Shel Silverstein's Poem 'Whatif'

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Tired eyes and exhausted exhales are the results of a night spent being trampled on by whatifs. Shel Silverstein’s poem entitled “Whatif” is narrated by a young boy who is being kept awake at night by endless whatifs. Some of the whatifs are childish and absurd, but many are whatifs that adults have to fight off every night. Silverstein wrote “Whatif” to emphasize that some whatifs do not only plague children. Whatifs regarding growing tall and shrinking heads do not keep adults awake at night, but some adults still worry a great deal about their parents and their family unit. In line 20 Silverstein writes, “Whatif my parents get divorced?”(Silverstein 20). To some, this is a whatif only children have. To others, this is a whatif that still keeps them awake at night. A divorce of a parental unit can be life changing even after one has moved out of the house. The difficulty of…show more content…
Silverstein writes multiple lines regarding grades and acceptance in school. “Whatif I’m dumb in school?” and “Whatif I flunk that test?” are worries every student, young or old, loses sleep to (Silverstein 5,11). Adults who are about to start a more difficult level of classes faces the same worry of ability as child starting the next grade. As children take their spelling tests, adults are taking their advanced mathematics tests, and at the end of the day, both children and adults are worried about whether or not they made a passing grade on their tests. In line 13, Silverstein writes, “Whatif nobody likes me?”(Silverstein 13). Silverstein understood that acceptance is important to children, but he also recognized that acceptance is something that adults worry about too. Sitting in a class with 30 other students and having no one to converse with is intimidating no matter what age someone

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