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Weakness By Alden Nowlan-Asish and Derek

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asish sharma

on 17 November 2014

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Transcript of Weakness By Alden Nowlan-Asish and Derek

FONTS
"My father hates weakness worse than hail;
in the morning
without haste
he will shoot her in the ear, once,
shovel her under in the north pasture."
Born January 25, 1933 in Stanley, Nova Scotia. Passed June 27, 1983.
Canadian poet, novelist, and playwright.
His mother left their family after giving birth to Nowlan at the age of 15.
Dropped out of school after four grades.
He worked at the sawmill by 14, and by 16 discovered the regional library. By then he began to secretly educate himself.
At the age of 19, he began working on books of poetry.
Later in his lifetime, he was diagnosed with throat cancer but continued to work at the University of New Brunswick. He maintained that position until his death.
Old mare whose eyes
are like cracked marbles,
drools blood in her mash,
shivers in her jute blanket.

My father hates weakness worse than hail;
in the morning
without haste
he will shoot her in the ear, once,
shovel her under in the north pasture.

Tonight
leaving the stables
he stands his lantern on an overturned water pail,
turns,
cursing her for a bad bargain,
and spreads his coat
carefully over her sick shoulders.


Weakness
Alden Nowlan
Asish & Derek

About The Author - Alden Nowlan
"Old mare whose eyes
are like cracked marbles,
drools blood in her mash,
shivers in her jute blanket."
Stanza 1
Stanza 2
What does "Weakness" mean?
"The state or condition of being weak."
"A disadvantage or fault."
Metaphor
Setting
Imagery
Setting
Explanation
The speaker of the poem describes the mare as having eyes like cracked marbles, they use a metaphor here. “Cracked marbles” represents that the mare appears to be damaged, hurt and close to death by the look of her eyes. The speaker compares the mares eyes to marbles because they represent a streak or stain similar to a completely ruined marble. “Drools blood in her mash”, the speaker is using imagery to represent the pain and suffering the horse is going through. “Shivers in her jute blanket” creates an allusion by using the word “shivers” giving us a sense of how the horse is feeling. “Jute” is a rough fibre, the speaker is using imagery and allusions to make us feel the position the horse is currently in and the weakness the horse presents. It gives us the sense that the horse won’t make it what it is currently going through.
The use of Three Stanzas in the Poem?
Each stanza develops the story by giving it more of a dramatic effect. Each stanza also creates a visual effect by demonstrating what is happening throughout the poem. In stanza one, it introduces what the main idea of the poem is, which is the horse is suffering and close to death. In the second stanza, it represents that the father figure does not like the state the horse is in, example, “My father hates weakness worse than hail; in the morning.” It shares the fathers thoughts and creates the climax of the poem leading up to what the father plans on doing to the horse. In the third stanza, there is a twist, the father does not decide to kill the horse and comforts the horse. The stanzas each effects the way that the story develops throughout the course of events and creates the imagery of the poem.
My father hates weakness worse than hail;
in the morning
without haste
he will shoot her in the ear, once,
shovel her under in the north pasture.
Explanation
From my own perspective, to me the poem highlights that everyone has a weakness. I think the father’s weakness in this poem is the inability to avoid his conscience and not feel sympathy for the poor animal despite what we hear of him. Throughout the poem, through his son’s words, he is portrayed as someone who does not feel any sense of compassion or remorse for anyone who shows a sign of weakness.
Stanza 3
Explanation
"cursing her for a bad bargain" :

this shows that the speaker's father is upset with the horse for getting sick since he probably chose her out of a lot of horses. Although its not its fault, he needs someone to blame.


"spreads his coat carefully over her sick shoulders" :

from the last line of the poem, we are able to see that the father's true weakness is this sick animal.
Literary Terms
Alliteration (repetition of similar consonant sounds) :

"bad bargain" - harsh diction

"sick shoulders" - soft diction

Imagery
:

"spreads his coat carefully over her sick shoulders"

we can picture the older man standing next to this sick horse with his jacket over her

Paradox :

the beginning of the poem gives us the idea that the father is tough and that he will put the horse to rest with ease but in the last few lines, we learn that the horse is truly his weakness.

Tone/Mood:

sad, remorse, sympathetic
Explanation of the poem
What does the speaker mean by cursing her for a bad bargain?
Definition of curse: A solemn utterance intended to invoke a supernatural power to inflict harm or punishment on someone or something.
the horse is the fathers curse. a curse is never looked in a positive conatation. it is always a burden of some sort. although he had bought the horse for cheap the bargain was still bad because in the end the horse was unhealthy and more a burden then it could help him.
so in the end him buying the horse was the bad bargain and the horse being the curse.


It is essentially the stanza in witch you see the father turn and show mercy
throughout the poem you see him as a mercy less man but this is the turning point that breaks his character and shows more traits of sympathy towards the horses weakness.
Literary Devices.
pun
imagery
line break
setting
Mare: a old adult female horse
Explanation
The speaker of the poem describes the mare as having eyes like cracked marbles, they use a metaphor here. “Cracked marbles” represents that the mare appears to be damaged, hurt and close to death by the look of her eyes. The speaker compares the mares eyes to marbles because they represent a streak or stain similar to a completely ruined marble. “Drools blood in her mash”, the speaker is using imagery to represent the pain and suffering the horse is going through. “Shivers in her jute blanket” creates an allusion by using the word “shivers” giving us a sense of how the horse is feeling. “Jute” is a rough fiber, the speaker is using imagery and allusions to make us feel the position the horse is currently in and the weakness the horse presents. It gives us the sense that the horse won’t make it what it is currently going through.
Quick Question
Class Question: from hearing the title of the poem what do you guys thinks this poem is about?
Theme
In weakness, Alden Nowlan develops the idea that if you look at the poem in a negative way, the speaker’s father hates that compassion is his weakness.
However, if you look at the poem in a positive way, the speaker’s father hates weakness. But he does not consider compassion is a weakness but instead a strength


This poem is in 3 stanzas. Explain the narrative purpose of each stanza. In other words, how does each stanza develop the story?
Discussion Question
Full transcript