The Great Scarf Of Birds Analysis

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In “The Great Scarf of Birds” by John Updike, the speaker concludes that his heart has been lifted by the image of a gray scarf. The poem is marked with joy and reverence to the natural world around the speaker, but there is sadness in his last few words. The speaker prepares the reader for this conclusion through an abundance of imagery, similes, and poem structure. The speaker opens the poem by describing his setting through a series of individual but connected natural images. The reader is immediately shown ripe red apples from Cape Ann in October, and one after another, the speaker uses similes to compare one part of nature to another. One aspect of an image is used to describe another image: the maple trees were colored like the red apples; the trees swayed like the sky, and the sky was filled flocks of geese, much like the golf course was covered with starlings. The connection of all the images in the first stanza would concentrate on the abundance of birds, which would become a cloud moving that reminded him of god creating and magnets moving iron fillings. He notices the flock of birds making dark “compressed and firm” spots like rocks. The speaker’s vivid comparison and description of objects on the golf course conveys the idea of unity in nature. …show more content…

The speaker’s attention returns to the present and finds the flock of starlings “merely huge,” nothing more than a group of birds. However, the biblical allusion to Lot’s wife reminds the speaker the importance of mindful watching. Lot’s wife had looked around not thinking and turned into stone, forcing the speaker’s gaze back onto the grass, which was “so evenly tinted.” Moreover, he notes the thick outline created by the idle ink stain of starlings on the bright green course. One of the birds decides to fly off, as did the rest, which paralleled the flock to a billowy lady’s scarf, the image that lifts the speaker’s

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