A Smile

Let me start out by saying that the title of this poem is completely deceiving. At first, I saw it and was like “yes finally a nice and easy poem that will probably be understandable for me.” WRONG. I read it once and I had to reread it about 5 times to grasp what was even going on in the first stanza. Oh great, now I have to reread it five times each for each stanza. So if that doesn’t explain how I felt about reading this poem, it was definitely frustrating to keep up with all the allusions and terms I had no idea about. I hated the way it was set up and I felt like it was a factor that contributed to making it so confusing. As much as I hated stanza forms in the beginning of the poetry unit, I began to grow fond of them because I realized that they kept the work structured and this poem had no structure at all. It didn’t stick to one central topic and many of the concepts that were mentioned were thrown all over the place along with the allusions. My question about this poem is why are there so many allusions presented when you could just integrate the overall meaning of it?  What I perceived the poem to be was actually really depressing. I feel like the overall concept of the poem is what you think about of yourself and how you want to carry yourself out through life. You have your own choices and at the end of the day, whether it’s positive or negative, your choices affect your future. The allusion that helped me really understand this poem is “Thoreau’s quiet desperation.” The reason why I choose this was that I feel as though many people want to see the change in their lives, but they do nothing about it. Whether they are scared of change, or they are used to what they are given, these are the reasons why people feel stuck and unhappy with their lives. Another allusion that helped me was “Reliant self.” This means that don’t rely on others to make you feel a certain way or that they could do something for you. Do it for yourself and rely on your happiness. 


“Be the change that you wish to see in this world.”

– Gandhi


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