How to Be Old Poem Analysis

“How to Be Old”

It is easy to be young, (Everybody is, at first.) It is not easy to be old. It takes time. Youth is given; age is achieved. One must work a magic to mix with time in order to become old. Youth is given. One must put it away like a doll in a closet, take it out and play with it only on holidays. One must have many dresses and dress the doll impeccably (but not to show the doll, to keep it hidden. ) It is necessary to adore the doll, to remember it in the dark on the ordinary days, and every day congratulate one’s aging face in the mirror. In time one will be very old. In time, one’s life will be accomplished.

And in time, in time, the doll–– like new, though ancient––will be found.

– May Swenson

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Who is the speaker? What is the point of view? What is the mood? What is the tone? What is the imagery? What is the form? What is the theme? What is the figurative language? The speaker in the poem “ How to Be Old” by May Swenson is an elder teaching children about growing old. The poem is in third person point of view. The mood is kind of sad because your moving on from childhood and growing up. The theme is serious, the author is telling you to hide your inner child and only take it out on special occasions.

While reading this poem I imagined a little girl putting her doll away and then growing up into adulthood. The theme of the poem is cherish the past, but embrace the future. In this poem the word doll is used to describe childhood, because childhood like a doll is fun and playful, but at some point in your life, you’re going to have to put that doll in your closet and move on. You’re growing up and maturing, you can still think about your childhood and even bring out the inner child in your heart but not often because there is a time and a place to release your inner child.

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