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The Wisdom of Shelley
Transcript of The Wisdom of Shelley
George Elliott Clarke
"You come down, after
five winters, X"
Winter implies cold, bitter, and lonely.
Instead of saying "You come down, after five years", saying "You come down, after five winters" sets the unforgiving tone.
"brazen as brass."
The father comes home bold and without shame.
"Like a late blizzard,
You bust in our door"
Blizzards are unwelcome. The father is being compared by a simile to a blizzard because he is unwanted in the house.
"litterin' the table
The stories the father is telling the family are false garbage, and the narrator doesn't trust a word he says.
"and I saw his fist
fall so gracefully
against her cheek"
The father's fist portrays the abusive relationship between the narrator's father and mother.
The recurring symbol in "The Wisdom of Shelley" is a rose.
At the start of the poem, the father comes in "bristlin' with roses". Roses are beautiful and perfect at first glance. By the end of the poem the narrator explains "Roses/got thorns./And words/do lie." You must watch out for roses, they are nice at first, but they hurt you in the end.
This can also be figurative imagery, the father's fist representing how the father hurt or broke the family.