Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry: Explained, MY SHADOW, by ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry: Explained

MY SHADOW, by             Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography

"My Shadow" is a delightful poem by Robert Louis Stevenson that explores the playful relationship between a child and their shadow. The poem reflects on the curious nature of the shadow, which mimics the child's movements and sometimes behaves in unexpected ways.

The poem begins by introducing the child's little shadow, which accompanies them wherever they go. The child ponders the purpose or use of the shadow, as it seems to serve no practical function. The shadow resembles the child closely, mirroring their movements from head to heel. The child even notices their shadow jumping ahead of them when they jump into bed.

One amusing aspect of the shadow is its tendency to change size. Unlike real children who grow slowly, the shadow can shoot up tall like a rubber ball or shrink so small that it almost disappears. This playful characteristic adds to the charm of the shadow and sets it apart from regular children.

The child finds the shadow's behavior quite amusing, as it does not understand how children should play and often makes a fool of the child in various ways. Despite this, the shadow remains constantly close, sticking to the child like a loyal companion. The child humorously compares the shadow's loyalty to sticking with "nursie," expressing that they would be ashamed to be as clingy as the shadow.

In a lighthearted twist, the poem concludes with the child recounting an early morning experience. While the child rose early to witness the shining dew on the buttercups, the lazy little shadow stayed behind and was fast asleep in bed. This playful contrast emphasizes the relationship between the child and their shadow, highlighting the shadow's unique behavior.

"My Shadow" captures the innocent wonder and imagination of childhood. It invites readers to appreciate the whimsical nature of a child's perspective and the joy found in simple observations and playful companionship.

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