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Shel Silverstein

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by

Ajali Harrison

on 21 November 2013

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Transcript of Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein
A Wonderful Guy- Nobody
"Nobody thinks I'm a wonderful guy," ("Nobody"- line 10)
This man here is Sheldon Allan Silverstein.
Or, more commonly known as Shel Silverstein.
Though he dabbled in many different forms of art, such as cartooning, children's literature, and poetry,
his most well known works are children's poetry books such as:
Silverstein was born in Chicago, Illinois on September 25th, 1930. With his poems, he wished to tell children serious life matters by turning them into silly rhymes and stories. He would create words and characters that would make kids laugh and sometimes un-knowingly learn something in the process.
His road to becoming a well known poet for children wasn't as simple as some of his poems, however. Many publishers refused to publish his work at first because they viewed it as being sad and bleak with undertones of religion and anti-feminism.
Silverstein believed he was allowing children to see the world without the veil of child innocence.
Some of Silverstein's poems include:
"Nobody"

Nobody loves me,
Nobody cares,
Nobody picks me peaches and pears.
Nobody offers me candy and Cokes,
Nobody listens and laughs at my jokes.
Nobody helps when I get in a fight,
Nobody does all my homework at night.
Nobody misses me,
Nobody cries,
Nobody thinks I'm a wonderful guy.
So if you ask me who's my best friend, in a whiz,
I'll stand up and tell you hat NOBODY is.
But yesterday night I got quite a scare,
I woke up and Nobody just wasn't there.
I called out and reached out for Nobody's hand,
In the darkness where Nobody usually stands.
Then I poked through the house, in each cranny and nook,
But I found somebody each place that I looked.
I searched till I'm tired, and now with the dawn,
There's no doubt about it -
Nobody's GONE!

"Pamela Purse"

Pamela Purse yelled, “Ladies first,”
Pushing in front of the ice cream line.
Pamela Purse yelled, “Ladies first,”
Grabbing the ketchup at dinnertime.
Climbing on the morning bus
She’d shove right by all of us
And there’d be a tiff or a fight or a fuss
When Pamela Purse yelled, “Ladies first.”
Pamela Purse screamed, “Ladies first,”
When we went off on our jungle trip.
Pamela Purse said her thirst was worse
And guzzled our water, every sip.
And when we got grabbed by that wild savage band,
Who tied us together and made us all stand
In a long line in front of the King of the land-
A cannibal known as Fry-’Em-Up Dan,
Who sat on his throne in a bib so grand
With a lick of his lips and a fork in his hand,
As he tried to decide who’d be first in the pan-
From back of the line, in that shrill voice of hers,
Pamela Purse yelled, “Ladies first.”
"Whatif"

Last night, while I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear
And pranced and partied all night long
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow taller?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!

"Tryin' On Clothes"

I tried on the farmer's hat,
Didn't fit…
A little too small — just a bit
Too floppy.
Couldn't get used to it,
Took it off.
I tried on the dancer's shoes,
A little too loose.
Not the kind you could use
for walkin'.
Didn't feel right in 'em,
Kicked 'em off.

I tried on the summer sun,
Felt good.
Nice and warm — knew it would.
Tried the grass beneath bare feet,
Felt neat.
Finally, finally felt well dressed,
Nature's clothes fit me best.

The poem I chose to focus on was
"Nobody"
.
Silverstein uses this poem to express the idea that no one is ever truly alone, and also that things are not always as they seem.
He uses things such as word choice and repetition of convey this message (see full essay for more detail).
He died on May 10th, 1999 in Key West, Florida.
Kristina Balazsi believes, in her critical analysis of the poem "Nobody", that it is about sadness and that people leave you if you do not treat them correctly.
Like all poems, there are different interpretations that people get because of how they look at it.
Shel Silverstein was a man who wanted children to read poetry, understand it, and get an idea of what the real world was like in a creative way. I believe he truly accomplished his goal.
Thanks for reading!
A presentation by: Ajali Harrison
Citations:

Kristina Balazsi for critical analysis

"Shel Silverstein." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Oct 26 2013, http://www.biography.com/people/shel-silverstein-9483912.

"Shel Silverstein." Poets.org. Academy of American Poets, 1997. Web. 26 Oct. 2013 http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/104

Full transcript