Poetry - Assignment Example

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While Levertov explores these two notions separately, when they are combined the poem reveals both a devastating sadness that the female protagonist feels at being unloved by the strangers that take notice of her, and the inability of the men to put their feelings into coherent words. The opening stanza shows a scene that many people are familiar with, whether they have experienced it firsthand or have witnessed it: an attractive woman being passed on the street by men who jeer, whistle, or make vulgar remarks as the woman retreats. Levertov focuses on the possible meanings of the groans of the men in the second, third, and fourth stanzas, deciding if the moans suggest feelings of lust for the passing woman, or are merely the sounds of men desperate to say something but are unable to find the words. For the first scenario, in which the moans “tell her she is a female and their flesh knows it” (lines 4-5), the woman finds the sounds to be unpleasant, “an ugly enough song, sung by a bird with a slit tongue” (lines 7-8). ...Show more

Summary

The Mutes: A Close Reading Denise Levertov’s poem “The Mutes” is a 41-line haunting piece that explores the hidden emotions and longings of men and women as they wander the streets and subways of an unnamed city. Though the poem seems not to follow a specific pattern in regard to how its stanzas are set up, its disjointedness increases the intense feelings of uncertainty and a lack of fulfillment that are present throughout…
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Poetry essay example
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