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The City of YES, and the City of No

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Dale Ulley

on 9 June 2014

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Transcript of The City of YES, and the City of No

Contrast of Good and Bad
I am like a train
rushing for many years now
between the city of Yes
and the city of No.
My nerves are strained
like wires
between the city of No
and the city of Yes.

Everything is deadly,
everyone frightened, in the city of No.
It’s like a study furnished with dejection.
} Rob
In it every object is frowning, withholding something,
and every portrait looks out suspiciously,
Every morning its parquet floors are polished with bile,
its sofas are made of falsehood, its walls of misfortune.
You’ll get lots of good advice in it -- like hell you will!--
not a bunch of flowers, or even a greeting.
Typewriters are chattering a carbon copy answer:
"No--no--no…No--no--no. No--no--no."
} Dale
And when the lights go out altogether,
the ghosts in it begin their gloomy ballet.
You’ll get a ticket to leave –- like hell you will!--
to leave the black town of No.

The City of YES, and the City of No
The City of Yes and the City of No
is a dramatic monologue that uses two "cities" that are separated by stanzas to contrast the joys of life and love, and the frustration they can also bring. They are separated by the phrase, "between the city of no, and the city of yes."

The repetition of the above phrase helps make it clear that a person jumps back and forth between the city of Yes and the city of No.

There is a lot of pauses in the poem, which gives the reader the sense that the speaker is in deep thought, and is jumping back and forth from idea to idea.

Structure of Poem
One of the critical theories that relates to the poem is archetypal criticism. One of the archetypes in the poem is that the city of no is all about evil and death and the city of yes is about good and freedom just like a lot of books and movies.
Critical Theories
Poet is writing in first person

He finds himself on a train

He is trapped between the two cities

Describes both cities

Speaks of fatigue and getting old

Possible explanations

Trying to find where love is
Analysis of Plot and Characters
The City of Yes, and the city of No
By: Yevgeny Yevtushenko
The mood of this poem is set by the author's descriptive imagery. "My nerves are strained like wires" show how tense the poem is. The reader will know that the narrator is in a state of tension and indecision. Lines like "Better let me be tossed around..." reinforce the theme of indecision.

The writer talks about him being a train. This statement can mean that he only goes in 2 directions and those are "yes" and "no". When talking about the City of No, everything he talks about is scary, deadly or a lie. While in the City of Yes, everything is perfect and happy.

Tone Analysis
Author Background
Yevgeny Yevtushenko
The city of yes and the city of no was written by Yevgeny Yevtushenko in 1966. He was born in 1933 in Russia. I think that this poem was influenced because of the wars that happened while he was growing up. When he was 7 WW2 started and lasted until he was 12. When a war is occurring the government has even more control over your lives. They control the food you ate and how much of it, they controlled what factories were allowed to make (turned most in to weapon makers). The author saw this all through his childhood and when the Vietnam War hit it's peak around this time i think it brought the author back to his childhood and writing about the good times when there was no war, compared to the hard time everyone went through when there was a war and having the government lie to them about why they were fighting. ("Yevgeny Yevtusenko." Yevgeny Yevtusenko. N.p., n.d. Web. 4 June 2014. <http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/jevtusen.htm>.)
See question 2
1. Is this poem's meaning or lesson applicable to today's world? Why do, or why don't you think it is applicable to today's world?

2. Is this picture a good visual representation of the poem The City of Yes and the City of No? Why or why not? Could you think of a better example?
Discussion Questions
But in the town of Yes--
life’s like the song of a thrush.
This town’s without walls--
just like a nest.
} Jordan
The sky is asking you to take any star
you like in your hand.
Lips ask for yours, without any shame,
softly murmuring:
"Ah--all that nonsense!"
And in no one is there even a trace of suspicion,
and lowing herds are offering their milk,
and daisies, teasing, are asking to be picked,
and wherever you want to be, you are instantly there,
Taking any train, or plane, or ship that you like
.} Brandon
And water, faintly murmuring, whispers through the years:
"Yes--yes--yes. Yes--yes--yes. Yes--yes--yes."
To tell the truth, the snag is it’s a bit boring at times,
to be given so much, almost without any effort,
in that shining multicolored city of Yes.

Better let me be tossed around--
To the end of my days,
between the city of Yes
and the city of No!
Let my nerves be strained
like wires
between the city of No
And the city of Yes!
} Randy

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