Edward Hirsch's Execution Poem Analysis

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“Execution” by Edward Hirsch is about an adult recollecting his thoughts about his high school football career and especially how his coach inspired him because his authoritative role model was battling cancer. The speaker talks about the coach’s goal for “perfect execution” and the infinite strategies the coach would draw up in order to reach his goal. The speaker concludes with their team’s loss against “the downstate team” and how they were ironically defeated by “perfect execution.” A superficial reader might assume that the poem was about the disappointing results that came from his team working hard to reach a goal, but the author’s use of impersonal tone and irony in the fact that their team’s loss is caused by “perfect execution” shows how a strong force can be conquered even when putting your best foot forward when accepting a challenge.

Have you ever been a part of a team that seemed invincible and you lost? The feeling of astonishment and awe are directed into the speaker’s impersonal tone. During the poem, the speaker leaves out emotional ties in
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The coach has a desire to perform “perfect execution” in their team’s gameplay. Execution is defined as putting your plans into action. The speaker described how the coach wrote up thousands of intricate plays for every situation. In addition to his game planning, the coach had a merciless attitude toward his players because he cared about them and pushed them to their limits so that “perfect execution” was a habit and not just a thought. The speaker’s team is challenged by its coach in such extremity that a reader could assume that the team is unstoppable. Ironically, the championship game is not representing the coach’s goal of execution, but perfectly fits the other term for execution, which means to put something to an end, and that is what the “downstate team” is doing
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