Though this is a model paper--I'll add some of my comments in red to let you know what could've been added to this essay...
Samyr F. 1
In the poem “Red Shift” by Ted Berrigan suggests that the speaker's life changes as the poem progresses. At the beginning of the poem the speaker seems to talk generally talk about his physical self and how it has changed over time, towards the end the end of the poem the speaker seems to switch to the emotional side of the speakers life. The title “Red Shift” adds conformation to this idea. “Red Shift” is a shift toward longer wavelengths of the spectral lines emitted by a celestial object that is caused by the object moving away from the earth. As a star gets energy it begins to glow which makes it seem to get more intense and seems to switch. I thought this was the most interesting thesis--both because it focused on change (a great thing for a thesis because it forces you to show how and why something changes) as well as because Samy incorporated the title effectively.
The speaker talks about his body physically on the beginning of this poem. “Here I am at 8:08 p.m. indefinable ample rhythmic frame the air is biting, February, fierce arabesques on the way to tree in winter streetscape”. Here the speaker describes his body at that very moment in time while walking down a New York city street the speaker also writes about his surroundings using personification to describe to the reader the air is very cold and frigid outside. By using personification to describe his area around him the speaker gives it a physical aspect to this. Also the speaker describes the leaf-less trees in the winter as “arabesques” which is an aggressive dance move made by dancers. “it'sHeavy with that lightness, heavy on me, I heave through it”. The speaker seems to be saying that he is now became obese unlike he was once before and how he seems to be in some sort of suit or costume. Vey well done here on topic and providing evidence and analysis of the effect of personification. Could work on integrating evidence better and more fluidly.
As the poem progresses towards the middle of the poem the speaker seems to begin to change switch or make a transition to the physical to the more emotional side. The speaker switches to quiet calm to emotional reflecting on the changes. “Twenty years almost ago, and the man smoking is looking at the smilingly attentive woman, & telling. Who would have thought that I'd be here, nothing wrapped up, nothing buried, everything Love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage ethics, a politics of grace, Up in the air, swirling, burning even or still, now more than ever before?” the speaker here is talking how the years have past and did expect that he would where is at this moment in his life and talks about his changes in a very emotional and depressed manner. As the poem progresses deeper and deeper into the middle the speaker begins to get more a more intense with his emotions and feelings. For example “Not that pretty girl, nineteen, who was going to have to go, careening into middle-age so, To burn, & to burn more fiercely than even she could imagine so to go. Not that painter who from very first meeting I would never & never will leave alone until we both vanish into the thin air we signed up for & so demanded To breathe & who will never leave me, not for sex, nor politics nor even for stupid permanent estrangement which is Only our human lot & means nothing”. The speaker is very emotional fiercely as he describes about a person in his past and how she changed. How this once pretty in now a women going through middle ages. Focusing on How the evidence shows the change in the speaker would've been helpful here. However, nice transition in the topic sentence to set up idea.
As the poem heads towards the end the speaker makes a full transition from talking about physical and calm to being fierce and letting all his emotions out. “But no, I won't do that I am 43. When will I die? I will never die, I will live to be 110, & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me who am always & only a ghost, despite this frame, Spirit Who lives only to nag. I'm only pronouns, & I am all of them, & I didn't ask for this You did I came into your life to change it & it did so & now nothing will ever change That, and that's that. Alone & crowded, unhappy fate, nevertheless I slip softly into the air the world's furious song flows through my costume”. From the beginning to the end of this poem the speaker begins to become extremely emotional and many feelings he has about begin to flow out very intensely as if the poem were like “Red Shift” itself. And at the end the speaker closes the poem as if it were Red shift by going out the way it started by making a reference back to his physical self.
Feel free to post any constructive comments here, or questions, or observations. Trenchant insights are always welcome but please (always) avoid pithy observations.