Amanda by Robin Klein

Don’t bite your nails, Amanda!
Don’t hunch your shoulders, Amanda!
Stop that slouching and sit up straight,

(There is a languid, emerald sea,
where the sole inhabitant is me—
a mermaid, drifting blissfully.)

Did you finish your homework, Amanda?
Did you tidy your room, Amanda?
I thought I told you to clean your shoes,

(I am an orphan, roaming the street.
I pattern soft dust with my hushed, bare feet.
The silence is golden, the freedom is sweet.)

Don’t eat that chocolate, Amanda!
Remember your acne, Amanda!
Will you please look at me when I’m speaking to you,

(I am Rapunzel, I have not a care;
life in a tower is tranquil and rare;
I’ll certainly never let down my bright hair!)

Stop that sulking at once, Amanda!
You’re always so moody, Amanda!
Anyone would think that I nagged at you,

Short Summary

The poem ‘Amanda’ is about a small child whose parents are forever nagging her about what to do and what not to do. This frequent interference makes her very unhappy. She feels that she is not free to do anything that she wants to do. She wants freedom from all restrictions. She dreams to lead a life of a mermaid in a Languid, emerald sea with her being the only inhabitant there. She feels that an orphan has more freedom than her. She also wished to lead a calm and quiet life in a tower like that of Rapunzel with nobody to disturb her.


Amanda is getting instructed, most probably by her parents for not biting her nails and for sitting lazily with her shoulders bent. The tone of instructions here is not a friendly one and thus fails to make any sense to Amanda.

Amanda uses her imagination as an escape point from day to day commands of her parents. She finds peace in her own created world where there are no restrains. She imagines herself to be a joyful mermaid sailing without any confines alongside soft waves of the green sea.

Amanda is now being asked about whether she had finished her homework, or had made her room tidy and also whether she had cleaned her shoes. These set of instructions mark a shift from the instructions given in stanza. Her name is being called again with an exclamation mark which shows that the parents seem to be losing their cool and are troubled.

Amanda is again lost into her own world. After getting a fresh list of instructions from her parents, she wishes to be away from this daily routine life. Amanda perceives herself as an orphan roaming on the streets, moving aimlessly without any purpose. She seems happy as she draws patterns using her bare feet.

Amanda is stopped by her parents from eating a chocolate as previously it caused her acne. Amanda is still lost in her own thoughts and doesn’t care enough to look up to her scolding parents. This carelessness further angers the parents and they ask for her attention when she is being scolded.

Amanda is still lost in her own dreams. She pictures herself to be the long golden-haired Rapunzel who lived in a castle and had no care about anything. Amanda imagines that the life of Rapunzel must have been very peaceful and fantastic in the tower. But she is unwilling to let her hair down. She only wants to live by herself as the presence of another being in her life would require her to act in a certain way. Amanda wanted to live free and happy.

The parents keep instructing Amanda on the do’s and don’ts, but Amanda remains lost in her own dreams. The parents believe that Amanda is not reacting because she is annoyed. Her behaviour has made her parents look bad and they get worried about their image. They are concerned about how society will perceive them if their child always remains in a foul mood.

Poetic Devices


  • Stop that slouching and sit up straight
  • I thought I told you to clean
  • Stop that sulking at once, Amanda!


  • Mermaid (Taken from fairy tales)
  • Rapunzel (Taken from German fairy tale)


  • Languid, emerald sea S
  • Silence is golden
  • Freedom is sweet

Rhyme Scheme: aaba ccc