The fear of surgery and its effects are of a concern for all involved. Salter's "Half a Double Sonnet" is a sonnet describing the ordeal of a child named Ben. Ben has undergone surgery and is now suffering from double vision. Ben's reaction is vague. Many people would find it miserable to suffer from double vision; however Ben, on the other hand, is ecstatic with the situation. He finds joy in experiencing double vision while others would sulk in their misery. The theme of double and a young boy finding joy in unusual situations is found throughout the poem. The sonnet states:.
Their ordeal over, now the only trouble.
was conveying somehow to a boy of three.
that for a week or two he'd be seeing double. .
Surely he wouldn't recall the surgery.
years later, but what about the psychic scars?.
And so, when the patch came off, they bought the toy .
he'd wanted most. He held it high. "Two cars!".
he cried; and drove himself from joy to joy.
Two baby sisters. . .one was enough of Clare,.
but who could complain?-considering that another .
woman had stepped forward to take care.
of the girls, which left him all alone with Mother. .
Victory! Even when he went to pee,.
he was seconded in his virility.
Salter's play with quality begins with the title. Right from the beginning, the theme of seeing double is cleverly incorporated within the title. The title "Half a Double Sonnet" literally means one full sonnet. Metaphorically, it demonstrates the poet utilizing the theme of seeing "double." Salter suggests the sonnet is viewed through the eyes of Ben. He will see two sonnets in one. In reality, there is actually only one sonnet.
The sonnet commences with a dilemma. The scene is set and the struggle begins. "Their ordeal" describes the fact that a boy has undergone surgery. He is now out of the surgery room and in his recovery room in the hospital. The use of the word ordeal demonstrates the great concern the family had of this surgery.