SPM 2011 Question
The poem, The Way Things Are by Roger McGough is about a father giving advice to his child.
Explain any three of his advice.
Roger McGough's poem, The Way Things Are, is about a father giving advice to his child. Firstly, when the father tells his child that 'a crown may leave a scar' even though it is 'lightly worn', taken literally, it suggests that being heavy or tight it could leave an indelible mark around the circumference of the head. This would be the way a young child would understand its meaning which is only superficial. However, from a matured perspective, the crown can refer to the burden of shouldering responsibilities and duties which may leave a long lasting and possibly adverse effect both on the wearer or others, just like those of a sovereign, a leader or even a parent.
In addition, it is with a touch of humour that the father also advises his child about 'pebbles work[ing] best without batteries'. It creates the impression that the child is so used to playing with battery-operated toys that he expects even objects in nature to require them. This piece of advice stirs the imagination making one think that the child expects a pebble to move if batteries were inserted rather than just lie on the ground, unmoving.
Furthermore, the father's advice is to help the child understand that sometimes things are not as they seem. This is shown when he points out that although the child's 'shadow is shortening', it does not mean he is 'growing shorter'. In this case only an understanding that light casts shadows of varying lengths depending on the angle it comes from, would explain it. Similarly, the advice can also be interpreted as an emphasis on finding out more about something before forming a conclusion as appearances can be deceiving.