The Red Wheelbarrow

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Kalium_Puceon
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The Red Wheelbarrow

Postby Kalium_Puceon » Wed Sep 09, 2015 2:24 pm UTC

There's a poem by William Carlos Williams called "The Red Wheelbarrow."

My team and I were in a competition where we each had to write an essay from a set of topics. One topic was "Does The Red Wheelbarrow make sense?"

The poem goes like this:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.


Yeah, so that is what I ask you now. Does it make sense, or is it some mad babbling we've been told to interpret as meaningful? I'll post our answer soon.
"You never get over the desire to do stupid things. You simply have to overrule your stupid urges with an acquired sense of fear."

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Copper Bezel
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Re: The Red Wheelbarrow

Postby Copper Bezel » Wed Sep 09, 2015 3:47 pm UTC

It's good imagery. Semantically, it's not only senseful, but unambiguous. I've read lengthy papers analyzing every little choice and getting into the etymology of "depend" and why Williams would choose to "depends / upon" something when things actually "depend from" if you needlessly take the Latin root literally.

Further analysis does not make sense. Williams was contemporary with the Dada movement, which was about playing with form and effect in absence of content. Williams stops short of that and writes up a recognizable image with immediate, kitschy, sentimental value that happens to use a slightly atypical form. He was also a typewriter early adopter, so he was playing with the spacing and things. The poem doesn't warrant any more detailed scrutiny than any random music video you could pull up on YouTube right now, and there's significantly less content to work from.
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

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Kalium_Puceon
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Re: The Red Wheelbarrow

Postby Kalium_Puceon » Wed Sep 09, 2015 4:23 pm UTC

Huh, so we were right!

We had never seen this poem before, so we came to the conclusion that it isn't meant to be analysed. In part because it is just such a good image of a scene, and in part because we needed some rebellion against the over-analysis that comes with High School English Literature.

We basically said that if you try to read too far into the poem it doesn't make any sense. "It's not a poem, it's a photograph." I believe was the line chosen. We had decided that this poem gave a perfect image of a dusty farm with a brand-new wheelbarrow leaned up against a shed, the smell of fresh rain in the air and the occasional chicken wandering past. That's not to say everyone gets the same image. My brother had, for whatever reason, the image of a freshly prepared chicken about to go in the oven. Weird. Anyhow, it's cool to know that we actually did something right when we were coming up with all this stuff fresh.
"You never get over the desire to do stupid things. You simply have to overrule your stupid urges with an acquired sense of fear."

-Dr. Richard Weisiger

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Copper Bezel
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Re: The Red Wheelbarrow

Postby Copper Bezel » Fri Sep 11, 2015 3:39 am UTC

Kalium_Puceon wrote:"It's not a poem, it's a photograph."

Spot on! Nice work. = D
So much depends upon a red wheel barrow (>= XXII) but it is not going to be installed.

she / her / her

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chridd
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Re: The Red Wheelbarrow

Postby chridd » Sat Sep 12, 2015 7:22 am UTC

Due to how it was formatted, my first thought was to see if there was any sort of message if you read just the words on their own line, or the first letter of each line, or something like that. Can't find anything, though. Suabgwbc!
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Re: The Red Wheelbarrow

Postby liberonscien » Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:29 pm UTC

When I read it in high school, we were told to analyze it.

What we got was that the red wheelbarrow represented life for some farm somewhere.


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