The Writer by Richard Wilbur

The Writer by Richard Wilbur On order to effectively analyze “The Writer,” one might look to the Advanced Placement format, for instance, to best understand the meaning of Wilbur’s poem. Some questions we might ask as a basis for analysis are as follows: 1. Who is the speaker in the poem? In “The Writer,” the speaker is likely Wilbur speaking about his daughter. 2. Who is the audience of the poem? The poem seems to be directed toward parents who might relate to Wilbur as they watch their children grow up.

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Likewise, the poem might also be directed at young people, who will inevitably undergo a journey similar to that of Wilbur’s daughter in the poem – fraught with many ups and downs, and hopefully the triumph that the iridescent creature experiences – “beating a smooth course out the window. ” 3. What is the situation and setting of the poem. In the poem, Wilbur is observing his daughter writing a poem in her room. He is presumably just outside listening and admiring her hard work. Perhaps, also, the poem on another level is referencing the journeys that young people undergo. It is symbolic for life. 4. State the poem’s central idea or theme.

The theme that life is a journey filled with tough times and triumph. Also, a father takes compassionate interest in his child. 5. Describe structural patter of the poem both in terms of visual patterns and sound patterns (stanzas, rhyme scheme, meter, free verse, alliteration, repetition, etc. ) Interestingly, Wilbur departs from his usual style in this poem, choosing to write a free-versed poem rather than a rhyming poem, which normally characterizes his poetry. He notes in an interview with the Paris Review that indeed, this was a deviation for him, and that the poem was meant to be written this way.

Nonetheless, the poem has a rather lulling flow for which I am particularly fond. Wilbur uses three-line stanzas and interestingly makes a number of references to boating and the sea. For instance, he refers to a gunwale, cargo, stillness (like the sea), etc. Seeing as the sea can be calm and beautiful, as well as violent and stormy – this is consistent with the poem’s message. 6. Comment on the poem’s diction. How does this relate to tone? Wilbur is widely recognized for embracing the attitude of those such as Frost, using common diction and concise, imagery-filled poems.

In this poem he references common objects that working people would understand — for example, comparing the sound of a typewriter to a chain hauled over a gunwale. 7. Is imagery dominant? Explain. Wilbur makes frequent use of imagery in “The Writer. ”  He uses metaphors extensively – for instance, calling “the stuff / Of her life is … great cargo, … some of it heavy”. The whole second half of the poem is one giant extended metaphor! Wilbur compares the difficulties of growing up those of an ‘iridescent creature’ – a ‘dazed starling’ that in spite of difficulties, ultimately flies free.

It serves as a metaphor for life’s ups and downs. 7. Is the poem narrative or lyric? The poem seems to be narrative. It conveys not only a story about his daughter, but a story of life, and paints distinctive images in the reader’s mind. 9. Comment on figurative language. To me, this poem is an extended metaphor for life journeys. Wilbur’s daughter is undergoing not only the experience of writing– along with its frustrations and “heavy cargo” – but is experiencing life with some difficulties along the way.

The Gift by Li-Young Lee This poem is about the relationship between a son and his father. I think what the “gift” is, is the wisdom his father has. I also think that hes giving him the gift of transition from a child to adulthood. In “The Gift,” Lee discusses two incidents involving the removal of a splinter (astilla) from another’s hand. When he describes removing a splinter from his wife’s finger, he alludes to a skilled tenderness on his part: “Look how I shave her thumbnail down / so carefully she feels no pain”.

When his father had removed a splinter from a younger Lee’s palm, Lee responded with humble appreciation—he gave his father a kiss. Lee digresses—offering some more boastful, even humorous possible responses to having apprehended the removed splinter (“Ore Going Deep for My Heart,” “Death visited here! “), and reminding the reader that it is, in fact, he who grew into the adult who removed his wife’s splinter. He, by modestly giving his father a kiss, suggests that a gift has merit solely on account of its being a gift—even if that gift is a removed splinter.

What ultimately matters is not that Lee had been feeling pain, but that, at the moment he kissed his father, he presently beheld a gift from him. Lee does not act particularly humble when removing his wife’s splinter, however, even though his father was a physician—because, regardless of what this occasion had meant for him in the past, he was presently with his wife, able to give her the gift of relief. Lee has grown and matured; he is able to proudly identify with his giving father, rather than prolong his past identity as a receiving, humble child. The Black Death


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