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A Fence by Carl Sandburg

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Victoria Daly

on 25 April 2014

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Transcript of A Fence by Carl Sandburg

A Fence by Carl Sandburg
A FENCE
Now the stone house on the lake front is finished and the
workmen are beginning the fence.

The palings are made of iron bars with steel points that
can stab the life out of any man who falls on them.

As a fence, it is a masterpiece, and will shut off the rabble
and all vagabonds and hungry men and all wandering
children looking for a place to play.

Passing through the bars and over the steel points will go
nothing except Death and the Rain and To-morrow.


Interpretation
This poem is talking about how sometimes the rich sometimes separate themselves from the rest of society, to "stay away from the bad things" but in the end you cant prevent the inevitable.
Overall theme
The theme in this poem is if you separate yourself from everything in life just to get away from the bad things, you can miss out on the good things too.
By: Victoria Daly && Trey Porter
The first passage in this poem says, "Now the stone house on the lake front is finished and the workmen are beginning the fence."
This passage is saying that when you have money you sometimes start to begin to believe that you're better than everybody else.
"The palings are made of iron bars with steel points that can stab the life out of any man who falls on them."

This section of the poem is indicating that the person that lives in this house is making it his own prison by keeping people out.
"As a fence, it is a masterpiece, and will shut off the rabble and all vagabonds and hungry men and all wandering children looking for a place to play."
This passage is talking about when you shut the world out to stay away from bad things that you also prevent the good things from happening. When he is listing the things that the fence will "shut off" it starts with bad things like rabble and vagabonds. He goes on to say it will also shut out hungry men, which he should feel sympathy for. By the end of the passage he says "and all wandering children looking for a place to play" which is an example of the good things he is missing out on.
"Passing through the bars and over the steel points will go nothing except Death and the Rain and To-morrow."
This part of the poem is saying that if you try to keep bad things out, it will work most of the time, but somethings you cant escape from. You can't escape death or sadness, and time will still go on.
In this poem, Sandburg uses repetition to emphasize the overall meaning of the poem. In the last two stanzas he uses lists. In the last one he says "Passing through the bars and over the steel points will go nothing except Death and the Rain and To-morrow." listing all those things that the fence won't protect him from emphasize the main idea of the poem.
One poetic element he uses in the idea of symbolism. The fence symbolizes itself and the fact that he is keeping things out of his life.
Another poetic element he uses is irony. In the poem the whole reason the people put up the fence is to make their life better, but it actually ends up making their life worse.
Sandburg also uses the idea of imagery when he says "The palings are made of iron bars with steel points that can stab the life out of any man who falls on them." That passage is describing what the fence looks like. He says this so the reader understands how strong the fence was, and how hard they were trying to keep people out.
Full transcript