Summary Of William Carlos Williams's Spring And All

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An Ambiguous Future Following in suit with the modernist rebellion to the traditional structure of having an established form and meter in poetry, William Carlos Williams uses free verse in his poem “Spring and All”. Despite not having a set form or meter, Williams utilizes diction, the patterned length of stanzas, and temporal shifts to create dingy and blurred images, which contrast with the vibrancy and life that is generally associated with spring. These formal features suggest an uncertain outlook on society’s ability to recover from the social, political, and economic trauma caused by World War One. Spring is generally associated with images of brightness and rebirth, however, in describing the impending rebirth, Williams appears to be weary that the future generation will be born into an environment comparable to those in previous generations. The poem begins by referring to “the contagious hospital” (Williams 1), which immediately creates a weary tone since contagion is most closely associated with disease. This specific word choice later affects the tone of “They enter the new world naked,/cold, uncertain of all/ save that they have to enter” (16-18 Williams) because babies are born in hospitals, but the “contagious” nature of the hospital in the first line implies the babies will not be pure because they are being born in a place tainted by the contagion. The poem was originally published in 1923, which was only five years after World War One ended, so the
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