Analysis Of Mary Oliver's Poem 'The Poet With His Face In His Hands'
1768 Words8 Pages
What it means to be Human
“The Poet with His Face in His Hands” is a poem written by Mary Oliver expressing Irony and Ur-story through a poet who finds himself saddened and frustrated by the mistakes of his past and wants to wail in defeat. Though the narrator is not described in full detail, the narrator seems to speak to the poet, giving him advice on how to handle his frustration. The narrator bluntly explains to the poet to understand that frustration and sadness should not consume him. That if he finds himself not able to contain his emotions anymore, to escape to a cave under a waterfall to yell, scream, cry, and let the sorrow drain from his mind, body, and soul. When this is done, to take a moment and look out into the beauty of nature…show more content… Foster describes a Quest to, “consist of five things: a questor, a place to go, a stated reason to go there, challenges and trials, and a real reason to go there. Further, the real reason for a quest never involves the stated reason; self-knowledge is always the real reason” (Foster 25). The poet is the questor whose destination is a cave under a waterfall, and is told by the narrator who states him to go because, “You want to cry aloud for your mistakes. But to tell the truth the world doesn’t need any more of that sound. So if you’re going to do it and can’t stop yourself, if your pretty mouth can’t hold it in, at least go by yourself…” (Line 1-6). His challenges would have to travel to get the cave would be, “The forty fields and the forty dark inclines of rocks and water to the place where the falls are flinging out their white sheets like crazy” (Line 7-10). The poet may not realize it at the time, though he is traveling to the cave to reminiscence on his mistakes, he will come to realize that if he can travel through forty fields and forty dark inclines of rocks, if he can go through the challenges of getting to the cave, he can get through whatever else comes his way in the future. Though the goal for the poet is to reach the cave the journey is just as significant,…show more content… A narrator’s tone is, “The author’s implicit attitude toward the reader or the people, places, and events in a work as revealed by the elements of the author’s style. Tone may be characterized as serious or ironic, sad or happy, private or public, angry or affectionate, bitter or nostalgic, or any other attitudes and feelings that human beings experience” (Meyer 2129). The narrators tone in the poem can be both understanding yet blunt, letting the reader know that there are those just as angry and frustrated, but we have to move on and not linger over our sadness. This poem also expresses Allegory, “A narration description usually restricted to a single meaning because its events, actions, characters, settings, and objects represent specific abstractions or ideas” (Meyer 2107). This represents change the poet has to go within himself and actions to begin his new journey for self-improvement, where instead of his past being a burden be a