how to look at a broken swing

© Copyright 2020 Brianna Silva, Ryerson University

how to look at

a broken swing

A homemade swing hanging from a branch is a common image that comes to mind when someone thinks of their childhood. The uncomfortable wooden plank isn’t much to sit on but the feeling of swinging back and forth on a summer’s day is irreplaceable. Then there is the case of the unfortunate broken swing. The broken swing in the photo is being held by a single rope with the other rope hanging tangled on the board. It is a simple design, a single wooden plank and 2 pieces of rope.

Silva, Brianna, 2014. Broken Swing. Digital Photograph

The board hangs low to the ground suggesting that the swing was made for someone small, with short legs, someone also closer to the ground. It could have been a simple and quick solution to cure a child’s boredom in the warm summer months. The swings seen in parks and playgrounds nowadays are made of chains and plastic, more durable materials for constant use. The snow surrounding the swing in the photo is a reminder of the seasons changing and time passing. It is a contribution to the decay of the swing in the photo as it has probably weathered a variety of elemental changes. The broken swing is a symbol of a forgotten childhood. The abandoned wooden plank and snapped rope once represented a time in a child’s life where things were simple and carefree. When the swing was functional it could’ve been used as  an escape from reality. The swing allowed for a different perspective on the world to be seen. Swings present a different view on reality, a feeling of flying. The most common dream that a child has growing up, is to gain the ability to fly. To have the superpower that allows you to leave at any given time or place and travel wherever you wish.A swing gives a person the ability to feel something different, to feel like for a moment they are on top of the world and can achieve anything.

The broken swing showcases the true reality of childhood. Something that once was wondrous and full of life, is now abandoned and forgotten about. The swing in the photo is hanging on by single piece of rope, representing a person’s urgency to hold onto their past but inevitably facing the reality that everyone must grow up. The photo of the broken swing evokes a certain sadness as many questions come into play. Who built the swing? Why did they stop caring for it? The photo was taken in the backyard of a house that was put up for sale indicating that at one point this was someone’s childhood home. The swing’s evident decay in the photo shows that it has been abandoned for some time and the owner’s obvious refusal to remove or renew it is a conscious choice. Maybe the owner refused to remember the good memories that the swing gave them. Maybe they believe it should be a project for the next homeowner to deal with. The broken swing is such a simple image that can be easily dismissed but can provoke a variety of different emotions depending on the way you look at it.


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