It is also evident that the speaker lives a life of regrets. Throughout the poem, there are constant notions of regret through the phrases such as “if only” and “meant to”. It can be inferred that the speaker was dissatisfied and unhappy with his stature, although he had lived up to his strict ideals. For example, he was remorseful about not spending time with his brother and “siding with mom”, realizing his faults only after it is too late to make amendments. The speaker’s brother, on the other hand, was a hopeful optimist, who always saw the brighter side of life.
Being younger, he was naturally more nai?? ve, and viewed the world with more simplicity and curiosity. Due to their conflicting attitudes, he was told to “grow up, face the world” by his older brother. Even then, he remained carefree and possessed good humour, his “smiling face” bringing cheer to the people around him. However, a tinge of constraint to his nature could be felt from the poem, as his brother supposed was happier, “riding on imagination’s flight, away from the dull earth”.
Although he lived in the same “dull earth” as his older brother, his high spirits were not diminished. With the burning curiosity and vivid imagination in him, the speaker’s brother was idealistic and dared to dream, unlike his kin. He “set free earthbound homework into dreams that flew” and did not take life too seriously, for he was just a young soul, not aware of the real world. On the contrary to his elder brother, the subject’s attitude towards life was much more enthusiastic and his soul was like a little flame, gently brightening up the grey areas of the speaker’s life.
ii) What can you tell about the relationship between the speaker and his subject? Support your answer with evidence from the poem. From the poem, I can conclude that the speaker and his subject did not really share a close sibling relationship, until things took a turn for the worst. After his brother’s death, the speaker then regretted not putting much effort into bonding with his brother, and became closer to him spiritually.