Essay about When I Was 1 And 20

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Words: 905
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Jainabu Drammeh
English 111- Section 115B
Hostos Community College
Paper I – The Interpretation Project: A Poem When I Was One-And-Twenty by A.E. Housman We have all been in a place in life where, we were given advice by someone older or wiser than us and decided to deliberately ignore the advice. Then later on down the line in life, we end up learning that lesson the hard way. ‘When I was One-And-Twenty’ by A.E. Housman is a poem we can all relate to, which is why I chose this poem. This is an interesting poem because at first glance you would think that he is talking about his life as a baby and as a young adult. It is also interesting because this poem teaches a lesson, but in a way you would not be quick to understand. Although you can assume that he is talking about love or the heart, you have to read between the lines to know and understand what is being said love. You also have to pay close attention to understand what events are occurring in the poem. In a brief paraphrase the poem is saying “When I was twenty-one years old, a wise man once told me, give crowns and money but do not give your love away; give pearls and rubies but keep your feelings. But I was twenty-one, so it was pointless to tell me anything. When I was twenty-one I heard the wise man say again, the heart was never given selfishly; it is paid with many sighs and sold for never ending regret. And I am now twenty-two, and oh, it is what the wise man said was very true.” What we have happening in this poem is, there is a young man who is at the tender age of twenty-one who is being given advice from an old wise man. The advice is do not give your love away. The old man advises the young man to give away riches, such as gold, crowns, or pearls instead. This is because riches are a more common and can be balanced against feelings. You can easily trick someone into believing you love them or trick them into loving you by showering them with money. The heart is a lot more valuable than any amount of money or riches, which is why it should be guarded and protected. The wise man feels that the heart is too priceless to be given carelessly. It should be within your own control. Once you give it away it is out of your control, which is the point the wise man keeps trying to make. The wise man goes on to say later on that, giving your heart away is a selfless act and is reciprocated with regret and dread. Then come to find out that of course, being young and twenty-one years old the narrator opts to ignore the wise man’s advice. Now let us fast-forward about a year or so later when the narrator is twenty-two, he realizes how right the wise man was. He ends up learning the lesson the wise man was trying to teach him on his own, the hard way. This lesson being, as cliché as it may sound that, love hurts. Which goes back to the initial lesson of not giving your heart or love away. The poem ‘When I Was One-And-Twenty’ is a rhythmic poem. The last words on every other line starting from the second line rhyme. This can also be seen as…