Just As The Calendar Began To Say Summer By Mary Oliver Summary

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In the poem “Just as the Calendar Began to Say Summer”, Mary Oliver provides two distinct, juxtaposing tones. The first tone Oliver uses is one of childlike freedom. In the beginning stanza of her poem, she describes “[running] out of the schoolhouse fast.” This shows her eagerness to leave, and creates an idea of childlike behavior. She runs “through the gardens and to the woods,” showing her freedom to play in nature. As described in the first line, she is a schoolgirl, and in combination with this quote, provides imagery of a small girl running through the forest. This image, inherently seen as playful and almost wild, lends support to Oliver’s tone. She continues by telling the reader that she “[spends] all summer forgetting what [she had] been taught.” This is perhaps the most powerful line of the stanza, because it shows her letting go of all the expectations, memorizations and obligations she had learned and…show more content…
The stanza itself is broken up into much shorter phrases. Even without examining the language, this type of wording displays control and focus, changing completely from the flowing writing of the first. Here she uses that phrasing to describe subjects such as math (“two times two”) as well as the expectations taught, like “how to be modest and useful, and how to succeed.” This not only shows the structure school provides in and outside the classroom, but gives a glimpse into how young girls were taught to behave - in a very “ladylike” manner, which is often seen as reserved and restricted. The final piece of evidence given in this stanza is in the last line, where Oliver talks of “machines and oil.” However, in this case she isn’t referring to a subject. Instead, it can be interpreted that she is comparing herself to one. A machine by nature is mechanical and structured, and that is exactly how she is expected to behave in

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