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The Black Walnut Tree Analysis

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by

Sheila Colbert

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of The Black Walnut Tree Analysis

The Black Walnut Tree Analysis
By: Sheila and Abby


The title of this poem is "The Black Walnut Tree." Black is a sad, depressing color. Trees are a symbol of hope and life and they can also represent family, as in a family tree. Walnuts can represent new life because they are grown on the trees.

My mother and I
debate:
we could sell
the black walnut tree
to the lumberman,
and pay off the mortgage.
Likely some storm anyway
will churn down its dark boughs,
smashing the house.
We talk
slowly,
two women trying
in a difficult time to be wise.
Roots in the cellar drains,
I say, and she replies
that the leaves are getting heavier
every year, and the fruit
harder to gather away.
But something brighter than money
moves in our blood-an edge
sharp and quick as a trowel
that wants us to dig and sow.
So we talk, but we don't do
anything. That night I dream
of my fathers out of Bohemia
filling the blue fields
of fresh and generous Ohio
with leaves and vines and orchards.
What my mother and I both know
is that we'd crawl with shame
in the emptiness we'd made
in our own and our fathers' backyard.
So the black walnut tree
swings through another year
of sun and leaping winds,
of leaves and bounding fruit,
and, month after month, the whip-
crack of the mortgage.
Title
Paraphrase
In this poem, the mother and her daughter are deciding whether or not they want to cut down their walnut tree. They then decide to wait to cut it down because in a dream, they are reminded of their family members from the past and the connection they had to nature.
Figurative Language
One example of figurative language in this poem is, "Likely some storm anyway will churn down its dark boughs, smashing the house." This could represent the hardships and struggles in the family's life. Another example is "sharp and quick as a trowel." This simile represents the existence of the acute strength of the emotion attached to the tree. A third example is, "Filling the blue fields of fresh and generous Ohio with leaves and vines and orchards." This shows the history of the family and why they would be attached to this tree. The last example of figurative language is, "So the black walnut tree swings through another year of sun and leaping winds, of leaves and bounding fruit." This shows that they were persistent and that they made the right choice.
Attitude
The attitude of this poem is proud. We chose two quotes from the poem to show the attitude, "My mother and I debate we could sell." This shows they are putting effort and thought into a big decision. Another quote is, " Two women trying in a difficult time to be wise." This one shows that in a time of difficulty they are are trying to work it out. Both of these quotes from the poem show the author's tone in that they are proud of the characters trying to make a difficult decision. The author understands that it is a very difficult decision and they applaud them for working to pick the right choice.
Shift
The shift in this poem occurs when she talks about her dream. This is the shift in the poem because before this point they can't decide what they want to do, but after this point she makes her decision that she wants to keep the tree.
Title
The title represents the decision they need to make about the walnut tree. It shows the connection between the past family and present family.
Theme
-
The theme of this poem is that family is important and should be first. You must also put thought in your actions. We know this because after lot of thought they choose to save the tree because their family history connected them to the tree.
Full transcript