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Analysis of To Awaken As an Old Lady - Thesis Example

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Old age is a stage in life where human beings are observed to be undergoing a transformation to a somber existence. Hence the poem talks about the despondency and the misery that curtails old age. The diction of the poem is simple. …
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Analysis of To Awaken As an Old Lady
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Analysis of To Awaken As an Old Lady English 2-20 Analysis of To Awaken As an Old Lady Old age is a stage in life where human beings are observed to be undergoing a transformation to a somber existence. Hence the poem talks about the despondency and the misery that curtails old age. To awaken As an Old Lady is a beautifully depicted poem by William Carlos William who talks about old age and death. In the title of the poem the word ‘awakening’ suggests some sort of realization and acceptance that has enlightened the lady and this realization is actually the inevitability of an individual’s demise. The diction of the poem is simple. Although the poem does not contain a structural rhythm yet the simple words merge one thought in to another. The use of short lines in the poem reflects the precision with which the poet has the capacity to reiterate his thoughts by using very apt words. Old age and death are the two major thematic concerns in the poem. Old age is a stage in every human being’s life where an individual is faced with more hardships than in any other stage of life. The reason being that by the time a person reaches old age he has lost all his vitality and spirit to face the challenges of life. The poet makes use of a lot stylistic aids to depict his perspective. For example it is stated in the poem, ‘...flight of small cheeping birds skimming bare trees above a snow glaze.’ In these lines bird imagery is used to reflect old age. Since a bird has fleeting existence as it never stays at one place and keeps on flying from one place to another consequently a bird is a metaphorical representation of old age because it is a fleeting stage in life which every human being has to endure before he leaves the world. Moreover the reference to snow further creates a sorrowful and morose image. The poet also makes use of sound imagery to illustrate highs and lows of life as he mentions the phrases like, ‘shrill piping of plenty’ and ‘cheeping birds’. The piping of the word plenty is reflective of the hope that in the end all will be well. Various metaphors such as ‘broken seed husk, bare trees, dark winds and shrill piping’ reflect death in the poem because all the mentioned metaphors have an aura of deterioration related to it and death is also the deterioration or degeneration of man. Also the struggle of the birds against the wind is also a symbolic representation of a man’s struggle in life whether it is to attain success or to deny the inevitable presence of death in life as stated in the poem, ‘Gaining and failing they are buffeted by a dark wind.’ The poet is observed to be making use of punctuation marks which further enhances the manner of depiction of his perspective. For example he uses a ‘dash’ twice in the poem, ‘a dark wind – and ‘flock has rested –. The first dash is used to stress on the question that the poet poses to his readers i.e. ‘But what?’. This question is basically about the existence of man in this world. However the second pause acts as a tool to represent the poet’s dejection and acceptance of the bitter reality of life that is death and the fact no one can run away from either old age or death. The poet in this poem deals with a very common social and psychological issue of human beings that is lack of acceptance of reality of existence. William Carlos William makes use of simple words and various stylistic and linguistic tools to make his readers understand and consider his perspective of life. Although old age and death are dreary subjects yet his use of simple and the rhythmic flow of words act as soothing balm on the nerves of the readers and he very tactfully makes them to ponder on an aspect of the life cycle from which normally people tend to run away or ignore it. Reference: Clugston, W., R. (2010). To awaken as an old lady. Journey in to literature. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Read More
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