Robert Frost, “Out,Out—“
1. In line 15, Frost describes the saw as being sinister. He infers that the saw has a mind of its own, by stating that the saw jumped out of the boy’s hand and cut the boy’s hand terribly. Frost also makes it seem as if the saw is in a way, like a friend. He does this by demonstrating that using the saw is an advantage for the boy because it is making his job ten times easier. Without the saw, the boy would spend hours cutting through the wood. 2. In Frost’s poem, the people that surround the boy must be his family. It could also very much be friends, or members of his community, along with the doctor and nurses working on his injury. The tone of the poem leads me to conclude that the “they” in the poem weren’t very surprised or moved by the boy’s injury, or death, because this might have happened before, or they just didn’t care for the boy. 3. Frost’s reference to Macbeth’ contributes to my understanding of “Out, Out-“that this poem’s theme is about death. From the reference to Shakespeare play, Macbeth, I can expect read about someone dying, an unexpected death. In my opinion, the theme of this poem is the cruel, emotionless, merciless relationships adults had with their children back then in America. Children weren’t given the opportunity to enjoy their childhood.
They had many responsibilities and tasks to fulfill. 4. Robert Frost’s “Out, Out-‘” resembles the medieval folk ballad, “Sir Patrick Spence,” in its theme. Both poems are relaying a message about death. In Frost’s poem, the boy acknowledges the fact that he is going to die when he realizes he is losing a lot of blood. In “Sir Patrick Spence,” the sailor realizes he is coming face to face with death when he reads the letter the king has sent to him. Both of the protagonists in the poems are on the verge of dying a sudden, unexpected death.
Robert Browning, “My Last Duchess,”
1. Throughout the entire poem, it is almost impossible allocate who the Duke is addressing. Towards the end of the poem, lines 49-52, it is disclosed that the Duke is speaking to a servant, or worker of a Count. This specific Count seems to have the Duke interest, because he wants to marry the Count’s daughter. The Duke appears to be hosting some sort of gathering in his home. I inferred this from lines 47 and 48. 2. Throughout the
poem, the Duke emphasizes on his last Duchess, kindness and flirtatious attitude. In the Duke’s opinion, and observance, the Duchess was easily impressed, and fulfilled. Everything and anything made her happy. She would always say thank you to anyone, and everyone that would bring her things, or do things for her. The Duke interprets the Duchess’ kindness, and mannered behavior as flirtatious, which leads to his distrust in her. Based on the Dukes description, the Duchess, in my eyes was a well mannered woman. She wasn’t mean, or sought herself above anyone. Which is how he, the Duke wanted her to act. He wished she’d be a greedier or unfulfilled character. 3. In lines 34-41, the Duke explains why he never sought to confront his Duchess on her behavior. He states he didn’t have the eloquent skills to do so. He claims that he didn’t posses the speech to confront her. “Who’d stoop to blame/This sort of trifling? Even had you skill/ In speech-(which I have not)-to make your will/” This in my opinion is a lame excuse. I believe that he was simply afraid of confrontation. The Duke also states that if he had confronted the Duchess on her behavior, she would have made an excuse for her actions. 4. From this poem, I conclude that the Duke himself murdered, or gave orders to murder his Duchess. There is no clear evidence to support this, but I believe it is a clear interpretation. The poet should have included the Duchess’ fate in the poem. It would leave little room to assume her fate. 5. Robert Browning makes a direct connection between the Duke’s art collection, and the attitude towards his wife.
The Duke has the portrait of his wife; his last Duchess displayed in his home, behind a curtain. A curtain, which only he can draw back, or remove. In other words, he, the Duke, controls the Duchess; or he wishes to control his Duchess. The Duke wouldn’t want anyone to see the portrait of his Duchess, with her blushed cheeks, unless he was there. The same can be inferred from the last few lines of the poem, line 54-55, “Notice Neptune, though,/Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,/ Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!” The Duke is implying, that he himself is Neptune, and his last Duchess is the sea-horse. No one could have imagined that a sea-horse could be tamed, but Neptune achieved it. Identical to the way that the last Duchess herself was tamed.
Adrienne Rich, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers,”
In her poem, “Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers,” Adrienne is describing the protagonist’s feelings towards her marriage. In lines 9-10, the protagonist feels that she is a prisoner of her marriage, and will only be set free when she dies. The protagonist uses the tigers as a symbol of who she wished she could be. In the first stanza of the poem, Adrienne describes the tigers as being un-fearful of the men. A trait she wishes she possessed.
Sharon Olds, “Rite of Passage,”
1. The speaker describes the first-grade boys at her son’s birthday party as men. Their behavior is pure imitation of the men they have been around. Her description of them is ironic, because how can first-graders realistically be grown men? She also uses the concept of violence a lot in the poem.
2. In the last two lines of the poem, the author compares the first-graders to generals, and states that they are playing war. This is ironic, because she is inferring how (grown) men glorify war. The first-graders are innocent and naïve to the truth behind war. They don’t understand the sadness, and deaths behind it. To them, it is a reason to celebrate and rejoice. What is even more ironic, are the lines prior to the last two lines of the poem. The speaker quotes what the little boy has said. In line 22, “We could easily kill a two-year-old”. Little boys should not be speaking of death. But just like (grown) man boost up their ego by feeling superior to others and educing violence, these first-graders are doing the same.
3. From line 15-20, the mother describes her son as being innocent. She paints her son to be better than the other first-graders, because she seeks him out to be more mature than they are. Throughout the rest of the poem, due to the speaker’s description of her son, it can be inferred that the speaker’s on is the leader of the group. He is the mediator; the peace maker.
Suji Kwock Kim, “Monologue for an Onion,”
1. The tone of this poem is mocking, and judgmental. It implies that
humans live their lives chasing false hopes; searching for a truth that does not exist. The poet symbolizes this by using the analogy of shaving an onion to get to its heart; searching for a heart that does not exist. It depicts that humans are hopeless, and helpless. Humans are viewed as lost creatures. The speaker expresses hostility towards the human. It begins to mock humans by describing them as an idiot, thirsty (to find the truth), soulless, foolish, and destined to die. The speaker does this by comparing how a human cuts an onion over and over again, even though the onion makes the cutter cry relentlessly.
2. In line two, “I mean nothing” is projected to be interpreted on two ways, “intend”, and “signify. The poet is saying that the onion’s intentions aren’t to make the “cutter/human” cry. As the onion is cut, it forces the cutter’s eyes to fill up with tears. A reaction that is not intended, but occurs automatically. The poet also uses the phrase “I mean nothing” to symbolize that the onion feels like it is no one. It feels as if it has no value, or meaning of existence.
3. If someone said this to me, it would prove how close-minded and naïve they are. Poems generally convey a meaning far beyond what the poem explicitly reads. In poetry, you must read between the lines to understand the underlying significance of the poem. The poet is using the analogy of an onion’s (chemical) reaction to a human’s tear ducts to deploy how foolish human beings can be, and are. Continuing to cut through an onion, knowing that the onion will force us to cry is foolish. This simple action is identical to human life. Human’s cut through life searching for a truth they never attain.
4. I personally feel that the author is trying to give everyone a wake-up call in this poem. Suji Kwock Kim is trying to give her readers a few words of wisdom. She is exploring, and revealing a new approach on how one should view the world. Trying to encourage her readers to refrain from what an onion cutter is doing: cutting away at life causing them harm.
Anne Bradstreet, “The Author to Her Book”
Anne Bradstreet’s poem, “The Author to Her Book” is a complex narrative concerning the conflicting emotions and thoughts an author can have for a piece of literature he or she has written. Through metaphor and personification, Bradstreet examines the similarities between being a parent and being an author. The love, discouragement, and fear that all come into play when something is going to be revealed to the world at large are present in both a parent and a writer. Metaphor is used to relate authorship to parenthood in order to convey to the reader the complex emotions the narrator is feeling about sending a book he or she wrote out into the world. As the narrator points out, “Thou ill-formed offspring of my feeble brain”, drawing the parallel between the author and a parent and all of the complicated emotions that go with it (line 1). The narrator refers to the book-child as “My rambling brat”, revealing the negative side of the emotion (line 7). As a frustrated parent with a child who will not behave, so the narrator feels towards the book because it is not as perfect as he or she would want and the narrator sees this as a reflection upon the author, just as a parent would see a naughty child as a reflection on themselves. But later the narrator writes, “Yet being mine own … affection would thy/Thy blemishes amend” demonstrating the conflicting emotions associated with love (lines 10-11).
The metaphor of the book as a child reflects the conflicting emotions of the narrator as the book is seen as an extension of the narrator, just as a child is seen as a reflection of a parent. Personification of the book as a child creates empathy within the reader and makes it easier for the reader to relate to the anguish and love felt by the narrator. “I washed thy face” the narrator writes, speaking to the book, giving it life even as the book’s qualities as an inanimate object are examined (line 13). The narrator cares for the book’s presentation to the world just as a parent would care for the presentation of a child to the world. “I stretched thy joint to make thee even feet” the narrator writes, emphasizing the care needed for the book (line 15). The personification of the book and the metaphor of the book as a child work together to give the reader a full and complete understanding of the complex emotions felt by the narrator towards the book. The understanding needed and the guidance required to make the book the best possible so that it reflects well on the narrator is cast in light of parenthood and the ways in which a parents must
care for and bring up a child. There is shame and the love that go along with an imperfect child, but it all is ultimately overshadowed by the pride felt in the final product.