Jack Prelutsky’s “As soon as Fred gets out of bed” is a witty, humorous poem about a little boy who curiously wears his underwear over his head. Initially, it might seem to be something written for kicks and for laughs, but upon further inspection it becomes an extended metaphor for a child celebrating his freedom.
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As Soon as Fred Gets Out of Bed
BY JACK PRELUTSKY
As soon as Fred gets out of bed,
his underwear goes on his head.
His mother laughs, “Don’t put it there,
a head’s no place for underwear!”
But near his ears, above his brains,
is where Fred’s underwear remains.
At night when Fred goes back to bed,
he deftly plucks it off his head.
His mother switches off the light
and softly croons, “Good night! Good night!”
And then, for reasons no one knows,
Fred’s underwear goes on his toes.
Analysis of Prelutsky’s “As Soon as Fred Gets Out of Bed”
“As soon as Fred gets out of bed” is a poem written by Jack Prelutsky. It is said that Jack wrote this poem about his younger brother who, as a child, used to run around with this underwear over his head. This poem is a gently rhyming humorous poem that tells the story of Fred, a little boy, who liked to put his underwear on his head the moment he gets out of his bed.
His mother tenderly tries to correct him, but he would not have it otherwise. However, during the night, after his mother has bidden him good night, “for reasons no one knows” he pulls the underwear off his head and the “underwear goes on his toe”. No one really knows why.
In this poem that follows a simple narrative poetry form, freedom remains as the prevalent theme. The concept of freedom and independence is overwhelmingly spread in the young mind of Fred. Perhaps, the poet has named him so because he wanted Fred to be the poster boy for childhood freedom.
Fred’s mother somewhat represents the unbending, rigid society as she tries to put him right by saying – “a head’s no place for underwear!”. But Fred does not want to sacrifice his freedom and actively rejects her idea as he holds on to his individuality.
Likewise, this poem in a way is also a depiction of the rebellious, unruly stage that children go through at some point in their lives and the failure of parents to understand them.
Children want to attract the attention of others and have an inclination to make themselves be noticed by doing the wrong things. The underwear stunt is a way for Fred to achieve just that. He then removes it at the end of the day, and places it on his toe; maybe he is contemplating to try something new the next day.