed” face into “tight” because of that “quick slap struck” his “guilty” father gave him. But despite the fact that the kid took his father as a “grim giant” because of hitting him, this man’s intention was not to make him suffer of pain or anything like that; it was just an unwanted but necessary little punishment, perhaps for a prank or misbehaviour.

In fact the father felt “guilty” and full of “sorrow”.

Mervin introduces an allegory of a rather famous story called: “Jack and the beanstalk”.

The child imagined his father as an “ogre”, who climbed a huge tree. “He hates him”. He imagined himself “chopping clean the tree he’s scrambling down or plotting deeper pits to trap him”, as it happens in “Jack and the beanstalk”.

The relationship between the “three-year-old” full of “frustration” child and the adult seems to be bursting of complications because the kid is quite capricious and the man has to punish him, so that he learns not to do whatever he wants without evaluating the consequences before. But he “cannot understand, not yet” how his “easy tears” affect his father who is wishing to “curb” boy’s sadness.

Even though an ogre can punish you, you know that he loves you and that you have to learn the “lessons” from him, because you know, very deep inside, that ogre is your father.

That last sentence can summaries the moral of the poem.

This particular poem uses words to make the reader feel he or she is “seeing” it, or being part of it: “the quick slap struck”, this last sentence is composed of monosyllabic words that imitate the sound of the hit. Another example of this “trying the reader to feel part of the poem” is the use of the “you”; it is a kind of conversation between the writer and the reader. Other images that facilitate this process are made by the use of words or phrases suggesting movement or sound, like “chopping” and “scrambling down”.

But in this poem is not all about the kid, and his feelings, the other character has a very important role. He has to pretend being something is not; “behind that mask” there is a man who suffers the situation more that the kid, but he has to be seen as a strict authority, as any parent must.

This poem reflects nothing but the truth of an ordinary relationship between any father and his son during the growing and maturing process of the kid; but it does not end there: in the last paragraph, which is also the last line, there is a nine words long sentence emphasized by being left alone, that carries a moral in it: “you must not make a plaything of the rain”. This is a metaphor that could be translated as: “you must not cry just because” (the rain represents the tears).