Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Red Wheelbarrow

"The Red Wheelbarrow" by William Carlos Williams is an interesting poem because I believe that it is utilizing the colors red and white to possibly signify a good vs. evil theme. The red wheelbarrow is symbolizing the evil while the white chickens symbolize the good. I believe that the rain comes in to the poem to kind of "purify" the evil that is the wheelbarrow.

I am stuck on the idea of why he would choose a wheelbarrow to carry an evil connotation. I tink that it is possible he is thinking of how wheelbarrows can carry objects, which means that maybe evil can carry people away, but the white is associated with objects that can fly (chickens). That could possibly mean that once you are cleansed (by the rain) you are free. That is a total stretch :)


This poem ("Marks" by Linda Pastan) really shocked me, even though it is only twelve lines long, she still really drives the point home. She is fed up with everyone constantly judging her and she uses the grading system to show that. The language she chooses (the grading system) shows that she is treated like no more than an object or an inferior human being. Because she does this, we can feel the bitterness and the fact that her words bite at the reader. She is able to convey a message with such few words, it is amazing.

She is very effective when she writes her poem, the last two lines are the lines that really hit the reader. It's like the reader's floor has been pulled from underneath them (or atleast, that is how I felt). I think this really adds to the piece because she is so blunt and to the point. There is no beating around the bush in her poem. She punches the reader with a heavy line, and the fact that it is such a quick sentence shows she's already made up her mind on a subject that is so heavy. That makes people react, she is so cold about the fact that she is leaving, she's clearly had enough.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

To a Daughter Leaving Home

I thought it would be interesting to read the other poem about motherhood as well. The tone in "To a Daughter Leaving Home" is much more focused on the joys of parenting. Although she is a little disheartened that her child is growing up, she is still proud of the fact that she can ride a bike by herself and possibly the mother has taught her what she needs to know to grow up and be successful.

In "Daystar," the mother wants to get away from her children, but in this poem, the mother hates to see her daughter leaving her. She, "kept waiting for the thud," but it would never come. That thud is the symbol of the daughter's dependance on her mother, but she doesn't need it anymore. The mother is saddened by this, she is still trying to hang on to her daughter's innocence, sprinting to "catch up," but the mother feels left behind because her daughter is growing up so quickly.

Both of these poems have very different views on motherhood. This poem inparticular felt as though she would lose her daughter. The tone of the "handkerchief waving goodbye" is a very sad one, leaving the mother behind. While in the other poem, the mother wishes to be alone, and she reminisces happily in the memory of being absolutely "nothing," for even just an hour. With no responsibilities of a mother, or anything. She was just an observer.


Rita Dove talks about how she is overwhelmed with her children in the poem "Daystar". She "wanted a little room for htinking" so she goes out into the backyard. But she only accomplishes peace for about an hour. The tone of this poem really contributes to the situation of this poem.

Her views on motherhood are focused on the fact that it is very tiresome and that she really needs a break every now and again. She needs her own space, so she builds a "palace," which is really the mother mentally escaping from the responsibilities because palaces are things of fantasy. She is creating something to hide in, or to just take herself out of the role of a mother for a while. When she was hoping that she would only see her "vivid blood," I believe that is her talking about peace and quiet, and what she is hoping for, but it is soon broken by her kids again.

However, I think it is important to note that I don't think she doesn't like her kids, she just feels overwhelmed sometimes and she just wants to escape.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nobody even stops to think about my side of it...

The speaker in Hanging Fire seems to feel as though she has never been good enough for anything. She is always worrying and complaining. I believe that the author (Audre Lorde) was trying to catch the feeling of puberty in a poem. Always self conscious, always worrying what other people will think about her. She is worrying that she might "die before graduation," which shows she dramatizes situations, which is what teenagers do sometimes, she makes claims that "nobody even stops to think about my side of it." They exagerate a lot, and I know I've exagerated from time to time as well, so the poem is relatable in way.

Audre Lorde captures the awkwardness of purberty in this poem, for example, how she is worrying that she can't dance or why her knees are always so "ashy." I think the speaker is effective in relaying these feelings of self consciousness to the reader.

Oh, I can smile for you...

The speaker in A Certain Lady could possibly be Dorothy Parker, it is hard to say, but it is apparent that she is not happy with the man she is talking to. Even the first line of the poem, "Oh, I can smile for you, and tilt my head," allows the reader to see the bitter tone of her voice. The use of the word "Can" makes it apparent that she is pretending to feel happiness when she really is a little bitter towards whom she is talking to. She is putting on a mask, the target of this poem will "never know...the straining things in [her] heart," because she hides them.

The title also suggests the idea that she is putting on a different identity because she could be trying to act like a "Certain" lady when really, she is something else.

The speaker of this poem is hiding something, possibly an affair that "goes on, my love, while you're away, you'll never know.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

I'll only--fat chance--live it once.

My second tone poem is by Andrew Hudgins and it is titled Mostly My Nightmares Are Dull. I read both of the poems in the Norton by him (pg. 856-857) and I found that this poet's thoughts on life are very depressing. The tone throughout Nightmares is clearly regretful and almost self-degrading in the way that he chastises himself for his "bourgeois nightmare" and the fact that a "little fear" breaks him. When he meets his family members in his dreams, he realizes that he doesn't really feel anything for his dead family members. The tone is careless by the end, he talks about waking up from such a powerful dream he describes that would certainly move other people to feel something because it is about their family members, but to this man, it doesn't do anything. He just lives life carelessly. None of this phases him.

We told ourselves he had just wised up...

For my first blog entry, I chose the poem Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane. The first stanza has a tone of admiration, to an extent where you could call it child-like. It is like a kid talking about his favorite comic book superhero, "Hard Rock was 'known to take no shit from nobody.'" The narrator builds this image of Hard Rock for the reader that is almost superhuman and larger-than-life. The tone of this first stanza also bites at the reader, putting the reader in their place so they know that they would never want to mess with Hard Rock.

The second and third stanzas have a tone of apprehension to them. The narrator and the other prison mates are waiting and wondering about what happened to Hard Rock. They talk about the "WORD" and they are all very anxious to see if the "WORD" is true. They are reminiscent in the third stanza as well, talking about his past "exploits" like the way he smacked the captain with his dinner tray. They talk about him as if he were a legend, almost untouchable.

The fourth and fifth stanza's tones slowly decay into dissappointment. From the build up of the first couple of stanzas, the reader and the narrator expect this event to unfold from the incident with the "hillbilly" but nothing happens. It is a giant let down to both the reader and the prison mates because they knew this amazing hero that was once a ruthless inmate, but now he "just grinned and looked silly." It is a loss of hope for the inmates, they feel as though they have lost their voice, Hard Rock was the "doer of things" and now he has lost that, so they feel as though they have lost their strong hero as well.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008