Benediction, Rabindranath Tagore: Summary & Analysis

"Benediction" by Rabindranath Tagore is a heartfelt and contemplative poem that offers a blessing and wishes of protection and guidance for a young and innocent child. The poem is a prayer-like expression that calls upon a divine force to bless the child with love, happiness, and safety. It emphasizes the purity and openness of the child's heart and the hope for a positive and nurturing journey through life.

"Benediction" by Rabindranath Tagore

Bless this little heart, this white soul that has won the kiss of
heaven for our earth.
He loves the light of the sun, he loves the sight of his
mother's face.
He has not learned to despise the dust, and to hanker after
gold.
Clasp him to your heart and bless him.
He has come into this land of an hundred cross-roads.
I know not how he chose you from the crowd, came to your door,
and grasped your hand to ask his way.
He will follow you, laughing the talking, and not a doubt in
his heart.
Keep his trust, lead him straight and bless him.
Lay your hand on his head, and pray that though the waves
underneath grow threatening, yet the breath from above may come and
fill his sails and waft him to the heaven of peace.
Forget him not in your hurry, let him come to your heart and
bless him.

Summary

"Benediction" is a blessing and prayer for a young child's well-being and journey through life. The poem expresses a desire for the child to be shielded from negative influences and to be guided with love and care. It emphasizes the child's purity, trust, and openness, and invokes a divine presence to watch over and protect the child's innocence and happiness.

Critical Analysis

The poem conveys the speaker's deep care and concern for the child's well-being and positive growth.

The description of the child's love for simple joys like sunlight and the mother's face underscores the child's innocent and uncorrupted nature.

The lines "He has not learned to despise the dust, and to hanker after gold" emphasize the child's lack of materialistic desires and the absence of cynicism.

The act of choosing the individual from the crowd and seeking guidance conveys the child's trust and reliance on the person addressed in the poem.

The repetition of the plea "bless him" emphasizes the desire for divine protection and well-wishing for the child's journey.

The image of the child following, laughing, and trusting without doubt reflects the child's innocence and positive outlook.

Themes

  • Blessing and Protection: The poem centers around the theme of seeking blessings, protection, and positive guidance for the child's journey through life.
  • Innocence and Purity: The poem highlights the child's innocence, purity, and lack of worldly cynicism or greed.
  • Trust and Guidance: The poem emphasizes the child's trust and reliance on a guiding figure, as well as the importance of leading the child in a positive direction.

Attitudes/Feelings

  • Love and Care: The poem conveys a deep sense of love, care, and concern for the child's happiness, well-being, and protection.
  • Hope: The poem expresses hope for the child's positive and nurturing journey through life, with the aid of divine blessings.

Literary Devices

  • Metaphor: The poem uses the metaphor of "kiss of heaven" to symbolize the child's purity and divine connection.
  • Imagery: The poem uses imagery to describe the child's love for sunlight, the mother's face, and the child's lack of materialistic desires.

Discussion Question

How does "Benediction" by Rabindranath Tagore express the speaker's wishes for the child's well-being, innocence, and positive journey through life? How does the poem emphasize the child's trust, purity, and the importance of divine blessings?

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