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March 29, 2017

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Okay so I have poem here that I need to interpret including I have to discuss the issue of gender as it relates to this poem. So here's the poem

"A Place For Everything"

When my mother
spoke of sadness and widows,
my father muttered "Well, well,"
and shook the paper open
in front of his face.

Now fifty years together
isn't enough. I was wrong about her,
a widow three days who will not
sit in his easy chair.
In their lving room I wait to lift.

whatever she wants and then
as if I were a boy again wandering
at dusk I hear her voice fly
across the woods to call me home
A place for everything,

I thought was what she loved.
On their unmade bed-a torn envelope
its birthday card he must have hidden
beneath his socks, signed in x's and o's
a boy's hand, a boy's gesture.

Seventy tomorrow, she asks
for help tonight to sort suspenders,
trousers creased to their cuffs,
the two-tone shirts she chose for him
and washed and folded and set into a drawer.

The only hint are teacher gave us is "X's and O's" obviously stands for hugs and kisses, and that the birthday card the father put and hid in the drawer. Now I know it's apparently the wife's birthday the next day but I can't get beyond that surface level detail. "a widow three days":does that mean her husband died three days ago? If anyone could help me I would really appreciate it.

  • Poetry - ,

    Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. A son is telling about his parents and yes, his mother is a widow as of 3 days ago. Since it said the birthday card was "a boy's hand, a boy's gesture" could it possibly be one from the past before her parents married?

  • Poetry - ,

    Since it says "seventy tomorrow" I think her birthday in the poem is the next day so the card was meant for her upcoming birthday.

  • Poetry - ,

    What is the theme of the two poems "In November" by Archibald Lampman and "December" by Stuart Livingstone? Thank you.

  • Poetry - ,

    When my mother
    spoke of sadness and widows,
    my father muttered "Well, well,"
    and shook the paper open
    in front of his face.
    It sounds as if the father doesn't expect to die anytime soon. Do you think he's just being his normal self, not taking what she says seriously, or is he consciously trying to avoid the subject of mortality?

    Now fifty years together
    isn't enough. I was wrong about her,
    a widow three days who will not
    sit in his easy chair.
    In their lving room I wait to lift.
    Who do you think the "I" is in this stanza? Why wasn't fifty years enough? Fifty years of what? Why will she "not sit in his easy chair."

    whatever she wants and then
    as if I were a boy again wandering
    at dusk I hear her voice fly
    across the woods to call me home
    A place for everything,
    Again, be sure to identify who's who in here. Who am "I" and who is "she"? What does "fly across the woods" mean?

    I thought was what she loved.
    On their unmade bed-a torn envelope
    its birthday card he must have hidden
    beneath his socks, signed in x's and o's
    a boy's hand, a boy's gesture.
    How do you think she came across the birthday card? What do you think "a boy's hand, a boy's gesture" means?

    Seventy tomorrow, she asks
    for help tonight to sort suspenders,
    trousers creased to their cuffs,
    the two-tone shirts she chose for him
    and washed and folded and set into a drawer.
    She's obviously sorting out his clothing. Why, do you think? What will she do with them? Put them back into the drawers? Is that what this is about?

    You also need to consider the time span of the story in this poem. Over what length of time did it take place? Is it told in flashback mode, or is it told as events occurred?

    Here are two excellent websites that tell you step by step how to read and understand a poem:

    http://www.wisc.edu/writing/Handbook/ReadingPoetry.html#top

    http://www.uncp.edu/home/canada/work/markport/best/study/poetry.htm

    In poetry, question everything! You have to understand the surface level (the story), of course, before you can get any underlying meanings.

    Let us know what you come up with, and someone here will be happy to critique your thinking.

    =)

  • Poetry - ,

    Do you think he's just being his normal self, not taking what she says seriously, or is he consciously trying to avoid the subject of mortality?

    To me it sounds like he just doesn't want to listen or talk about those things and he'd much rather read the newspaper.

    Who do you think the "I" is in this stanza?
    The narrator, the son of the couple

    Why wasn't fifty years enough? Fifty years of what?

    Fifty years of marriage is what I assume it is. And I would think it's not enough mostly because she does not want to be alone.

    Why will she "not sit in his easy chair."

    Because I think the husband died and that was his chair.


    How do you think she came across the birthday card? What do you think "a boy's hand, a boy's gesture" means?

    I would think she came across it when sorting through clothes. I'm not sure why it's a boy's gesture but I would think because the author is trying to on the surface make it seem like the two were this loving couple, but in actually they really didn't love each other that much. When she spoke of widows and sadness he ignored him. She spoke of sadness when he was alive. The torn envelope and the unmade bed are maybe symbols of the couple's actual relationship.

    She's obviously sorting out his clothing. Why, do you think? What will she do with them? Put them back into the drawers? Is that what this is about?

    To pick out an outfit to bury him in?

  • Poetry - ,

    Aha! You've seen things I hadn't thought of! Good for you.

    One other set of questions for you -- do you think that birthday card had been put in that drawer years ago and he forgot to give it to her? Or do you think that even though they'd been married over fifty years, he still had a boyish handwriting and charm (x's and o's!)? In other words, when do you think he had prepared that card for her? Why was it in the drawer?

    ??

  • Poetry - ,

    I think he just hid it in the drawer because he's as a clever as a boy. It's supposed on the surface I think make people think "Wow they are still just as in love as a newlywed couple", but I think what's it really saying is the husband isn't all that clever.

  • Poetry - ,

    OK, good. Be sure you write it up that way. Go through the poem, stanza by stanza, and explain what YOU believe is happening and what it all means.

    Be sure to go through those links to get an idea about how to write up poetry analysis. Both are very good.

    =)

  • Poetry - ,

    Thank you for your help. It's easy to at least a make up a story behind the poem, but what is difficult is I have to compare and contrast this poem to other short stories and poems, and they seemingly are incomparable. Comparing this poem to Edwin Arlington Robinson or any of the posssible authors that might be covered is like trying to compare lettuce with a cake.

  • Poetry - ,

    All you need to find is some commonality between/among them -- maybe even just the background (nature, household, or ??) or the versification (meter and rhyme, if there are any).

    Be sure to go through and analyze each one separately before you try any comparisons/contrasts.

    =)

  • Poetry - ,

    The compare and contrast between each poem has to be about gender and the author's view on gender.

  • Poetry - ,

    I've written down random some thoughts regarding the poem. Let me know what you guys think as I would appreciate it.

    On the surface the poem looks like a story of the love a couple who has been married forever until the husband died three days ago. With the birthday card we get the idea the two loved each other until death parted them, but did they really love each other? Unmade bed, torn envelope are possible symbols of their actual relationship. Even the son of the couple, the narrator didn’t think she loved him. She loved the place for everything not him. She spoke of sadness before he died. The author is trying to say people marry others even if they are not the one due to pressures from society to settle down and take the traditional path. If you don’t follow that traditional path you are some sort of outcast or old maid, and the idea is hammered into your head that you will die alone if you don’t get settled down soon. She was twenty when she got married.

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