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Dirty Face by Shel Silverstein

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by

Chase Wilmot

on 29 May 2013

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Transcript of Dirty Face by Shel Silverstein

Dirty Face
by Shel Silverstein Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?

I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy’s shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin.
I got if from rolling around on the rug
And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
I got it from finding a lost silver mine
And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
And from having more fun than you’ve had in years. First Impressions When reading Dirty Face for the first time my first impression was: it was a silly poem that reminded me of my childhood. I didn't really think too much about it, or believe it was anything more than a goofy rhyming poem. I didn't find any connections or themes when I read it for the first time. The stanzaic structure of Silverstein's

poem


is rather random.
It begins

with a couplet then goes into a 14 line stanza
with no pattern of structure. A Rhyming Wonder One of my favorite parts of Silverstein's poetry is his use of rhyming. In Dirty Face, Silverstein utilizes an end rhyme pattern that begins in the second stanza going AABBCCDDEE... and so on. Here is an excerpt to help you see the brilliance of his rhymes:
"I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin" (7-10). Meter The entire poem is in a sing-song-y tone adding to the theme of the child having fun and being free. The meter of Dirty Face is a trochaic tetrameter, which refers to the four trochaic feet within each line. But after the fourth foot there is a single cretic foot at the end. It looks like this! The couplet at the beginning of the poem does not rhyme at all but then the poem shifts into the rhyming pattern that I gave an example of above. Using the rhyming creates a shift that helps the reader identify both the speakers, emphasizing them. The first speaker parent figure whos tone is formal and stately. Then the speaker changes and it becomes a little child, goofy and sprightly in tone. Shifts I got it from crawling along in the dirt ˘ / ˘ / / ˘ / ˘ / ˘ / Figurative Language and Poetic Devices Imagery Simile Consonance/
Assonance Allusion Diction/Speakers Where did you get such a dirty face,
My darling dirty-faced child?

I got it from crawling along in the dirt
And biting two buttons off Jeremy’s shirt.
I got it from chewing the roots of a rose
And digging for clams in the yard with my nose.
I got it from peeking into a dark cave
And painting myself like a Navajo brave.
I got it from playing with coal in the bin
And signing my name in cement with my chin.
I got if from rolling around on the rug
And giving the horrible dog a big hug.
I got it from finding a lost silver mine
And eating sweet blackberries right off the vine.
I got it from ice cream and wrestling and tears
And from having more fun than you’ve had in years. Parent Figure:
The first speaker is a parent figure who is talking to their child; by using such phrases as, "My darling," Silverstein emphasizes their nurturing tone (2). Child:
In the second stanza the speaker shifts to a kid who is younger, speaking back to the adult. Silverstein uses simple language to illustrate the voice of the child. He also uses certain words to create connotations of youthfulness, I've highlighted them here: Throughout the poem Silverstein illustrates the readers childhood by talking about ice cream and adventures that have been universally experienced for years and years. Silverstein uses a simile to illustrate the child, "painting [them self] like a Navajo brave" (8). Shel Silverstein, while using a simile, references to 'a Navajo Brave,' which is a native american(8). On account of his rhyming, Silverstein has many words that repeat consonant sounds and vowel sounds throughout them. Theme Live while you're young! I believe the theme of Dirty Face is about when kids have big dreams and are told by adults that they are "too" big. The adult finds the fact that the child's face is dirty, a bad thing. Where as the child sees it as a symbol of the adventures they have had that day, the child views it as something to be proud of. At the end the child kind of hints to the parent that they just don't understand because they are old and bitter. Their dirty face symbolizes the big dreams that children often have, but as they get older, die out because of the harshness of reality. Reflecting Back After analyzing and picking apart this poem, I can still honestly say I enjoy it. I'm a huge dreamer, so the meaning I found behind it connects to me personally, and keeps it interesting still. This poem is cute and depicts a beautiful meaning with great simplicity. I especially love the sassy ending. 1 2 3 4 Cretic
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