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Transcript of Selling Manhattan
double entendre evident in "My heart is on the ground" (line 16)
visual imagery of nature of "morning's frost and firefly's flash at night" (line 18-19)
Dutch settler's p.o.v
settler uses derogatory terms like "Injun"(line 1), "red ass''(line 4)
can be seen as making fun of the Indian's way of life
revealing how Dutch Settlers were, lacking respect
different tone and mood as it focuses on nature
personification of ground
"I wonder if the ground has anything to say" (line 5).
Alliteration of "drunk, drowned out"(line 6).
rapid lies alludes to context of colonization
personification of Earth
"The Earth is sore" (line 9).
personifies water (line 10)
apostrophe used by the Indians, directly speaking to the settlers
focuses on music on the last 2 lines
"I sing with true love for the land" (line 13).
"dawn chant" (line 14).
"song of sunset" (line 14).
What is the poem about?
Narrative on the complex issues behind colonization in America
about a deal between an Indian and a Dutch Settler for a piece of land of Manhattan
creates contrasts between the Indian and the Dutch settler's way of life
focuses on emotional response to the settler's lack of respect for nature
Indian begins to question
double meaning of "endless sky"(line 21)
simile of "boy feels his freedom vanish, like the salmon going mysteriously out to sea" (line 23)
this stanza is a single sentence
the most significant line of the poem
symbolism of "grasshopper and buffalo" (line 25)
portrays the Indian's loss of hope
personifies nature "evening trembles"(line 26)
acceptance of loss and destruction of Mother Earth
Utilizing pathetic fallacy, Carol Ann Duffy deconstructs the loss of spiritual identity and freedom of the Indians which results from the colonization of native Indians and Dutch settlers.
All yours, Injun, twenty-four bucks’ worth of glass beads,
gaudy cloth. I got myself a bargain. I brandish
fire-arms and fire-water. Praise the Lord.
Now get your red ass out of here.
I wonder if the ground has anything to say.
You have made me drunk, drowned out
the world’s slow truth with rapid lies.
But today I hear again and plainly see. Wherever
you have touched the earth, the earth is sore.
I wonder if the spirit of the water has anything
to say. That you will poison it. That you
can no more own the rivers and the grass than own
the air. I sing with true love for the land;
dawn chant, the song of sunset, starlight psalm.
Trust your dreams. No good will come of this.
My heart is on the ground, as when my loved one
fell back into my arms and died. I have learned
the solemn laws of joy and sorrow, in the distance
between morning’s frost and firefly’s flash at night
Man who fears death, how many acres do you need
to lengthen your shadow under the endless sky?
Last time, this moment, now, a boy feels his freedom
vanish, like the salmon going mysteriously
out to sea. Loss holds the silence of great stones
I will live in the ghost of grasshopper and buffalo.
The evening trembles and is sad.
A little shadow runs across the grass
and disappears into the darkening pines.