Hale County Alabama Poem Analysis

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A Short Analytic Review of A Child's Grave, Hale County, Alabama

A Child's Grave, Hale County, Alabama is a very solemn and morbid short poem by the American poem writer Jim Simmerman. The short poem is just a single stanza without any rhyming words, about 7 sentences long. This poem depicts a poor man living in Alabama who steals a plank of wood in order to bury his child. He leaves his hut and his wife and steps out into the cold December air and begins to drive the plank of wood into the ground where his child resides. At the time of the burial of this Alabamian's son, the year is 1936 in the season of December. December often symbolizes the time of stagnation and death, which is a fitting for this short poem. In the year of 1936, the Great Depression was on the rise and
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The second sentence introduces the man who placed the piece of lumber into the ground and where he obtained the two-by-four. “He’d have had to steal the wood from a local mill or steal, by starlight, across his landlord’s farm...” (7-10). The fact that this man had to steal a simple plank of wood notes just how poor this man really is. The man would have to lug the plank “Three miles home”, which had to have been a daunting task. This is the first sign of physical distress that we encounter in this poem, which plays a significant a part in the underlying importance of the story. The third sentence tells the reader what the man is leaving behind, and why he is leaving his small hut. Again, it is clear that this man is incredibly poor, stating, “He’d have had to leave his wife asleep on a cornshuck mat...” (13-14). What little possessions this man has, he is leaving behind to go bury his son, who was “bundled in a burlap
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