My initial reaction to the story was literally “What is this?” I was very confused. I even read through the poem a second time. Some questions I have about the poem are related to the plot, characters, and the symbols. One thing I want to know is what exactly are the events happening in the poem? It doesn’t seem to have an obvious point and plot in general. Who is the bear? I don’t know why they used a bear as a character. What does an Eagle represent? It seems to have some symbolic meaning.
I thought the poem was about someone who fakes a smile to see happy and hide the pain when they are actually depressed. The reason I thought that is because of the title and the diction. The title is a smile. The words “pursued by a bear” are I guess you could say used metaphorically. The bear is actually being used to say problems. He is being chased down and burdened from his problems and he cannot escape. This added to the title a smile created the feeling for me that hes not actually happy, but puts on the act of happiness to hide his sadness and bad feeling.
After discussion in class, my questions had been answered. First off, an eagle does not represent anything. The Eagles are a band it is referring to. Some song lyrics lie within the poem. The plot is similar to a song by the Eagles called Hotel California.
An allusion I feel was most important to understand the work was “Thoreau’s quiet desperation.” I feel as so because an author Henry David Thoreau said “mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. This means men live unhappy lives and say nothing about it. They also do not try to fix it. This poem is about unhappiness and addiction. Many other allusions were important too understanding the story, but I feel none were like this. Another allusion to be used to understand the story is “so much depends upon…” and “So much depends upon–“. This means many things depend on what we don’t appreciate.