Analysis Of James Dickey's Poem Cherrylog Road

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Cherrylog Road James Dickey’s poem, Cherrylog Road, is clearly an exhilarating, narrative poem. The speaker of this piece is a young man reminiscing of a past love affair that was forbidden. This is a provocative poem, told in the first person and is full of figurative language and symbolism. The setting of this poem is in a rural part of an unnamed Southern state, off of Highway 96 at Cherrylog Road. It is at the peak of a summer afternoon in a junkyard full of discarded cars. This setting affects the reader’s perception of this poem by using the cars’ hot metallic bodies and the full force of a hot, summer day to entice the reader to enter this steaming bygone era of cars and lust. The cars are symbolic of a black society that has been…show more content…
The girl, Doris Holbrook, is from a nearby farm and her father is abusive to his daughter. Dickey describes this abuse when he writes,” To be seen by her red-haired father who would change, in the squalling barn, her back’s pale skin with a strop…”() This part of the poem uses a razor strap to symbolize the beating that the girl will get if her father finds out about her lover. Doris carries a wrench and uses the necessity of retrieving car parts as an excuse to get away from her father and to meet this young lover. The Author describes the girl’s father as having red hair. This red hair symbolizes the red anger that of the father if he found out that his daughter was seeing a black man. As the dark colored man hops into one side of a car and out the other it is symbolic of him entering a role in society. He is now an acceptable partner for this white girl. The author tells us that the girl is white in the poem when he writes, “Her back’s pale skin…” (). Dickey uses the symbolism of a frog, mouse, crickets, roaches, and beetles to denote basic creatures that are very low on the food chain, much like the young black man. He also uses the symbol of a King snake to show a predator seeking out his prey as in the young man’s lust for the white

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