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English Literature

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In the poem Stealing, a desperate young man attempts to fulfil his craving for company, and capture small moments of other people's happiness. He manages to accomplish these desires by means of stealing and law breaking. To this boy, robbery is not for money but is instead a frantic attempt to fulfil a lonely life. Bad experiences have ridden this boy's existence; explaining his need for a companion and glimpses of other people's joy. However, the method he uses to accomplish his aspirations show no compassion towards the people's lives that have been affected by the damage he has caused.

The whole poem is from the thief's very open perspective; he describes how he steals, and what he thinks at these moments. The poem starts off with the thief repeating the question he was just asked by the person speaking to him- 'The most unusual thing I ever stole?' From the nature of the question it is clear that the person asking was unlikely to be a police officer, but more likely to be a friend or councillor. The fact that events are highly descriptive means that the boy was just in need of someone to discuss his life with, proving that there was a lack of sympathetic people in it during the time of his law-breaking.

In the beginning of the poem, the boy describes how he steals a snowman. This may seem unusual but this was only due to his yearning for companionship. The boy describes the snowman as ' a tall white mute' The snowman being 'mute' could give one explanation why the thief chose to steal him; he could not speak so could not judge him or tell anyone about his crimes. The thief then goes straight into explaining that he wanted a 'mate,' another sign of him wanting a friend to share experiences with. He also says that he wanted this 'mate' because he had a 'mind as cold as the slice of ice within my own brain.' The thief saying this shows us that he wanted a friend who was similar to himself, but this phrase also means that the boy looked upon his own mind as frozen like ice; unable to be penetrated by emotions or feel other people's emotions.

The first line of the second stanza is- 'Better off dead than giving in, not taking what you want.' This is a statement that is reflective of the thief's whole life. 'Taking what you want' is what the boy's whole life revolves around. This is why he says he would be 'Better off dead,' than 'not taking what you want,'-the boy would rather die than stop stealing. This also shows the real extent to which the thief was distressed and anxious about his lonely existence.

When the boy reflects upon the journey transferring the snowman he goes into real depth to show us the pain involved. He uses phrases such as -'he weighed a ton,' 'his torso frozen stiff,' 'a fierce chill piercing my gut.' All of these statements describe how determined and strong-willed the thief was in order to achieve his goal; company.

At the end of the same stanza, the thief goes on to say that-'part of the thrill was knowing that children would cry in the morning;' an extremely spiteful statement to make showing us even further how unsympathetic he is towards the victims of his crimes. An explanation for this cruel mindedness is the thief wanting to hurt the children like he has been hurt in the past; teaching them lessons about the reality of life. This is more evident in the next sentence which is-'Life's tough.'

Another possible reason for the thief's enjoyment of upsetting the children is the fact that he has never had much of a happy, fulfilled life, and by taking away their snowman, he is stealing a small piece of their's.

The third stanza begins by confirming that the thief is an



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