Summary Of Donald Justice's Men At Forty

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Traditionally, when one turns forty they experience what many term a “midlife crisis.” At this point, people come to the realization that the first half of their lives is over. These individuals have had many life experiences that shaped their understanding of how life works and who they are as a person. In his poem “Men at Forty”, Donald Justice describes this life event and delves into how men react and feel towards turning forty years or age. While turning forty years of age, men are transitioning into their wiser, latter years. It is a time when these men learn to leave various experiences and desires behind in order to move forward. Justice chose to focus on men that are forty years of age for this reason. “Men at forty/Learn to close…show more content…
The fond memories continue for the men as they reminisce further of their fathers back then. They provided a level of comfort and sparked intrigue within their sons as they performed their everyday grooming practices. As boys, they looked upon their fathers with aspiration and interest of what it truly means to be a man. As the men think back to their youth, the reflecting purpose of the mirror suddenly reminds them that they are now older and in their fathers’ shoes. Justice rips the reader away from the comforting memory back to reality, similarly to the way the men feel towards…show more content…
That “something” that the men are experiencing could be a variety of things. In my opinion “something” refers to the awareness and mixed feelings that accompany the men as they get older and enter the second half of their lives. Justice describing this as “something” conveys to me that it is an obscure and abstract thing filling them rather than something concrete. The use of the word “something” leaves the reader to speculate what is filling the men rather than being told what it is. This combination of awareness and mixed feelings is further supported by its comparison to “the twilight sound/Of the crickets, immense” (17-18). This constant and obscure sound can easily be ignored if distracted, just like the awareness and feelings of getting older. However, when the noise is noticed it becomes a persistent and ominous background noise that seems to become stronger the longer it lingers and the more you notice it. This is the same as the “something” Justice describes. When turning forty years of age, you begin to realize that you have lived half of your life. The awareness that you are entering the second half of your life becomes painstakingly obvious and painful for many people. Until the men come to terms with this reality this awareness will not go away. To make matters worse, this awareness is accompanied by

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