The Red Wheelbarrow Poem Analysis

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“A poem can be made of anything.“ This statement of William Carlos Williams in his work ‘Kora in Hell’ has become a universal characteristic for Imagist’s works. The innovative, early 20th century countermovement to preceding literary eras, known as the beginning of modernism “emphasized precision and treatment of the ‘thing’ over florid language and emotional affect, which the Imagists associated with Romanticism“ (Stinson 61-62). When considering Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow“, it could easily be said that it is just a poem about a wheelbarrow, but the first two lines signal that there is an important message in the poem. However, through contrasting the reading of the present and the imagining of the absent regarding “The Red Wheelbarrow“,…show more content…
Coming back to the visual aspect of the poem, it is noticeable that each of the four stanzas resembles a wheelbarrow. Furthermore, every stanza contains a pair of lines which consists of three words on the first line and one single word on the second. Between those stanzas, there are syntactic enjambements and within each pair of lines a morphological enjambement can be found, meaning that an entity of words is split up onto two lines. Heinrich Plett distinguishes between those two kinds of enjambements because a “morphological enjambement implies a stronger deviation than the syntactic one, since a morphological unit has stronger coherence than a syntactic one“ (Plett 140). The morphological enjambement 's in “The Red Wheelbarrow“ are “depends / upon“, “wheel / barrow“, “rain / water“ and “white / chickens“. In fact, those entities always consist of a mono-syllabic word on the first and a disyllabic word on the second line. Discussing syllables, it is striking that both the first and the last stanzas start with a four syllable line, and the second and third stanzas both have three syllables in the first line. In every stanza the second line has always got two syllables. Even though the poem has no end-rhymes, there are internal assonances as all the diphthongs in the poem are repeated: “so - barrow“, “glazed - rain“,…show more content…
Those who generally prefer absent reading may ask what value the poem holds since it is not concerned with a universally important issue. The answer to this rightless question is the poem’s demonstration that even the most ordinary thing can be of interest if only enough attention is devoted to it. This justifies William Carlos William’s statement that “a poem can be made of anything“ and underlines the ingenuity that lies in the simplicity of Imagist works. Ultimately, it cannot be prevented that people find their own interpretations for “The Red Wheelbarrow“ but what all readers have in common is that the poem succeeds in making them think about something so commonplace as a wheelbarrow, rainwater and
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