a song in the front yard by Gwendolyn Brooks
I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.
I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.
They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).
But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.
-Speaker is a child and a girl
-Personification of weeds as 'hungry'
-Contrast between the neat and orderly front yard and wild and unkempt back yard, speaker exhibits desire for freedom and fun of the 'back yard' life style.
-'Rose' is a symbol for the pretty, perfect life style of the speaker.
-Active verb uses like 'strut' and 'sneer'.
-Three, four line stanzas and one eight line. The eight line stanza tells a story of the speakers mother and established the bigotry that the girl will assume when she is no long a child.
-Personification of stockings as brave. The stockings become a symbol of childlike confidence.
-Lots of repetition of 'they' and 'are'
-'Charity Children' poor kids, have more imagination and fun because they have less materiel possessions to work with.
-The overall tone of the work is childlike naivety. The speaker desires to rebuke the neat and orderly life she has in favor of the mystery and excitement of the lower class. This also creates a sense of irony because she wants to move down the socioeconomically hierarchy.
-The imagery used is gritty and dark. The author uses images like hungry weeds, winter, ‘night-black lace’ and jail to contrast the assumed neatness of the speaker’s front yard.