The Waking Poem Analysis

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Poem Analysis: The poem titled “The waking” written by Theodore Roethke (1908 – 1963) made in the year 1953. Analyzing this poem, it has a deeper meaning than what it implies on the surface. As a whole, the poem tries to connote the big idea of life and death. With the additional twist of fate and the flow of life included. Of how the logic of being awake is rather bleak in comparison of being asleep, somewhat to the otherworldly. Considering the time period, and author’s background; it isn’t surprising to think why Roethke wrote this type of poem. This poem is a villanelle, a 19 line poem made out of 5 tercets and followed by a quatrain. There are two key repeating rhymes written on the first and last lines of the first stanza, which is…show more content…
A paradox is a sentence or statement that contains 2 contrasting/ opposite ideas, such as waking and sleeping. One cannot be sleeping when they are awake. If we take this in its literal sense, it can be said to be circular… just like how you can travel as far west as you can to reach the east. Another paradox in the first stanza is “I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.” This is also another circular form or content in the poem. Normally, we take fear in what we don’t know, like fate, because it is unknown, which can’t be felt or anticipated. “By feeling fate rather than fearing it, you accept it rather than resist it.” The last line of the stanza, “I learn by going where to go” is basically implying that you’re moving without a specific goal in mind. Connecting it to the second line, it could be interpreted as accepting your fate as what it is. But then again, taking this idea and connecting it with the first line – “I wake to sleep,” we can infer that the goal of the author (or person) is now to sleep, and sleep becomes a stage where they have to reach in order to “learn” this acceptance. And thus the opposite, being awake, is unaccepting fate or life as it is. This second line of the first stanza’s tercet unifies the whole meaning of the stanza, somewhat clearing the circular…show more content…
It’s somewhat implying whether your living or dead (since we’re talking about fate) as we are talking with the metaphorical meaning of waking and sleeping – alive or dead. On the second line, the word “Ground” “g” is capitalized, implying that the ground is a living thing (person) or place. The ground being a symbolism as part of the cycle of life, where the dead will dissolve, and produces new life. Enforcing the key lines of “learn by going where I have to go.” Again, another circular meaning. Continuing on to the 4th stanza, from the ground that we became, we move through the cycle again. Light of
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