First/Second Response To Family GroupThe poem “Family Group” by Kay Smith tells the story of a suspected lower class family seen through the eyes of a ordinary member of society. The narrator gives the reader a glimpse into what they see and feel in this scenario through word choice, literary devices and potentially bias opinion. There are many themes of the poem “Family Group” by Kay Smith however, judgement and some degree of sympathy. This is proven when the narrator uses pathetic fallacies in the weather and the environment to mirror that of the young family’s situation financially and socially as well as morally. ” I look out the bus window at the grey rain, at houses flush with the pavement in a shabby street “. This quote gives the reader a very depressing impression of the world the narrator is describing. The use of adjectives such as “grey” and “shabby” give the reader a dull, boring and gloomy feeling. The narrator uses this interpretation impritation to lead to what they believe to be a family that mirrors/imposes this mood.
The narrator goes on to describe the appearance of the “young” couple and the baby they are carrying. The reader begins to suspect that the couple may be suffer poverty when the narrator says, ” The bus stops for a boy in faded jeans….the girl carries in her arms a crying infant, the blanket worn from many washings.
,”. This gives the reader and impression that the couple can’t afford to buy new clothing and their clothing is used very often. At this point, the reader is realizing the family’s situation and presumably is feeling some degree of sympathy as that is a human characteristic that has developed over centuries.
The narrator beginsbeings to feed the sympathetic by describing the inflicted mood of the family. This is shown when the narrator says, “The face of the young mother is grave but serene as she cradles in her arms the child whose crying is the smallest sound of grief as sad as the rain; the young father sighs as he balances his parcels.”. This stanza shows the reader how the mother is sympathizing the unhappiness of crying infant child., tThis is evident when the narrator says” The face of the young mother is grave but serene “.
The mother is grave and serene because she wants the infant to be happy but is faced with the trouble of caring for the child in such circumstances. The father is seen as unhappy but not particularly sympathetic as the way the narrator describes that the root of his depressive state is the result of a personal issue or emotion causing imbalancement in his life. This is evident when the narrator says “the young father sighs as he balances his parcels”. This is a metaphor reflecting the father’s mood and status.
The father is physically trying to carry and balance groceries which poses as a struggle. He is also emotionally trying to balance his life by caring for his family and their financial and social status. In a way he is sympathizing but not within the moment.The use of the simile “the child whose crying is the smallest sound of grief as sad as the rain” relates back to the atmospheric mood of the story and the weather. Through this stanza, the reader begins to feel deep sorrow for the family and wishes that everything will turn out good in the end for them.
The narrator recaps the emotions/thoughts that they felt/thought of when seeing the family in the next stanza. The narrator relates the family to the environment again when they talk about how they will remember them. This is evident when they say “I think I’ll remember them against falling rain and unbudded trees in a shabby street.”.
The reason the narrator does this is so that the reader may now feel a relation with the narrator’s views and will remember the story the same way. The narrator shows the reader that the environment shadowed that of the family and that whenever those climatic conditions are present in the narrator’s life again, they will remember the family.The narrator ends on a the analogy that life is like a breath of ecstasy; you open yourself to that world, trouble will await even if it feels like fun in the moment, consequences will follow drastically.FurthermoreNow, the reason why the poem is more judgmental is because now of which was said in the poem was proved or justified and much was assumed. The narrator uses the first stanza to set an imprinted mood (probably their own) on the atmosphere of the story. The narrator then introduces the “family” in the second stanza (aka the target) and shows that they are of youth probably suffering from poverty by describing their appearance and clothing. In the third stanza, the narrator futhers the mood of first and development of the second stanza through description of their mood which is reflected by the weather.
In the fourth stanza the narrator introduces their personal thoughts/feelings on the family. The final stanza sums up all the narrator felt and built up throughout the story. Though the narrator has a convincing argument/interpretation on the presented situation, there is not one bit of proof to justify this story. The narrator uses the art of imprintment to subconsciously convince the reader on their predetermined judgement. The second and third stanzas are used as why the narrator believes what they believe.
The fourth stanza is the narrator flat out giving their opinion. The final stanza is the narrator’s judgemental poem summed up in a witty two lines. The narrator never actually knew if the family was broke or if they chose to dress like that, they never knew if they were actually young or just looked young, they never even knew if they were actually a family or if that was even the “family’s baby”. The baby could have maybe the family’s little brother and the couple could have been siblings looking after the baby for a day not knowing what to do and getting stressing out. Maybe the family was super famous and just wanted to keep a low profile. Basically, any assumption can be made at this moment because of lack of evidence. Had this been a fictional story rather or personally involved story then, it would be harder to argue.
If the narrator went up and asked or talked with the “couple” and they said that they were in poverty and young, then story wouldn’t have so many different interpretations. This story is on the side of bias and therefore can be interpreted in many different ways (which the author may have wanted) and can be called a judgmental themed poem. In conclusion, the story seems to be bias and unfair, however that being said, the story also can lead to many different interpretations aside from the imposed interpretation. This leads to an infinite number of different thoughts that can lead into more poems or an extension into this poem. One piece that I personally found to be both depressingive and joyful is the relation of the child’s birth to the ” hard birth of spring”. The beginning of spring usually starts of in rain and mud which is seen as depressing, but it eventually leads to the sprouting of flowers, leaves and sunny days ahead.
The birth of the child is a parallel of this. The “family” might be going through a hard time at the moment with the birth of the child, but with dedication and proper guidance, the child can become something greater and beautiful allowing the struggle to be worth it all at the end of the day.