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Compare how poets present growing up in ‘Mother, any distance’ and in one other poem from ‘Love and relationships’.

Both ‘Mother, any distance’ and ‘Walking away’ present growing up as a frightening, but necessary part of life. Armitage shows the challenging nature of becoming independent through the view of the child, whilst Lewis presents us an emotionally damaged parent losing their protective and loving control he once had over his child. However, both poems clearly confirm that in a loving familial relationship, growing up will cause a separation, ultimately leading to a missing part of identity but the fulfillment of a loving parent’s criteria in which they must set their loved ones free.

Both poems use the nature of growing up, to illustrate the consequences in a relationship. Throughout the poem, a lexical pattern of length is used to create an extended metaphor of growing distance between the fearful speaker and mother. He wonders if he is finally at the “last one-hundreth of an inch”, finally away from his parents and his eventual “fall or fly”. This constant anticipation of the future conveys the worry that the speaker has for his inevitable separation from parent, similar to Walking away when the father believes his son is a “half-fledged thing set free into a wilderness”. This metaphor of a bird finally leaving its nest and being set free, links to the ‘Mother any distance’ speaker worrying if he will fall or fly, because in both cases the possibility of failure is daunting. They understand that they might fail, but understand “love is proved in the letting go”, thus the ultimate loss of identity is worth it because that is what familial relationships criteria includes: letting loved ones be free and independent. This is a universal phenomena, for example when animals get left and have to finally learn to hunt themselves, proving that in a loving familial relationship, the consequences of growing up are in reality a disguise for proving love.

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