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Merry-Go-Round: Critical Analysis

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322 words
Poetry & Poets

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McAvley's purpose in "Merry-Go-Round" is to show the innocent beliefs of children viewed by a cynical adult. It portrays children caught up in the magical, surreal world of childhood before thrown into reality and the discordant life of adulthood. He employs specific stylistic devices such as imagery and diction, structure and tone to reveal this theme by discussing the appearance of the merry-go-round through the logical, educated eyes of an adult. The tone is one of excitement before it shifts to a detached cynicism as the adult appears to almost become immersed in the merry-go-round before being thrust back to reality. All these stylistic techniques contribute to the meaning and understanding of the poem.
McAvley uses the theme of this poem to suggest the tone, which shifts from excitement in the first two stanzas to detached cynicism in the last three stanzas. The tone of excitement is depicted by "the silent waiting merry-go-round invites" and by describing the riders as "eager" leaning in "intent, lips parted" with their "brief smiles float towards the watching crowd". The last three stanzas show the emphasised view of the cynical adult who is simply observing the children from a detached outside viewpoint. For example, "almost I see the marvel they see" is informing the reader that he is "almost" caught up in the enchantment as the children are.
McAvley's clever use of diction and imagery add to the enchantment of the merry-go-round as the children see it as a magical fantasy world. It is continually likened to another world. For example, the first stanza deals with the excitement and attraction of the merry-go-round with adjectives such as "bright-coloured" and "mirror-plated" to describe it. The use of personification, "prancing wooden horses", is deliberately used to suggest the horses are alive in this surreal world. Personification is also used to convey this magical world by assigning the merry-go-round with "waiting" and "inviting" qualities. The second stanza ...

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Keywords: merry go round analysis

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