I’m gonna be straight with you, at first, this poem seemed like word vomit. There were a lot of phrases and allusions that seemed to not relate to the work at all. After reading the footnotes the allusions became more clear. Confusion is also a word that would describe my first time reading this poem. It didn’t really come together until I read it a few more times. I think this poem is about how you can’t rely on a simple thing, like a smile, to bring you happiness, and that in order to be happy you have to do it yourself. I came to this conclusion because the speaker tells the reader about how mermaids aren’t singing to him, and also refers to Thoreau who believed that many people go through life unhappy, but didn’t make it better for themselves. He also claims that the sirens are singing, but not to him. These lines reinforce the idea that you are the only person that can make yourself happy. The Thoreau reference is also one of the most important allusions because, again, it reinforces the theme the poem. Another important allusion in the poem is the author’s reference to Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay Self Reliance because it also reinforces the idea that people are unreliable and that you are the only one who can make things happen for yourself. Some questions I would have for the author are:
- What event in your life motivated you to write this poem?
- Why did you include the detail that the speaker is “pursued by a bear”? Why choose a bear? Is there some kind of deeper meaning that I, as the reader, am not getting?
- When did you write this poem?
- Have your opinions on the subject you wrote about, changed since the time you wrote this poem?
- Do you still have dreams or have they all been crushed?
- If so, has your soul also been crushed in the process of your dreams being crushed?
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That’s the end of blog 8!