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The Butterfly: Poem Anlysis

This is an introduction to poetry analysis for my class. They will be given a handout that has the SIFT stratagey so that they have more guided practice.
by

Gabriel Cerda

on 7 May 2013

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Transcript of The Butterfly: Poem Anlysis


The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow .
Perhaps if the sun's tears would sing
against a white stone. . . .
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly 'way up high.
It went away I'm sure because it wished to
kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I've lived in here,
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found my people here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.
Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don't live in here ,
in the ghetto.

by Pavel Friedman
The Butterfly Symbol of freedom. Remember, the reason that this is a symbol is because the image of the butterfly keeps being repeated in the poem. The color yellow may be symbolic of friendship. Notice how many times the color yellow is mentioned or how many things that are being described are yellow. Yellow also symbolizes Fear and Sickness; however, in the poem the adjectives attached to yellow are positive, so it probably means friendship. The Sun is usually of symbol of life and hope. The Sun is personified and it is important to note that it is crying. The butterfly, a symbol of freedom, seems to be giving up and goes away. It is personified which may be important. The word penned has a very negative connotation attached to it. Animals are the ones that are usually penned up, not people. So, What is the author trying to say that his people are being treated like? These to images are juxtaposed. This means that the author wants us to compare “his people” to “dandelions”. How are people like flowers? It is also important to note that the dandelions are yellow. They are also personified in this poem. What could this mean? The color white shows up several times. White is often symbolic of purity, but it could also mean death. In the poem the color white is always attached with something that has no life. For example, the stone and the dead branches. So, it is more likely that the author is using white as a symbol of death. So we always see an image of yellow/friendship followed by an image of white/death. The fact that the line is the way it is and not together with the last line maybe significant. It could be a pause for effect, but it could be a double entendre like butterflies do not exist in the world or even in his own heart.
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