c) Children should be taught to face reality. Do you agree with this statement? Discuss with close reference to the poem “The Way things Are” by Roger McGough.
It is true that children should be taught reality. The theme of reality versus illusion is brought out in “The Way Things Are” by Roger McGough through the persona’s lecture to his child.
Take for instance “Bubblegum does not make the hair soft and shiny.” Bubblegum, in fact, is ruinous to our hair. The figurative meaning indicates that things that are pleasurable, such as bubblegum, are not necessarily beneficial. Hence, children should be taught this lesson so that they do not thoughtlessly indulge in disastrous pleasure.
Another example is lectured as “No, the red wooly hat has not been/put on the railing to keep it warm.” This can be interpreted as certain deeds that may appear to have been done with kind intentions may have been done accidentally or selfishly. Literally, placing the hat on the railing “to keep it warm” I persiflage as railings are not living organisms and hence cannot feel.
We cannot subsist on dreams. “Moonbeams, sadly, will not survive in a jar.” Dreams being abstract, unrealistic and unattainable are represented as “Moonbeams” which have similar attributes. We should not be preoccupied with dreams or illusions; the jar symbolizing life or our mind. In another perspective (moonbeams being beautiful and unattainable), the phrase advises us to face reality and not be too over-possessive.
Do not cling on to the unachievable. Children should be taught to accept defeat, and that they cannot always have everything that they desire.
Furthermore, “No trusting hand awaits a falling star” informs us that miracles, represented by a “star” are rarities. W cannot expect fortune to descend to us, and wait meaninglessly. Instead, children should strive to achieve their goals through dedicated efforts.
Therefore, children should be taught to face reality, for childlike innocence may result in eventual disappointment and disillusion as a result of ignorance and naïveté. This message is cleverly conveyed in the woven web of symbolism.