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Ok, I really need help with this one. I need to finish this Lesson, I have an exam tomorrow..I need to understand what this poem "Lake of Bays" by Raymond Souster mean. This girl is jumping from the railing, does that mean she died, or it's just for fun? Please help me! Just give me an understanding of this poem, so I can do this lesson and answer questions.

  • English -

    I cannot find that poem online. It must be under copyright -- or can you supply the text?

  • english -

    I found this mention of it. Click on Souster at the top to find the review.


  • english -

    Lake Of Bays-
    "Well, I'm not chicken..."
    that skinny ten-year old girl
    balance on the crazy-high railing
    of the Dorset bridge:
    suddenly let go
    fifty feet into the water.

    "That one will never grow up
    to be a lady," my mother said
    as we walk away,

    but I'll remember
    her brown body dropping like a stone
    long after I've forgotten
    many many ladies....

  • English -

    Thanks for posting the poem.

    Study the last two stanzas and the commentary I recommended. What do you think the poem means?

  • english -

    Yes, I've read that before. However, I understand that this girl is jumping from a 50 ft bridge..then I don't understand why this mother is so calm. I mean, does this mean that this girl just killed herself and this women just walked by?

  • english -

    You miss the point of the last line...

    I remember a girl in my high school homeroom who killed herself because she was pregnant. That has been fifty years ago, and frankly, I have forgotten nearly all the others in my class.

    Does that help you?

  • english -

    Oooo..yes, I see what you are saying.

  • english -

    Ok..and here is another thing..I need to compare mother and this boy( like their two views). I don't quite understand this. I mean yes, the mother just walked by and didn't really pay much attention to this girl, and they boy memorized her for his whole life..is there anything else?

  • english -

    Perhaps the mother is understating her feelings. Adults tend to watch children grow and mature and visualize them as future adults. The boy, presumably younger, is hit harder by this death -- much the way Bob Pursley has never forgotten his high school classmate.

    The poem expresses two different ways of looking at the death of a young person.

  • english -

    Ok, thank you soooo much.You've helped me a lot, but you see I need to use block comparison arrangement..how do I do that? I need to have more then 4 differences between them.

  • english -

    You're very welcome.

    Here's a site on block comparison.


    The mother:
    1. is older
    2. mourns the person that could have been
    3. walks away
    4. impersonalizes the victim be calling her "that one."
    5. may not be expressing all of her feelings

    Now -- what can you explain about the boy?

  • english -

    The ten year old is not committing suicide...she is doing something daring; an act which young ladies did not do. This is why the speaker will remember her 'long after all the ladies that she or he will see'. Ten year olds are not typically not mature enough to consider committing suicide nor does any of Souster's other works depict a parent being so cold and callous to witnessing a potential suicide and do nothing. See it as the little girl being brave and having the guts to go against society's expectations of what a proper 'girl' should do.

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