A Poem Analysis Essay

Read the following poem by Charles Wright (taken from Vendler 192):


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Someday they’ll find me out, and my lavish hands,

Full moon at my back, fog groping the gone horizon, the edge

Of the continent scored in yellow, expectant lights,

White shoulders of surf, a wolf-coloured sand,

The ashes and bits of char that will clear my name.

Till then, I’ll hum to myself and settle the whereabouts.

Jade plants and oleander float in a shine.

The leaves of the pepper tree turn green.

My features are sketched with black ink in a slow drag through the sky,

Waiting to be filled in.

Hand that lifted me once, lift me again,

Sort me and flesh me out, fix my eyes.

From the mulch and the undergrowth, protect me and pass me on.

From my own words and my certainties,

From the rose and the easy cheek, deliver me, pass me on.


char – charcoal, burnt materials

Jade plants – plant that likes a warm climate

oleander – vegetation that likes a warm climate

Task: Analyze the self-portrait (an illustration of the speaker’s self ) that Wright has constructed. What do we learn and what can we infer about the identity of the speaker?

You may wish to consider:

where you detect the speaker is in space and time
what you detect his motivations to be
how typical his situation is
what you detect the tones of his voice to be
how the speaker imagines life.
Present your analysis in the form of a well balanced, considered essay comprising of short introduction, body paragraphs and short conclusion. Parenthetical citations are not required for this assignment, but if you quote the poem, remember to use quotation marks and to introduce the quotation with appropriate reporting language.

Do not refer to any outside sources to aid you. I am not interested in what anyone else thinks of this poem. Present your ideas and your ideas only. For more information on A Poem Analysis Essay visit this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poetry_analysis

A Poem Analysis Essay

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