To be honest, I did not care for this poem whatsoever, as it wasn’t until things were explained in class that I was able to get a slight understanding of it. I had too many problems with analyzing the poem as a whole due to to it’s unclear theme. I felt this problem of mine has the many scattered allusions to blame. Now, some allusions were easy to understand and possessed great meaning, such as when the speaker says “Hearing the sirens singing–I do not think that they will sing to me.”, showing that the person has low self-esteem, or when he mentions Thoreau’s quiet desperation, where most people go through life unhappy, but do nothing about it. However some of these allusions serve the poem’s downfall. Most (if not all) of the allusions contradict with each other, such as when he mentions “dynamo of night ”, an allusion to Ginsberg’s poem “Howl” which laments the forced conformity of society, and when he mentions “Thunder” and “Eliot’s Thunder”, both allusions to T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land” which is about the downfall of society. Having one allusion spoken in a way where society is still relevant and another allusion that’s spoken where society is becoming nonexistent. Its hard to get a specific meaning/feeling about society from the poem due to these two contradicting allusions. I think if there weren’t so many allusions squeezed into the poem it would be easier to find a main theme, rather than try to piece things together. Now, I was able to piece together what I found to establish what I think is the true theme of the poem. Through the allusions “Reliant self”: a reference to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self Reliance, which states that the only way anyone can become more than what they are is through their own work, not relying on anyone else, and “Our little life is rounded with a sleep”: this is the end of the more famous line “We are such stuff / As dreams are made on” as delivered by Prospero in “The Tempest,” by Shakespeare, I can figure out that we are supposed to work hard in order to make our dream(s) a reality. However, it’s just a hunch.
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