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...
Kenny D. 1
In the poem "Red Shift", the poet Ted Berrigan suggest the human element is going to waste due to eternal conformity; Pretty solid thesis--but the intro and thesis could be expanded here with specifics--remember: explication is a very close reading of HOW a poem works to achieve and create meaning. Some more writing here is necessary to establish this.
The poem begins "here I am" with a pronoun, I. Already he begins the poem leaving the reader to wonder who he is. I believe that Berrigan is trying to start the poem off to a human that wants to know, that will look for an answer rather then accepting the pronoun. I is one letter, with various questions. Who is he? Where is he? A quick reader like the majority might skip the importance who exactly is trying to be portray? Wonderful thing to point out--phrase as sentences (for analysis) rather than questions.
Right away he mentions fierce arabesques. (Be specific and show by integrating evidence) Arabesque has several definitions; an arabesques painting is a geometric painting with many shapes and a complex design. When people look at a painting, they see the big picture. Never do they see the complex meaning within the painting, what the painter is trying to show and give out. A poem can hold many meanings that people will simply just burn and put to waste. Berrigan uses the word air various times during "Red Shift". Air is something we need, something many people think lowly of. Without air, life is not possible. Air is something all humans regardless or race, sex, or age, need. Air is something many take for granted. We have so much of it that we barely notice its effects and its wonders of life. Like air, life isn’t possible without humans. People are the definition of life and without them life cannot exist. Many people are too conformed to notice the accomplishments of the human element. Berrigan is trying to radiate these thoughts to our minds as he states "I drink…and smoke to have character and lean in". people in this world are now to busy worrying about blending in, rather then to express their human element and spread their ideas. Humans I believe are racing life, using it as an excuse to try and accomplish as many things while they breathe until they notice that it has gone to waste with the final curse of death. That no one around them will notice what they have done to change life. There are some cool ideas in this paragraph, but the language is really getting in the way of ideas here--more focus on writing about HOW the poem expresses these ideas would clarify these issues--any suggestions?
Berrigan considerably uses pronouns through out the poem. He never mentions his name. A pronoun is a word that takes place of a normal noun or name. Berrigan is perhaps showing the view, and status of the human element of our times. (Great analysis here) Showing the reader that pronouns are what people are beginning to conform to rather then notice the uniqueness of each body. Perhaps one day people will be called it and I. no one around cares for such personality. Towards the end of the poem, Berrigan begins to blame mankind for all of this. Ending the poem with the following, "the world’s furious song flows through my costume". The world’s furious song is the people adapted to their conformity. Through my costume is what people see him as, nothing. They only see the costume covering the emotions, and the life inside. Also blaming the public that he didn’t ask to be a pronoun, "You did". The people have just walk past him like he is just there. No one caring or giving attention to the creative element of life. Finally at the end of poem Berrigan states "I slip softly into the air". I think he wants to let the reader know that himself is falling into the invisible life needed air. That although people wont notice its gone or even there, they will still forever need it and cherish it if it is life they seek. Humans are only thinking about their lives and what they need rather then to help there fellow populace. That once we do start caring and appreciating this, that life will finally reach its meaning.
Feel free to post any constructive comments here, or questions, or observations. Trenchant insights are always welcome but please (always) avoid pithy observations.