Understanding Poetry

During class this week, we discussed the title of “A Tale of Two Cities.” While this novel isn’t poetry, our discussion certainly reminded me of it. We talked about how Dickens, the author of the story, used the word “tale,” instead of another word such as “story.” I believed that he used the term “tale” to portray that the story was a piece of history that was handed down from generation to generation, although of course not physically. If he had used the word “story” as a substitution, it would have made the novel seem more fictional.

So like the title of “A Tale of Two Cities,” poetry also has a hidden meaning behind its words. For example:

The message Hughes is trying to portray in this poem is that without having dreams, life is stagnant and holds no meaning. The reason why he uses a broken-winged bird as a symbol for life is because without being capable of flying, a bird can’t do anything and therefore has no purpose. With broken wings, a bird cannot migrate from one place to another, search for food in different areas, nor be able to nest up in the trees. It will also die without another being supporting it and providing for its necessities. So without dreams, a person has no purpose in life and will perish because of this. Perhaps they won’t actually die, but can you really call surviving “living”? Say you’ve been locked up all your life and have never been allowed human contact, nor fresh air. Yes you would be provided necessities such as food and water, but you wouldn’t be acting out of free will, doing the things you want to do, nor conversing with the ones you love. A sane person would be driven to madness with this experience. I believe the same may apply to a person living without dreams.


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