Write a personal essay on a philosophical theme or discuss some fantasy in your life. Base your essay on an idea suggested by one of the following:

  • I used to pretend . . .
  • Kids can come up with some of the craziest ideas.
  • “All of the animals except man, know that the chief business of life is to enjoy it.”
  • “To travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”
  • When I have kids, I’m going to teach them . . .

Using “The Carpenter” as a model, create a fantasy of your own and write about it in prose or poetry.

How has the poet’s idea of what is important in life changed since her children were small? Explain both philosophies in your own words.

In “Lament” Webb says that everything is wrong in life. In “Sitting” she recommends withdrawal from life as the only way of coping with an “extraordinary world.” In view of this philosophy, what is it that leads her, in “Poetics Against the Angel of Death,” to “run ragged to elude” death?

  1. Both of these poems suggest the longing of the individual for escape from the realities of life. Why is the trade of the carpenter appropriate for the thought of the poem?
  2. “The Bird” is a poem about the necessity for freedom. According to Lane, how does the poet free himself from the realities of life?
  1. What comparison does the opening stanza suggest? Why is it appropriate?
  2. What is the bell that rings in stanza four? Whose voice “draws the pencils”?
  3. Where are the stenographers in the seventh stanza? What are they doing? Note how the poem carries them through the day.
  4. In what sense are the stenographers like marathon runners racing around a stadium track?
  5. In your own words explain what the poet is suggesting about the life of a stenographer.
  1. What does the pool represent in “The Pool”? How does the reference to the pool in “In It” clarify the meaning of the first poem? Notice that the boy in the poem is a part of the thing he gazes on, but the man is a thing apart from the pool and sees it from the outside. What does this suggest about the way our attitude to life changes as our understanding develops?
  2. How does the meaning of “world” in “In It” differ from the meaning of “earth” in “O Earth, Turn!”? Is there any contradiction in the poems? Do all three poems suggest the same philosophy of life?
  1. What does the bird represent in this poem?
  2. What happens to the poet when the bird flies away?
  1. What is the meaning of the term “bushed”? What happens to the man in the shack?
  2. Notice how the mountains changes character and becomes more and more personified, and how the sights and sounds of the woods take on terrifying significance as the poem progresses. Experienced trappers say that you should never approach a trapper’s cabin, even the cabin of a friend, without first calling from the shelter of the woods and making your presence known. Can you suggest a reason for this?

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