Wednesday, October 3, 2007

RA 10/3/07

Meggie Girardi
Reading Analysis 3

“My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning and “The Cask of Amontillado” by Edger Allen Poe both revolve around the themes of death and the way in which trust between characters is broken. “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby and “America” by Tony Hoagland focus on the misguidance of American society and the money focused direction it is headed.

The poem “My Last Duchess” by Robert Browning focuses on the theme of vengeance and deceit. The duchess in the poem was once married to the Duke but because of her unfaithfulness and disrespectful behavior was killed. The Duke was displeased by his wife not honoring, “my gift of a nine-hundred-years-old-name with anybody’s gift (line 33).”

“The Cask of Amontillado” by Edger Allen Poe also relates to the theme of revenge and deception. Montresor decided to secretly kill his acquaintance Fortunato in order to bypass law and receive instant retribution. The trickery used by Poe in the short story deals with jealousy and hatred at their extremes. The high level of competition between Montresor and Fortunate is a distinct measure of how the truth can be overshadowed by peoples ambitions and goals of getting even with one another.

In “Ode to American English” by Barbara Hamby the main theme of the poem is that America is disorganized and tasteless society. An ode is a poem that often expresses lofty emotions in a dignified style. Odes are also usually characterized by a serious topic. In “Ode to American English” the speaker is talking about the serious topic American’s corrupt and crude language. The speaker’s tone of the poem is sarcastic and condescending to what American life is all about. The diction and syntax the speaker uses is almost mocking in a sarcastic way all the “greatness” in American reality. In line 8 “With their elegant Oxfordian accents, how could they understand my yearning for the hotrod, hotdog, hot flesh vocabulary of the U.S. of A…” the speaker is directly making fun of the American language and materialistic culture.

In “America” by Tony Hoagland the main theme of the poem is that materialistic objects and money at a young age cloud the view of the future. The speaker who is identifiable as a teacher and maybe the author himself, shares his feelings about his students. These students represent the concerns and values of America’s youth, who will one day be the future of money-oriented America. The tone of the poem is fierce, harsh but honest. Money is fueling society and blocking the minds of his students. Students don’t feel the need to step outside the walls of “ RadioShacks and Burger Kings, and MTV episodes, where you can’t tell the show from the commercials…(line 3)” Money can buy things; things that are not needed nor beneficial to society. Hoagland addresses how money in America on the surface seems to buy happiness but deep down money make a person oblivious to the realities of life.

In “Ode to America English” the speaker is in a different setting than the speaker in “America.” In “Ode to America English” the speaker is in Paris, removed from America, but reminiscing of line 35, “Tarzan cry of Johnny Weismueller, Johnny Cash, Johnny B. Goode, and all the smart-talking, gum snapping hard girl dialogue…” just to name one aspect of life in America. Both the “Ode to American English” and “America” characterizes America in a negative light. The traditions of America are presented as fast pace, believing in no values or moral systems, and mainly focusing on the self centered ideals of society.

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