Literary Analysis Of Monet's Waterlilies

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Robert Hayden’s poem, Monet’s Waterlilies is based upon a work of art itself. To truly understand the poem constructed out of the image of Monet’s oil paintings, it is essential to give some background. Claude Monet painted many scenes for a series of paintings he called “Water Lilies”. All of the paintings were created to display Monet’s outdoor scenery around his own home. Monet said, “One instant, one aspect of nature contains it all,” when referring to the landscapes he has painted (Entry). The words of Hayden truly capture what Monet was hoping to express to those who chose to immerse themselves in “Water Lilies”. Within the very first stanza of Monet’s Waterlilies, Hayden has brought up very political events from the 1960s that have impacted the United States greatly. Selma (1965), 600 civil rights marchers were attacked by officers with clubs and tear gas (Nast). Saigon (1968), a Viet Cong attack on the Saigon Embassy (Wendt). The first and second line, “Today as the news from Selma and Saigon / poisons the air like fallout,” use personification of the news poisoning the air (Hayden, Monet 's Waterlilies). News itself cannot “poison the air like fallout”. However, catching wind of the tragedy that struck the United States at home and across the sea left many Americans shocked and traumatized. Fallout is radioactive particles that are in the air after a nuclear explosion. The impression left upon a person after hearing the news is as if it has polluted the sky with
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