Ellen Bryant's Effort At Speech

1280 Words6 Pages
Sometimes things aren’t always what they seem to be. Things that you associate with always being happy could be trapped by what society expects it to be. “The individual soul is in conflict with the collective one.” (Voigt) In Ellen Bryant Voigt’s, “Effort at Speech”, the persona tries to tie human interactions and characteristics into the animals seen at the aquarium and the way they live within the tank. In lines 1-6 the persona realizes that eyes can be deceiving and what you expect things to be aren’t always what they are. This idea can be supported in lines 1-2, “Nothing was as we’d thought, the sea / anemones not plants but animals,”. Sea anemones are genetically designed to look like plants in order to disguise themselves from their…show more content…
He struggles trying to turn his thoughts into words. He physically struggles with his speech; in lines 8-10 the persona says he is “…uttering / words or parts of words and pointing / ceaselessly toward the water…” “one of the many shapes in the water, / what he could not name, could not describe.” (lines 11-12). He cannot say the words that he is trying so hard to get out. This is not because he is dumb or cannot do it, but because of his age; developmentally, he’s not at the age where thoughts can be clearly formed into words, but he is mentally there which can be extremely frustrating. “Toddlers struggling with their first words is the biggest single issue affecting child development…” (Paterson). The persona even describes this frustration in line 16 “but he tucked his head as if shamed.” There are so many people in the world who share the same struggle as the little boy in this part of the poem. For example, there are hundreds of thousands of people who have disabilities that restrict them from being able to physically speak and share their thoughts and feelings with others. On a surface level, these people are considered less intelligent by society and less valuable when really they are just as smart, if not, more than those around them. They are just
Open Document