An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum is a realistic poem composed by Stephen Spender in 1964. The poem depicts the sufferings of children in slums. The poet feels distressed at the sorry state of the little children. They are poor, malnourished, unhealthy, weak and deprived of the basic needs in their lives. The poet brings out the real condition of the underprivileged people. The poet describes the little children as rootless weeds who need nourishment.
The "twisted bones" apparently refer to children having rickets disease. The poet questions the affluent people about their role in their development. The unfortunate children do not dream of travelling the world that is found in maps, the little rooms they live in are their world, and the windows are their taste of freedom. According to the poet, these kids' future is painted with fog, which means it is transient. The miserable state portrays the class difference prevalent in society. The poet requests all the powerful people in town, including governors, inspectors, visitors, to change their future into something beautiful. They need to receive all the amenities of life. Blissful life is their fundamental right.
This poem is revolutionary because it blatantly exposes the poor section of society and the adversities they are compelled to face. This poem uses a lot of symbols and motifs to represent the life of the slum dwellers.
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