November 3, 2014
In the Red Hat, written by Rachel Hadas, a mother and a father emotionally struggle with their son growing up. Over a two-week period they watch their child from afar as he begins to transition from a child to a young adult. Through setting and point of view, the author portrays the theme of independence.
Within the poem the reader sees elements of time, date, and setting. Using setting the author uses a two week time period to show how a child leaves his parents and slowly becomes more independent. “It started before Christmas,” (Hadas, 1994) the little boy walks to school alone. The reader knows the season is Christmas and may begin to picture a young boy walking in the cold. This might make the reader feel sorry for the parents because they watch the child grow up and are alone. Settings of winter are dreary and frigid. The author also states he walks “east side of the West End” (Hadas, 1994) and “we [the parents] walk on the west side” (Hadas, 1994). The reader can visually picture a child walking on the opposite side of the street from his parents. The child is yet again, independent. “Straus Park is where these parallel paths part” (Hadas, 1994). The author gives a precise street name to make the setting more specific. One can only imagine two parallel lines splitting or no longer running side by side. "In the middle of the first stanza the lines, "these parallel paths part" interrupt the flow of the poem. Here, at Straus Park, the boy must really separate from his parents” (Miller, 2013). As the child becomes more independent the author uses “two weeks ago” (Hadas, 1994) to show time has passed. “They look back two weeks, remembering when they held their son's hand as they walked to school. The parents will not let their son go on alone until they feel satisfied that he can handle the responsibility" (Miller, 2013). “The mornings we turn back to are no more than forty minutes longer than before” (Hadas, 1994) which shows the child is solely independent and the parents no longer follow him. Using time, place, and setting the author is gradually showing the son’s independence.
The author also uses point of view to portray the theme of independence. The poem is told from the parent’s point of view in first person. “Now our son walks to school alone” (Hadas, 1994). The word “our” symbolizes ownership. "Even though the son proves his capability of walking to school, the parents still worry. When they finally let their son continue on his own, they worry about the potential dangers in the world. The parents will always worry, because their boy can never be completely safe." (Cusack, 2000). The mother states, “I or his father track him on the…