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"The Lanyard" by Billy Collins

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Sarah Bogard

on 16 September 2014

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Transcript of "The Lanyard" by Billy Collins

The Lanyard
by Billy Collins

: a bored man sits in his office and happens upon the word "lanyard" in the dictionary, which reminds him of a gift he made for his mother as a child. As a result he reminisces about the lanyard.
Contrast in Setting
Time: Present/Past/Present

"My eyes fell upon the word, Lanyard...suddenly into the past."

~Indicator of change

Contrast in Point of View to show Irony
Adult vs. Child

Adult - wisdom: "you can never repay your mother."

Child - innocence, wonder: "this useless thing...would be enough to make us even."
Wry - humorously sarcastic or mocking
~Repetition and simplicity of "here is your lanyard."
Bemused - perplexed by conflicting situations
~Boredom in office to pondering complexity of thanking mother
Nostalgic - feeling sentimental affection for the past
~"I wish to say to her now..."
A shift from boredom:
"ricocheting slowly," "moving as if underwater"
To nostalgia:
"a past where I sat at a workbench"
To gratitude:
"I was as sure as a boy could be that this useless, worthless thing that I wove out of boredom would be enough to make us even."
"Laid back, no-tie-required appeal"
"Lack sophistication and inventiveness"
"Reader friendly poet" which doesn't require much from the reader
Holistic Interpretation:
Collins uses juxtaposition to create humor and irony to demonstrate
his reverence for his mother.
Contrast in knowledge
Contrast in Imagery to Create Humor
Tangible Lanyard vs. Intangible Love

"Here is your lanyard."
~Matter-of-fact, plain, useless

"Thousands of meals...clothing and a good education...breathing body and a beating heart...clear eyes to read the world."
~Rich in detail, priceless, irreplaceable

~intentional contrast which places conflicting images, objects, ideas, characters etc. side by side to highlight the contrast and ignite interest.
1- Sarah A., Sarah E., Rhobert, Tommy
2 - Josh, Maria, Dynecia, Veronica
3 - Richie, Saadiqa, Javier, Jabria
4 - Jaime, Hazel, Kirstia, Samantha
5 - Jose, Stephanie, Maddie, Taylor
Full transcript