From the beginning Dylan Thomas’ parents almost beat knowledge into their sons head. They were both teaching him about the same topics but with drastically contrasting views. Where his mom was simply focused on teaching her son to read and write through simple mediums such as comic books so that he could see pictures as well. Thomas’ father was reciting Shakespeare to his son to he could learn the extremities of the vibrancy and delicateness of language. Not only were they teaching him contrasting English, but contrasting beliefs. Where his mother was a devout Christian, his father was a raging Atheist, open against what the church and his wife stood for. These different sorts of impressions on Dylan’s life would come to greatly affect his poetry for the rest of his life.
One can see that Dylan more closely followed the teachings from his father rather than his mother in his poem “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”. It focus on Thomas not wanting his father to let go, and gives the impression that it is in a way his father’s choice about when he is going to die, rather than that of God. His mother would have thought differently, because her being a devout Christian would have taught Dylan to believe that his father had no control over the final decision, whereas his father, an Atheist, would have taught Dylan that there is no higher power to determine his fate.
Another poem where Thomas writes directly relating his lifetime experiences through his poetry is in Fern Hill. Thomas is portraying the ideas and events of childhood through this poem. He is remembering all the great memories of spending long summers on his aunt’s dairy farm, looking back on all the good times. Yet, in the same poem he is critical of childhood. At these times he remembers the long teachings his father would force him to sit through. This poem both exemplifies the greatness that the ignorance of childhood brings about, while also exploiting it as a certain waste of time.
“One: I am a Welshman; two: I am a drunkard; three: I am a lover of the human race, especially of women” (Akerman 25). This statement of himself was a way for Dylan Thomas to give both his three great passions and his three great influences. Though these three things together often were what stopped Thomas from writing any poetry with certain for or to otherwise follow any rules, it was these three together that drove him. “The progress of a writer depends, however, not only upon his own canalization of his energies, but also upon the prevailing climate of influence and taste” (Akernan 26). It was only at certain times when these three spheres fell into exact place that Thomas was able to write the type of poems which made him famous. “The achievement represented by Under Milk Wood indicates that Thomas, with an increasing sureness of instinct, came to make the best use of his poetic talent” (Akerman 26).
Dylan Thomas A Collection of Critical Essays – The Welsh Background by John Akerman