Monday, May 14, 2012

The Poetry of Song: Poetic Transfer

Heaney (A-E): Synthesize Heaney’s attitude toward his familial heritage and his own aspirations. How do the literal and figurative elements of the poem fuse or collide to communicate a profound and universal quandary?

Eady (F-K): Discuss how Eady utilizes an overtly inane suggestion (title) to propose a weighty universal idea. How does dancing serve as a separate metaphor for the relationship between mother and son?

Hogan (L-Q): Explore the duality encased within the dynamic nature of red and articulate the oblique- yet palpable- universal idea communicated through this poem.

Frost (R-Z): Distinguish Frost’s tone and discuss his ability to balance sympathy and detachment in the aim of making a profound statement. What does his blatant use of personification tell the reader about fate?


24 comments:

inken o said...

In her poem, linda hogan uses many metaphors and a lot of symbolism to point out the two extremes: birth/life vs. death. With this as the “main theme” she finds other comparisons like man vs. beast or light vs. dark. Overall the poem talks about the circle of life and the role of the elements fire, water, earth, air and even magic, play in it.

Bri Hayes said...

Toward the end of his poem, Eady mentions the idea of his mother and himself being two ballroom dance partners who only knew one step to a dance. This correlates with the idea of a monotonous relationship between the two, and also Eady’s curiosity pertaining to the alternate dimension in which his mother was social, rather than “crazy”, and how that would have changed the dynamic between the two of them, as well as how that would have solely changed his mother. He keeps referring to his mother and himself as “the crazy lady” and “the crazy lady’s son”; as if that is the only image they have managed to keep. Through this he shows that he wishes that they were known as someone else, but still goes along with it because he doesn’t find any purpose in trying to change how people see his mother and his relationship with her. In this case, dancing is being used as a metaphor to create this sense of “what if”. Through the idea of dancing, he forms these hypothetical ideas of a functional relationship with his mother, not unlike the relationship between two ballroom dancers who just so happen to know more than one step.

Emily said...

Heaney’s attitude toward his familial heritage is that he appreciates all they do. He believes they are noble, "By God, the old man could handle a spade. Just like his old man.” What they do is something to aspire for, but he doesn’t want to keep to the family business of caring for “potatoes”. He wants to dig but not with a spade, but a pen. He uses terms that can relate to potatoes to explain his family heritage, “living roots” that through every eye and vine that comes out of a potato leads into another one that can drift or become another potato. Referring to his “pen” as a “spade” gives the sense of digging but in a different matter all together, he wants to dig but dig with knowledge not dirt. Further giving meaning to the poem that by using such words shows a respect he has for his elders and how he can still manage to keep an aspect of what he has learned from them but keep to himself. Through the shift after the first 4 stanzas, there is an admiration in his writing that shows how he cares for his family heritage, even though that is not what he wants to do with his life.

Cassie H. said...

Shifting from observational narrative to inner monologue in “My Mother, If She Had Won Free Dance Lessons”, Eady employs the rather frivolous concept of dance lessons to metaphorize the idea that one simple opportunity or action may change the course of one’s life. Where Eady makes mention of “dance”, a ringing phone, even a mere “invitation”, each acts to provide an alternative path and a decision which may have greatly influences his mother’s destiny. In his poem, Eady also establishes the metaphor of dancing to be indicative of the relationship between mother and son Likening himself to an “old friend”, the son disassociates himself from his role as “the son of the crazy lady”; the son, who is slightly ashamed of his mother, acts not as a child, but rather as an acquaintance or almost stranger—one who “crosses easily” in and out of her life. The two make “endless loops” in conversation, going through the motions of menial chit-chat, but eagerly avoiding any meaningful topics of discussion or characteristics of the relationship between the two: “two ballroom dancers who only know one step”.

Anonymous said...

Tyler.X.Derksen
PoS G

In Digging by Seamus Henaney. He explains throughout the poem how he's whole family line basically has been working on farmlands the whole time. Now what he means by they have been working out on the Potato farm he means these men(the men being his father and grandfather) work extremly hard. And Henaney is saying maybe he should put the effort that he's father is putting into digging potato's into his writtings. Because its clearly obvious that Heaney is not following the family line and working out on the fields he's more into the writting style of things.The literal explination would be he doesn't have a spade to go dig with his father so he will have to go outside and dig with just the squat pen in his hand.

acm2012 said...

Amelia Maloney
Poem Analysis
In the poem “The History of Red,” Linda Hogan uses the symbolic motif of the color red in order to highlight different parts of life.
Hogan uses red to symbolize dark themes such as; blood, fear, and death. This is the central symbol throughout the poem, which makes it easy to comprehend the different phases of life. This poem has a dark theme which is enhanced by the color of red. Red usually symbolizes blood, which is used in the line “And red was the soldier who crawled through a ditch of human blood in order to live.” The red symbolizes the blood that is on the soldier as well as the obstacle that he had to climb through in order to live. Without the use of this motif, the poem would have been meaningless and difficult to understand. Every stanza includes the color of red which expresses how much red actually symbolizes parts of life.

Amanda Paulhus said...

In Linda Hogan’s Poem “The History of Red” there is duality encased within the dynamic nature of red. This is because when one wonders of the color red they ponder death and blood, merely destruction or creation. Hogan starts the poem in complete darkness, mentioning black as the only color; then she digresses away from the darkness to a new life or red “creation”. This is a symbolic motif because red is a reoccurring theme but the symbolism changes in each example. The dynamic nature of “red” in this poem is necessary in order to portray the universal idea; because without having this duality between two concepts being conveyed the universal idea wouldn’t be strong. The universal idea communicated through this poem is that the color red itself does not simply serve to imply or show one meaning or mood; because red can represent creation or destruction, as aforementioned. The color red is shown as magmatic of creation in line 19 which says, “Wearing the red, wet mask of birth,” But, red is also shown as ravaging in lines such as; line 28 “red is the fear”, line 46 “they divined the red shadows of leeches”, line 58 “as the red feather of war” and line 61 “and red was the soldier”. Thus, the overall universal idea serves to explain that although red usually is associated with death and despair it can also be associated with happiness and joy.

Amanda Paulhus said...

In Linda Hogan’s Poem “The History of Red” there is duality encased within the dynamic nature of red. This is because when one wonders of the color red they ponder death and blood, merely destruction or creation. Hogan starts the poem in complete darkness, mentioning black as the only color; then she digresses away from the darkness to a new life or red “creation”. This is a symbolic motif because red is a reoccurring theme but the symbolism changes in each example. The dynamic nature of “red” in this poem is necessary in order to portray the universal idea; because without having this duality between two concepts being conveyed the universal idea wouldn’t be strong. The universal idea communicated through this poem is that the color red itself does not simply serve to imply or show one meaning or mood; because red can represent creation or destruction, as aforementioned. The color red is shown as magmatic of creation in line 19 which says, “Wearing the red, wet mask of birth,” But, red is also shown as ravaging in lines such as; line 28 “red is the fear”, line 46 “they divined the red shadows of leeches”, line 58 “as the red feather of war” and line 61 “and red was the soldier”. Thus, the overall universal idea serves to explain that although red usually is associated with death and despair it can also be associated with happiness and joy.

Alan said...

As I read the poem "Red" by Linda Hogan, I began to notice how she would use the color red in a few different ways to show how much the color red is in our lives.
as the poem starts so does the life of a new born child and the red that follows. After we are introdused to a soldier in war as he is surounded in the color red. finnaly we end with the ending of a life of an elderly man and as the spill of red does not come.

Alan said...

As I read the poem "Red" by Linda Hogan, I began to notice how she would use the color red in a few different ways to show how much the color red is in our lives.
as the poem starts so does the life of a new born child and the red that follows. After we are introdused to a soldier in war as he is surounded in the color red. finnaly we end with the ending of a life of an elderly man and as the spill of red does not come.

Gabbi Kenyon said...

“My Mother, If She Had Won Free Dance Lessons” is indeed an odd name; however, the focus of the poem is not specifically dance lessons. The son in the poem is wondering what could have happened in his mother’s life that would have saved her from what she has become: “the neighborhood crazy lady” (Eady). The son gives the impression to wish that his mother was different than she has become, and he seems as though he feels guilty for having these thoughts as he thinks of things that could have changed this old woman he has grown apart from. He believes one occurrence could have changed his mother’s life forever, but that experience never arouse.
The dancing is also a metaphor for not knowing someone, just knowing what to do when you come into contact. With dancers, they know the steps they must follow when interacting with one another, not really relating to one another. Likewise, the son and his mother have distant conversations, not really connecting with one another. Dancing is just going through the motions, just like this son does with his mother.

Brittany G. said...

In life, people are bound to ask the question "what if?" For Cornelius Eady, he questions his life and how it could have turned out if his mother "had won free dance lessons." The title of his poem is also used as a metaphor in order to ponder what his mother would have been like. Perhaps they might've had a better house, or his mother wouldn't be the "crazy lady." In addition, it is used so that he may think of how their relationship would be different, described "as if we were old friends from opposite coasts, picking up the thread of a long conversation." They aren't very close and barely talk, while he views himself "the son of a crazy lady." He almost wishes that she had recieved that phone call, but he also knows nothing can be done.

Meghan B said...

Meghan Burgess
Comparing his family’s heritage to his own aspirations in “Digging,” Seamus Heaney utilizes familial characterization in order to express the difference between his family and who he longs to be. As Heaney is watching his father dig, he can hear “a clear rasping sound when the spade sinks into the gravelly ground,” creating the sound through his words. He points out that his father is as good at digging as “his old man,” telling that his grandfather also did a lot of digging, suggesting that digging has been in their family for generations. When looking back on his grandfather’s experiences with digging, he realizes the he “cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner’s bog,” over exaggerating the amount of dirt that his grandfather could dig every day. As Healey thinks about what his future will be like, he realizes that he would rather “dig with his pen.” By saying this, he is meaning that he would rather be a writer than follow in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. Through Heaney telling his family story, it becomes apparent that he never aspired to do what his family has always done, but to stand out and become something that he has dreamed of being.

Anonymous said...

Emily B.
Incorporating a dynamic flashback in “Digging,” Seamus Heaney utilizes complex figurative language in order to express the disparity in thoughts of carrying on the family legacy but not having the skills to “follow men like them.” The speaker in the poem provides a chronological narration to depict the work both his father and “his old man” complete. The narration encompasses an ongoing symbol of the potato. This potato not only provides background characterization of the culture, but serves as symbol for the “living roots” of the family suggesting the speaker’s need to follow them. The prideful tone established as he reminisces about his “father, digging” enhances this desire, and also reveals an appreciation for the work they do. “But I’ve no spade to follow men like them” directly reveals that the speaker, though he respects his family, cannot follow in their footsteps. Fully characterizing the speaker he states “the squat pen rests/ I’ll dig with it” incorporating a metaphor which serves to fulfill his family heritage while at the time providing him with comforting knowledge that he doesn’t lack the skills to live up to their potential, he just has different skills. Contained within a narrative, metaphor, tone, and symbolism, work together in order to provide a resolution to the differences amongst family members and display the potential divergent skills possess in continuing a family legacy established by earlier generations.

Dan Fillingim said...

Dan Fillingim
It is in a way saying if they did something different, maybe they would have been closer and had a better relationship. It seems like a joke in a way because he said he wonders what she would dance like. That is saying he wonders what she would be like if they were having fun and he has not really seen her while she is having fun and he has not had fun with her. He is saying how their life would be better if they tried new things out and tried to have fun together. Dancing is a metaphor comparing them in this poem and it shows how they both do not know much about each other. It is said in the poem that they are like two ballroom dancers that only know one step. That shows that they do not know much about each other and only have one thing to go to in conversation or relation. They would not know where each other is going because they do not know much about each other.

Anna S said...

In Robert Frost’s poem “Out, Out” the tone is very upsetting. In this poem, the boy seems to not like being around his family. He likes to work because it saves him from his family. The boy’s family ignores him a lot, even when his hand gets cut. The quote “His sister stood beside them in her apron/ To tell them “Supper.” At the word, the saw,/ As if to prove saws knew what supper meant/leaped out at the boy’s hand,” shows personification of the saw, acting like it knew the boy didn’t want to go to supper with his family. Once the boys hand is cut, the family still does not care. When he goes to the doctor, he doesn’t want his hand to get cut off. “Don’t let him cut my hand off-/ The doctor, when he comes. Don’t let him, sister!” But the sister disregards what he says, because the family has already decided not to try to save him. They give him ether and let him die without caring. In the end, the poem almost shows that the saw saved the child from his family.

Emily Anderson said...

Emily Anderson
“Digging” by Seamus Heaney

In the poem “Digging” by Seamus Heaney, Heaney’s attitude towards his familial heritage is that he is not very fond of it. His own aspirations are to write about his family’s heritage as potato farmers because he does not want to join them in the actual digging and farming of the potatoes. The literal and figurative elements of the poem collide to communicate a profound quandary. The literal element of the poem is that the family spends a lot of time planting and digging the valued potatoes. All of the generations of farmers are dedicated to their hard work and they do not waste any time doing it. The figurative element of the poem is what Heaney is doing. He is also digging like his father and grandfather, but in a different way. The aspirations of the narrator to write about his family and how they earn their living bring him to dig in his own way. He says, “Between my finger and my thumb the squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it.” Heaney is not literally digging with his pen, but symbolically. Heaney is carrying on the family legacy by writing a memoir of the work that the family does. The older generations are digging to farm potatoes, but Heaney is digging to record his families legacy and let it live on past the actual farming.

Brandon Salvas said...

Robert Frost's poem, "Out, Out", tells the short story of a boy whose hand gets severed while cutting wood, and eventually he dies after being put to sleep with ether. The tone of the poem is rather macabre seeing how when the boy's pulse stops the people around him just go about with their every day lives. Frost's use of personification with the saw tells us that we can't change our fate and it is evident.

LCerullo said...

Heaney’s attitude toward his family is one of admiration, yet beneath this admiration Heaney reveals his own aspirations of becoming a writer versus following the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him. The opening of the poem, specifically the image of him (Heaney) writing with the “squat pen”, gives the first insight to Heaney’s true aspirations. Then in the 2nd stanza, Heaney puts himself in his house upstairs, looking down through the window at his father digging potatoes. This physical elevation of Heaney holds figurative significance as he looked down upon his father. It could symbolize many things, such as Heaney seeing himself as above this old lifestyle because of his desire to write and leave the old profession of his kin behind to start anew. It could also symbolize or allude to the distance between Heaney and his family, and how he’s different from them in that he’s breaking tradition and aspiring to go down a different path; the path of a writer rather than that of a potato farmer. Despite his unique aspiration, Heaney holds no grudge against his family and their way of life, as this can be seen in his complements of his family: “By God, the old man could handle a spade, just like his old man.” and “My grandfather could cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner's bog.” This duality between Heaney and his family, between his aspirations and the expectation of him to follow in their footsteps, define the poem.

LCerullo said...

Heaney’s attitude toward his family is one of admiration, yet beneath this admiration Heaney reveals his own aspirations of becoming a writer versus following the footsteps of his father and grandfather before him. The opening of the poem, specifically the image of him (Heaney) writing with the “squat pen”, gives the first insight to Heaney’s true aspirations. Then in the 2nd stanza, Heaney puts himself in his house upstairs, looking down through the window at his father digging potatoes. This physical elevation of Heaney holds figurative significance as he looked down upon his father. It could symbolize many things, such as Heaney seeing himself as above this old lifestyle because of his desire to write and leave the old profession of his kin behind to start anew. It could also symbolize or allude to the distance between Heaney and his family, and how he’s different from them in that he’s breaking tradition and aspiring to go down a different path; the path of a writer rather than that of a potato farmer. Despite his unique aspiration, Heaney holds no grudge against his family and their way of life, as this can be seen in his complements of his family: “By God, the old man could handle a spade, just like his old man.” and “My grandfather could cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner's bog.” This duality between Heaney and his family, between his aspirations and the expectation of him to follow in their footsteps, define the poem.

Anonymous said...

Chris Robinson
PoS G

Frost establishes an ironic tone that balances sympathy and detachment to aim in revealing that fate can be a paradox. Frost states that those who did not die "turned to their affairs" as though nothing happened after the boy's death to say detachment is better than sympathy as there is "no more to build on there," after death to show that in life, though ironic, this truly does happen. Sympathy is not an option as there is "nothing" left, nothing to truly feel sorrow over, showing that fate can be paradoxical, and cruel. Frost further amplifies his statement of paradox in life through the personification of the buzz saw as it "leaped out" at the boy and ultimately put him to death, further stating an ironic way to die. Frost personifies the saw as though it has a mind that "knew" how to operate itself, in which took the boy's life, bringing about a paradoxical end to his life. Through Frost's tone, he establishes a paradoxical ending through personification, along with balancing sympathy and detachment.

jessdowdy said...

Heaney’s attitude towards his familial heritage conveys that he is very proud of the things his family does however he is not interested in following them. Heaney says, “My grandfather cut more turf in a day than any other man on Toner’s bog” showing that he is gratified by what his grandfather does. Although he is very proud of what his Father and Grandfather do he does not want to follow in their footsteps. Heaney states, “Between my finger and my thumb the squat pen rests. I’ll dig with it” meaning that the son is very appreciative of what his father and grandfather do but he would rather be a writer and “dig” with a pen than dig for potatoes like they both do. Heaney also announces, “Through living roots awaken in my head. But I’ve no spade to follow men like them” discussing that the son does not think he would be right for the potato business like his father and grandfather are.
The literal and figurative elements fuse to communicate a profound and universal quandary because he uses certain words to help convey a deeper meaning than what is being shown. The son is proud of what his family does however he does not want to do that with his life. Heaney says, “I’ll dig with it” referring to his pen conveying a deeper meaning than what he is openly saying. While he says he is “digging” with his pen it fuses with digging up the potatoes which shows a figurative element.

brittany gillon said...

Eady utilizes an overtly inane suggestion to propose a weighty universal idea because it helps the reader to relate. If the reader were to put their own mother in the title of the poem then they would understand the meaning of it more literally. The way Eady utilizes an overtly inane suggestion gives it more of a personal touch which helps to make the poem what it is. Cornelius could have used a more profound title but it would not have meant as much to the peom.
Eady uses dancing to serve as a metaphor the relationship between mother and son in a variety of ways. Eady writes, “I wonder a small thought. I walk back into our lives. Given the opportunity, how would she have danced?”(25-28). This describes how the mother and son did not have the best relationship because he “walks back into our lives”. Also he wonders how she would have turned out if things had gone a bit divergent, maybe she would be a better mother. Cornelius writes, “Or two ballroom dancers Who only know One step?” (35-37). The way this describes the relationship between mother and son is how they know so little about each other. There is only the two of them and they aren’t even close because of the mothers habits.

Cody said...

Eady explains his universal idea on his “crazy lady” to reveal the significance of the poem. Examples include “[crossing] easily into her point of view” which tells the audience that the character understands his “crazy lady.” The universal suggestion of this poem could be substance abuse since “there are times when I visit.” The son may be visiting for the reason that the “crazy lady” is in rehab; most addicts go into rehab when they want to stop using drugs or other sources.
Dancing serves a purpose to the relationship between the mother and son. If the mother could get back with the son, they would be “dancing,” meaning they are connected and content. Most mother and sons are not meant to be at odds in which this poem is based upon. This explains the universal idea in addition to the mother and son lost each other.