A comparison of planned child by Sandra olds and a Rainy country by Linda Pastan

After reading the two
poems by the renowned poets, one gets to
understand the similarities in their works. They both are feminists with well-written
and direct free verse style poems set to capture a reader’s attention; however,
a deeper understanding is required so as to unravel the deeper meaning they are
trying to communicate in their pieces. Therefore, my goal in this paper is to
compare the pieces and show the similarities of Old’s and Pastan’s literary styles of writing.


The events of the poems
are presented in images that quickly shift places from sad and depressed scenes
to beautiful and soothing ones then it changes course back to the original.
This puts imagery as one of the main style used by both of the poets (Pastan, 45-58). Old uses imagery of the sun,
Moon, Stars, Orion cartwheeling easily
across the world to depict the joy she had for being a planned child. She was so
happy that her mother would not have thought of staying in the world without
her thus she had to plan for the birth.

In Pastan’s poem in the
first stanza, she uses imagery of the headlines and feature stories leaking blood all
over the breakfast table and the wounding of the world mingling with the smells
of bacon and bread is used to explain how the country was deep in tragedy and
rotten (Baker, 288-301). This is used to
create a picture in the reader’s mind of how the rot was deeply rooted in the

Atmosphere /Mood

The mood or atmosphere is
the feeling that is created in a poem. Old in Planned Child sets a somber mood
at the beginning by criticizing her mother’s act of planning the birth. She attests to the fact that her
birth was well organized and calculated (Aube,
140-156). She wanted according to his own words “to be conceived in heat,
by mistake, in haste, in love, in sex and not on
cardboard.” She, therefore, allows the reader to feel her emotions on
the subject.

Pastan also maintains a
very somber mood in the poem the raining country. She uses it to make the
reader feel what exactly was going on in the country (Baker, 288-301). In the first stanza she says that the headlines
and feature stories were leaking blood all over the breakfast table and the
wounding of the world mingling with the smells of bacon and bread, this sets a
sad scene for the reader, preparing them for an unpleasing situation in the


Pastan’s work is majorly
a metaphorical piece. He uses metaphors to describe almost the whole piece. Metaphors
are a literal style used to compare objects which are rather dissimilar. She
uses the Trojan women which is a tragedy written by the ancient Greek play
writer Euripides (Baker, 288-301). It
centers mainly on the horror of war and its aftermath. Thus, this serves as the
perfect fit to describe the mood in the poem, which is tragic, and beyond

She continues to compare herself to the queen of a rainy country
who is old and powerless in the last stanza. This is metaphorical to mean that
she can do nothing about the situation in the country because she cannot
control the rain, which in this case the rain represents the tragic situation
in the country. Thus, the dawn of a new day and she continues with her daily
routine oblivious of what is happening in the country.

Old metaphorically
compares the wine being poured into the wine glass to the blood with grainy
tiny clots that helps relieve the mother of the pain of delivery by smoothing
the way. The wine thus helps create and relieves olds mind and allows her to
view her birth as a planned baby to be a right decision.

Theme: Feminism

Pastan’s reference to
herself as the queen of a rainy country who is old and powerless is an embrace of feminism. With the reference, she puts it
upon herself to be responsible for the tragic situation of the country (Baker, 288-301). It is only tragic because
she cannot do anything to remedy the situation in the country. She brings a different feminine angle to
issues such as aging, loss, and death

Old in the Planned child
depicts the woman as a character to whom the decision to bring to life solely
depends on.  This is brought out with the
imagery used when the mother is conceiving the child.’ she was bearing down and
then breathing in the mask and the bearing down and pushing me out to the world
that was not enough for her without me in it’. This establishes the role of a
woman in the society and makes it even better because she endures all the pain
and trouble of bringing a child to the world (Pastan,
45-58). Thus putting the woman on the same level as the man whose role
in the society is rather overrated
compared to the women.

Unexpectedness of life

In Old’s planned child,
she brings out the theme of the unexpectedness
of life by criticizing the act of her mother planning her birth; it is expected that in a normal life
situation one is expected to be grateful that they were not born by accident.
However, Old goes ahead to suggest that she ought to have been born in an unexpected
and unplanned time.

Pastan in the Raining
country compares herself to the queen of the raining country who is old and
powerless. She goes on to continue with her life as if nothing is happening (Baker, 288-301). In a normal setting, she was supposed to try and remedy the
situation especially when she has made such crucial observations. “I have
thumbed through the pages of my life” is a phrase she uses to show that she had
seen what would happen in the future. If she knew what to expect she then ought
to have at least done something to help remedy the situation.


 From analyzing the two poems, we find that they use similar themes and literal styles.
This, therefore, assists the two to
address their issues in a more clear and effective way. The similarity makes
their work stand out as one of the best poets who has gone ahead to address various issues that most poets fail to
address, a good example being feminism and politics in the society.


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