Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Assignment 3 40's 50's, & 60's

Assignment Three

Theodore Rothke

In his poem “Papa’s Waltz” he PORPUSFULLY forms a poem that can be read a number of different ways in order to reveal the readers bias’s through their interpretations. Being totally unbiased there are three very realistic ways to view the father in the poem; as a fun-loving supportive father figure, a drunken beating of a child, or a molestation of a child. True to his modernistic style of writing I feel that he is merely presenting us an image and letting the readers form their own interpretations via their own life experiences. Then challenging the reader to reflect on his/her interpretation and point out its very on bias’s (Hence a person who grew up in a home altered or ruined from the usage of alcohol would have a very different interpretation than that of someone who grew up seeing alcohol as a social activity and only used in un-harmful moderations). Rothke wrote during a time when life morals previously accepted as facts dividing good and bad were thrown to the wind by the tragedies perceived from world war one mostly brought on by the growing knowledge of the general public via the newly wide reaching spread of mass media and communication. Rothke’s poem not only encourages the reader to look into the idea of weather alcohol was a totally good or bad thing, but also every other ethically constructed moral that also held its bias’s. Again Rothke’s poem is not to be understood as simply relaying to us that In this kind of relationship alcohol doesn’t have to be a bad thing; that would have been much to simple for his time when questioning a right or wrong answer to anything was popular among poets. Instead his aim was to present us with a questionable image and show us how our bias’s can skew an interpretation.

Elizabeth Bishop

I enjoyed her poem “One art”. To me this symbolizing like so many other poems during this era a feeling of desperation to the point of loss becoming a mundane everyday activity that “isn’t hard to master.” Her generation was apt at losing an attribute gained from World War II. In her poem I think we also see a questioning of the importance of life and emotion in general from the fact that she seems to understand that even “losing” anything from a loved one, a continent, to a watch can become as menial as taking out the trash if the human mind is exposed to it enough. After reading the poem I couldn’t help but think of Frank O’Hara’s stance on suicide. He stated in more direct terms that the only thing that makes life worth living is the respect for a possibility of something greater. This feeling I feel would have to have been a mutual one between the two poets after Bishop’s explanation of how “losing isn’t hard to master”.

Eudora Welty’s “Why I Live at the P.O.”

In this story we see a narrator who shows questionable reliability. Her external struggles throughout the story a a manifestation of her internal struggels to be the center of attention. This yearning for attention is brought on by her low self-esteem gained from being grown and a divorce’ and still living at her parents house. The stories ending is ironic because her yearning to be the center of attention ultimately causes her to be the center of no one’s attention and all alone.

Tillie Olsen’s “I stand here Ironing”

This story encapsulates the mother daughter relationship and the hardships forced on a single working mother during the years of the Great depression. The story asks the reader to weigh the responsibility for the child’s well-being during this period of time between what the mother was able to give to her and how much society was responsible for the way the daughter turned out. It also brings up the idea of sanatoriums which were a popular place for children who social workers “deemed as not being cared for enough” and how they stunted the growth of children, while also inhibiting a single working mother already questioning her abilities to raise a child properly from saying that while what she was trying to do for her daughter might not be the best it was better than sending her to a place like that. This story depicts the raw feeling of hardship and a generation of children lost to the financial difficulties placed on their parents. It urges the reader to question their beliefs in a good and bad overall if something like this could happen to a child so unworthy of it when there is no one to blame directly.
Alan Ginsburg’s “ Howl”

Ginsberg was a substantial advocator in the “Beat” movement of poets during the 1950’s. He was well Known for his travels and his unique outlook on the world. His poem “Howl” seems to me to be to be written as a kind of monologue of Ginsberg’s views and what has occurred through out his life and how it makes him feel. The poem itself is acclaimed to be the highest selling poem of the 20th Century. I was unable to grasp a lot of the connections and metaphors inside the poem upon my readings, but am interested in hearing more about it during class tonight. Also, on my research on Frank O’Hara I have found that there are some great similarities as well as differences between the two poets, and am interested on defining the common ground and connection that the two offer the reader.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Her poem “The boy died in my alley” I feel give the reader a tone that is closely connected to what was happening during her time period. I feel she alludes to many different concepts throughout the poem. One obvious one is gang crime and murders that would have ransacked an alley in heavily urbanized area such as New York City. I think she is trying to portray the attitude that just like her America turns its eyes in an “knowledgeable unknowing” way to this violence that is becoming more and more common thus allowing it to happen. The alley she talks about could also stand for the suffering of her race, as she says that she has heard the cry a thousand times before and knows the face although she has never seen it. This interpretation also has the same repercussions for the narrator and the rest of the world; that they know what is happening but just eyes turn the other way because its harder to admit and deal with it than just look away. These are my favorite two interpretations although there are others I’m sure.

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