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Copy of "Auto Wreck" Poem Analysis

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Tan Chayapol

on 13 May 2014

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Transcript of Copy of "Auto Wreck" Poem Analysis

The doors leap open, emptying light;
Stretchers are laid out, the mangled lifted
And stowed into the little hospital.
Then the bell, breaking the hush, tolls once,
And the ambulance with its terrible cargo
Rocking, slightly rocking, moves away,
As the doors, an afterthought, are closed.
We are deranged, walking among the cops
Who sweep glass and are large and composed.
One is still making notes under the light.
One with a bucket douches ponds of blood
Into the street and gutter.
One hangs lanterns on the wrecks that cling,
Empty husks of locusts, to iron poles.
"Auto Wreck"
by Karl Shapiro

Its quick soft silver bell beating, beating
And down the dark one ruby flare
Pulsing out red light like an artery,
The ambulance at top speed floating down
Past beacons and illuminated clocks
Wings in a heavy curve, dips down,
And brakes speed, entering the crowd.
Already old, the question. Who shall die?
Becomes unspoken Who is innocent?
For death in war is done by hands;
Suicide has cause and stillbirth, logic;
And cancer, simple as a flower, blooms.
But this invites the occult mind,
Cancels our physics with a sneer,
And spatters all we knew of denouement.
Across the expedient and wicked stones.

Our throats were tight as tourniquets,
Our feet were bound with splints, but now,
Like convalescents intimate and gauche,
We speak through sickly smiles and warn
With the stubborn saw of common sense,
The grim joke and the banal resolution.
The traffic moves around with care,
But we remain, touching a wound
That opens to our richest horror.

1.Title: Auto Wreck

2.Author: Shapiro

3.Point of View: First Person Plural "we"

4.Speaker: Bystander watching the accident

5. Situation: A car crash has caused deaths and others who are injured. Bystanders watch.
Analysis Questions
1. What is the title?

2.Who is the author?

3. Which point of view is it written in?

4. Who is the speaker?

5. What is the situation?
What is the poem´s Setting?
Context Clues:
"walking among cops", "sweep glass", "bucket douches pond of blood into the street", and "auto wreck"
What are the conflicts?
Context Clues:
"But we remain,touching a wound/ That opens to our richest horror/Who shall die?"
"soft silver bell beating, beating...pulsing out red light like an artery"
"one with a bucket douches ponds of blood"
"Empty husks of locusts"
"wings in a heavy curve"
What are the sound devices used?
soft, silver
bell beating
bell breaking
sickly smiles
stubborn saw
Beating, beating

Rocking, rocking
Our throats were tight as tourniquets,
our feet were bound with splints, but now
like convalescents intimate and gauche
What is the tone?
"artery", "mangled","terrible cargo", "deranged", "ponds of blood", "tourniquets", "splints", "sickly smiles","wound", "horror"
Morbid and depresssing
due to the negative connotations of the words
What is the significance of the title?
The title of "Auto Wreck" makes it evident that the poem is about a fatal accident or destruction
What is the Poet's Purpose?
The author conveys the unpredicatbility of death. Death defies logic and that is why it is a constant presence among us.
The injured people from a fatal car accident are taken by the ambulance. Bystanders watch how the cops take notes and take the dead bodies away. Bystanders watch in horror and question the randomeness of death
A street where there has been a car crash
The second and third stanzas explore the emotions felt after a crash. The speaker is questoning the randomness and illogical nature of death by contrasting the crash with other forms of death (like cancer, war, suicide) that are more understandable.
The alliteration of "b" and "s" sounds create a steady driving movement. The poet is trying to immerse the reader into a melodious rythm, so the readers become the bystanders and are unable to distance themselves from the gripping accident. Furthermore, the onomatopoeia of "beating" gives the poem the effect of a heart beating, thereby reminding the reader of the vulnerable nature of human life.
Effect of Imagery
The first line of the poem introduces readers to the siren of an ambulance and compares it to a heart "beating, beating." The image is reinforced when the red light is described as "an artery". These provocative images convey the struggle for life. The victims of the death crash are clinging on to their lives waiting desperately for the ambulace to arrive and rescue them. The ambulace is described as an angelic figure that will save the lives of those who are on the verge of dying. Still further along the poem the auto wreck and lamp posts are compared to empty husks of locusts, thereby presenting the image of something that was alive but no longer has a purpose. This powerful imagery reinforces the tone of sorrow and horror.

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