Mary Oliver Theme

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Theme in “The Laughing Heart” and “The Journey”

“Roll the dice. If you're going to try, go all the way. Otherwise, don't even start” (Bukowski). Charles Bukowski and Mary Oliver had this mindset when writing the two poems, “The Laughing Heart” and, “The Journey”. Both poets believed that in order to “beat death in life,” you must take chances (Bukowski 13). Throughout “The Laughing Heart”, Charles Bukowski maintains a central theme: you aren't living unless you seize opportunities in life. Along with that, Mary Oliver’s “The Journey” shows the reader that inner strength is necessary to move forward. Both of these poems have a moving tone, shown through word choice. These two themes were developed by the tone and the figurative language the author uses.

First, Bukowski shows his theme through figurative language when he says, “there is a light somewhere. It may not be much light, but it beats the darkness” (Bukowski 5-8). Even
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Oliver uses theme when she says, “determined to do the only thing you could do” (Oliver 33-34). Instead of using determined, she could have used “doing” or “trying”. But that isn't moving. When you are determined to do something, you will not give up until it is done. If MLK did one thing to support equal rights, he might have been recognized. But he wouldn't have moved the world like he did. Persistence is moving.
In “The Laughing Heart”, Bukowski displays tone through word choice when he says, “your life is your life, don't let it be clubbed into dank submission” (Bukowski 1-2). You are in control of your life, so you have to deal with your decisions. Don't let others decide for you and let your life go downhill. The word choice in the second line is key because if he described the punishments for letting others choose for you as “bad”, it wouldn't move the reader. By using finer word choice, Bukowski can display the tone in his writing to better develop the
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