The initial perspective of the father is shown using metaphors and allusions in the chorus. The start of the chorus consists of
???And the cats in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon???
???The cats in the cradle??? is a metaphor which refers to the son in the song. The meaning of the metaphor is that the son is at home, in his cradle, and possibly that he is ready to play. The silver spoon represents wealth and how the father is always at work earning this wealth in order to provide for his family. Little boy blue also refers to the son and how he is sad, or blue, because his father will not play with him. The man in the moon refers to the father, who is always far away from home, unreachable and cannot play with his son. These metaphors are also allusions, which refer to the nursery rhymes ???Hey Diddle Diddle???, ???Little Boy Blue??? and ???Man in the Moon???. The effect of these allusions is that they create a sense of youth and yearning to have fun by the son. The effect of these two lines in the chorus is that they set up the song and give the responder an idea of the situation between the father and his son. The son is a small boy who is wanting to play with his father and have some fun, but his father is always too busy working to play with his son, and perhaps he thinks that it is more important to earn money than to make his son happy, by spending time with him and playing fun games with him. The composer uses metaphors and allusions to reveal the initial perspective of the father in this song.
The change of perspective is revealed to the responder in the second half of the song using the structure, which shows that as time goes on, and the father and his son get older, the father??™s perspective changes. In the beginning of the song the son asks his dad to play, but he is too busy with work and other things in life, but at the end of the song the tables turn. When the father asks his son to spend time with him, he is now to busy with his job and his family to spend time with his father. This can be seen in the last verse of the song:
???I??™ve long since retired, my sons moved away
I called him up just the other day??¦
???I said “Id like to see you if you don??™t mind”
He said “Id love to Dad, if I could find the time.
You see my new jobs a hassle, and the kids have the flu???.
The effect of the structure of the song is that it reveals to the responder that as time goes on the situation of people??™s lives change, and that while some people, in this case the father, can find time to do things which they were never able to do before, other people, such as the son, have moved on with their own life and then do not have time to do things that they wanted to earlier in their life. The father??™s perspective changes in that after the phone call with his son, he comes to the realisation that now his son doesn??™t have any time to spend with him, just like he didn??™t have any time to spend with his son, and that his life is not the only one that matters, but rather other people have their own lives too, and you need to deal with that in life. The compose uses the structure of the song, which involves time moving on, in order to reveal the change in perspective of the father.
Harry Chapin reveals changing perspectives in this song by setting up the initial perspective, using metaphors and allusions, and then reveals the change in perspective using the structure of the song which involves time going on, people getting older and life situations changing.