Both poems “The Truth” and “Daddy Dozens” begins with a humorous idea. In Daddy Dozens, especially the initial descriptions of the little girl’s daddy and his large forehead might amuse readers, and the special reference to Tyra Banks, brings in practicality and slapstick tone of humour in the picture. Similarly in, “The Truth”, the lines about the fluid dropping from the trainee’s nose into the perfectly round mouth of onions in the Whopper Jr, might give rise to a funny picture. But both these poems give the reader a small jolt when it gradually moves on to a more sombre and sad undertone.
The difference lies here between the two poems, as in Wood’s “Daddy Dozens”, the poem is structured such that there is a clear and gradual transition from the writer’s attempt at slapstick comedy to a more serious and deep, earthy, realistic picture whereas in Gay’s “The Truth” the poem oscillates between the sad reality of being and the apparent take on humour by the writer and ends on a sudden jolt.
“Daddy Dozens” starts on a very bratty slapstick loud note, about a child describing her father and using quite drastic and apparently offensive phrases to do so. But while reading, the reader suddenly realizes that a lot of hard truth gets in the mix of things and then the clear understanding about her Daddy dawns on the reader (Poetry F). When the writer writes “...my house got its own forehead, glinting, sweaty, in the evening, while my Daddy at work, at home, in his own area code, a whole other time zone”, the reader realizes the tough, practical situation the man is in, and how the daughter idolize him as someone who is constantly busy and working and is alone in his own way, to provide for his family. We, the readers understand more about the father and at the end we understand some of the loneliness the daughter has and her father has, which the blustery humour cannot drown any more.
“The Truth” on the other hand, starts on a light-hearted note and the structure the poet has used, allows the reader to understand the tone of the poem which is a right mix of seriousness and a light humorous tone. The suspense and the tension of the run on sentence are very high. It somehow lets the reader feel that it is leading to a sudden drastic culmination of something; yet, the hard work continues to go on. Mr. Gay writes, “I did not blink”, at the reference of how the water from the older man’s nose dropped into the mixer. This shows the way in which the 14 year old narrator has also hardened into being a much older guy, and he realizes that how much the other man is struggling and needs this job, because he has a family to look after. Both these poems “The Truth” and “Daddy Dozens” speaks of an older male who is struggling and continuously working to support his family to the extent that he has lost being a human, and is undeterred even when sick, even when he is home, even when he needs his own personal time. These poems act as a mirror to the today’s society and how individuals have to continuously act as machines to keep up, to provide for, and to ensure about their family.
The poems “The Truth” and “Daddy Dozens” end on a very sad take on life. The poems have individual layouts which contributed to the meanings each poem conveys. The flow of words was continuous, in a fast talking way and then they slowed down and gave seriousness to both the poems. The “full stops” and the “gaps” gave the readers time to readjust and then read on. The last lines of both the poems are isolated, lovely and make a perfect ending in aural, visual and definitely semantic aspects.
Poetry F. (n.d.). Jamila Woods reads "Daddy Dozens". Retrieved February 20, 2018, from 2018: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/podcasts/143885/jamila-woods-reads-daddy-dozens
Poetry Foundation. (2018). Daddy Dozens. Retrieved February 20, 2018, from Poetry Foundation: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/58058/daddy-dozens