The Winter's ChillIn the poem The Hunter In The Snow by William Carlos Williams, the speaker analyzes the painting Hunters In the Snow by Pieter Brueghel, and finds the main idea to be a struggling of social class during the period in which this takes place and the coldness of it all. This idea is apparent through the references the speaker makes to the wintry, cold landscape, the foreground “pack” of lower class hunters he describes, the middle class “pattern” of skaters, and the “winter-struck bush” seen in the foreground, symbolizing a twisted mess of things caused by the coldness of humanity. The speaker first states that “The over-all picture is winter/icy mountains/in the background” (1-3). This is an observation of the landscape of this painting, which in its coldness seems to symbolize the human condition of chilled attitudes toward each other. His mention of the “hunt it is toward evening/from the left/sturdy hunters lead in/ their pack”(4-7) sets the mood of the poem, saying that it is now evening, bringing out a darker side to the tone of the poem and the painting. It also brings attention to the lower class hunters coming home from a long day of hunting. Seeing as they are the first beings mentioned in the poem and one of the first figures to attract the eye in the painting, they are the main focus. The speaker’s next intention is to bring attention to “the inn-sign/hanging from a/broken hinge is a stag a crucifix/between his antlers the cold/inn yard is/deserted but for a huge bonfire/ that flares wind-driven tended by/women who cluster/about it”(7-15). These lines set the scene of the lower class women warming around a fire in a deserted inn-yard. The word “deserted” seems to apply to the desertion of the middle-upper class people of the painting/poem. The speaker sees a crucifix hanging above them from the broken inn-sign, seemingly implying their virtue and their inner superiority over the rich “pattern of skaters/”(16). The contrast between the “pattern” of these people and the “pack” of hunters is important because a pattern is basically a set arrangement of designs, many times for purposes of neatness and pretty arrangements, while a pack evokes pictures of closeness and animalistic intentions. Perhaps the speaker is trying to imply that the poor are looked down upon as a group of animals at the time of this painting, while the rich are perfect and beautiful people. Lastly, the painter mentions how “Brueghel the painter/concerned with it all has chosen/ a winter-struck bush for his/foreground to/complete the picture//” (17-21). The speaker is telling us to look at the importance of this bush that is in the foreground of the picture, which is dead center and large, and one of the first things your eye is drawn to. This bush symbolizes the twisted view that humanity placed on social classes, and the coldness of humanity that made this society so gnarled. In conclusion, the people portrayed on the canvas and in the poem place way too much importance on this issue of classes that it divides them, and their ideas of inhumane coldness towards one another turn into a tangled mess. Many innocent people are looked down upon as animalistic because they haven’t any money, even though their virtue might be greater than those beautiful people with a superfluous amount of money.
The Depiction of Two Lifestyles In the poem The Hunters in the Snow, by William Carlos Williams, the author conveys a setting of two different lifestyles in his analyzing of Pieter Brueghel’s painting Hunters in the Snow. The speaker provides the audience a view of two clashing social classes, the peasants or workers and the rich. This idea is evident when the author mentions the bush in the foreground, the setting of the painting, and the use of words like “pattern” and “pack” to display the two lifestyles of social classes. The poem starts out by stating the setting, as “the over-all picture is winter/icy mountains/in the background”(1-3). This quote depicts the landscape of Brueghel’s painting. Just like all of the other paintings by Brueghel, this one too displays nature and the life of hardworking people. The hardworking people in this case are the hunters and the women in the foreground next to the fire. Williams refers to the lower class as a “pack” meaning a group of people sticking together. Also in the painting is a “pack” of wild dogs. So Williams relates the pack of people to the pack of animals. In truth both are similar in the way they work and fight to live. Peasants work hard to achieve greatness and are faced with many obstacles. Lower class men strive to achieve to have what upper class men posses. Like people, animals fight for lives as well. They fight to live. The people in the foreground attract the viewer more than what is in the background because the people are depicted as large and also are painted in dark colors. The other lifestyle or class shown is the upper or middle class. The author writes, “the hill is a pattern of skaters”(16). In the painting the skaters are far in the background. They symbolize freedom and the thought of never having any hardships to face. The skaters are enjoying the winter scenery while the peasants see the season as another obstacle in their will to survive. Williams in his writing refers to the rich, as a “pattern”. A pattern is most likely anything fashioned or designed to be guide for something made. The skaters are all on the ice symbolizing an arrangement of these people to the pack on the hill. Both groups are together but in different parts of the painting. Finally Williams also sees a sense of division between these two groups of people in the painting. He writes, “Brueghel the painter/concerned with it all has chosen//a winter-struck bush for his foreground”(18-20). These bushes that are placed purposely by Brueghel, symbolizes the division of the two groups or lifestyles depicted in the painting. Williams mentions in the poem that the bushes are put in to complete the picture to emphasize Brueghel’s separation of the two lifestyles or social classes. Brueghel purposely places the bush right in the middle of the painting, between where the hill ends and the field or ice begins. The use of black to represent theses buses also provides Williams with the incentive of separation. In conclusion Williams explication of the painting provides the audience with a sense power and differences between two very diverse social classes. Williams writing shows this diversity by pointing out the most mundane and miniscule object in the painting. Also the author’s use of words to describe the social classes is symbolized in Brueghel’s painting as well. This poem is one of many where Williams explicates Brueghel”s paintings and each poem or painting Williams sees as a portrait of Brueghel’s thoughts and images.
THE FIERCE WINTERIn the poem “The Hunters in the Snow”, the poet William Carlos Williams suggest that winter has taken a toll on human beings creating a struggle between man and their faith in religion. The scene created by the painter Brueghel shows the struggle during a fierce winter day, which is emphasized by the poet. Williams brings this struggle to life through a selective use of descriptive language. Williams chooses to start the poem off by describing the setting as “winter/ icy mountains”(1-2). This shows how the weather is cold and that the winter is at its peak through the icy mountains. The icy mountains indicate that it has been a long hard winter because ice is not formulated over night. He goes on to describe the hunters who are “sturdy”(6) and arrive back in a “pack”(7). The hunters are depicted as strong and hard working as they come back in the “evening”(4) showing that they have been out all day. The poet shows how human beings are rising against nature, as they don’t let the fierce winter stand in the way of their daily lives. Their perseverance shows that man is winning in the fight against nature.Even though the human beings are succeeding against the fierce winter man made objects have not been speared. The sign hanging from the inn “is a stag a crucifix”(9) is only holding on by a hinge. The “crucifix” is a symbol of Jesus, which is “stag” indicating that even though these men are fighting hard against nature’s toughest winter they are also separating from Jesus. Jesus is their only savor from this winter and the almost broken sign indicates that his presence in the peoples lives are lacking. The poet describes the inn yard as “deserted but for a huge bonfire”(12). The “deserted” is Jesus who the men have partially deserted. The “bonfire” is Jesus’ way of bringing himself back into their lives by showing them his warmth and comfort through the fire. The “women who cluster”(14) are the prayers who have not left Jesus side. They are the “hinge”(9) that has not broken; they are the faithful that keep the town safe because they haven’t stopped believing in the savor. As these men struggle through the winter, Brueghels painting shows a brighter side through the “skaters”(16). Williams shifts his poem to the “pattern of skaters”(16). The poet goes from deep religious meaning to the enjoyment of winter. Williams is showing human beings desire to enjoy life. With Jesus’ presence on the hill above them, they feel safe to go out in the dangerous “icy mountains”(2) and have fun. The next shift in the poem is a shift back to the depressing forms of winter. A depiction of “a winter-struck bush” indicates that although some are having fun winters presence is still bearing down upon them. The “bush”(19) is like the people are still alive but barely making it through the winter. The “bush” like the hunters is looking for a way out of the lonely winter. Williams shows how Jesus’ presence in the life of people is simplistic but important. He represents the struggle between men keeping their faith through the hardest of times. He shows that if you keep your faith like the “women” god’s presence will guide you through the tough times.
The Fight of LonelinessIn the poem The Hunters in the Snow, Williams starts off by talking about the scenery and saying how it is winter. Winter most of the time symbolizes death or isolation. In this poem there are many moments were it seems as if the people are isolated or sometime even trying to get away from isolation. Williams starts the poem by saying, “is winter/ icy mountains” (1-2), this shows that this place was very cold and everything was death because of the fact that there is not that much movement going on. Then the poet turns to the hunters, which he refers to as a “pack” (7), this shows that there is a group of hunters, which are walking and somewhat disturbing that death atmosphere. This also shows the human vs. nature aspect of it, the hunters are going about their day not even being bothered by the winter cold. The coldness is not affecting their everyday lives, it seems as if they have cooped with it. The hunters being in a pack shows that they are fighting the loneliness by being together in this cold. Williams goes on to say, “ deserted but for a huge bonfire” (12), bonfires are usually symbolic of warmth and people being together, so in this poem it is very ironic how everything is the total opposite of warmth. The thought of being together when it is very cold seems to be everywhere in this poem. After talking about the bonfire, Williams turns our attention to the things that are going on saying, “women who cluster” (14), this indicates that these women are sticking together trying to fight this cold or this loneliness that they are having. Also the poet goes on and says, “a pattern of skaters”(16) this also shows that the people are trying to do anything possible to stay together and by staying together they can fight the cold winter that they are having. Williams goes on to write, “a winter-struck bush/foreground to//complete the picture” (19-21), Williams putting this at the end of this poem was very symbolic due to the fact that winter is the point of complete seasonal rotation. Once winter comes again it is finally complete. Also as the winter comes and becomes cold it completes the picture of how people could be together.Therefore Williams shows the readers that even if it is cold or winter that there is always a way to fight loneliness and that at times like this is where we need company the most. Winter being symbolic of loneliness and death, this picture is the total opposite. People are together and things may not be alive but the people are alive and living there lives as normal as possible. The fact that it is winter doesn’t even seem to faze them as they do the things they want to.
Shaun N10/14/07Period 5 A Hunter’s Society “The Hunter in the Snow,” by William Carlos Williams, is attune to the harsh winter society depicted by Pieter Brueghel in his painting of the same title. “Icy//broken//deserted” (Lines 2, 9, 12) are just three of the adjectives that appear throughout the poem describing, if not in concept at least in vibe, a civilization that relies heavily on its hunters. The first stanza opens the poem appropriately enough stating, “The over-all picture is winter.” (Line 1) The word “winter” translates to most as cold or sad, or even just a harsh reality. Therefore, with winter as the “over-all” image, the painting in question becomes frigid and dark in essence. Acting as a finishing touch, Williams adds “icy mountains/in the background” (Stanza 2-3) and further delves into an accurate portrayal of the scene in the painting. He finishes the first stanza by allowing the poem to proceed safely to the next topic, the actual premise of the painting, writing “in the background the return.” (Line 3) “The Hunter in the Snow” begins to take form to its title with “from the hunt it is toward evening.” (Line 4) Hunters lead “their pack in//from the left” (Lines 7, 5) and it is clear from the first stanza that their return has been anticipated somewhere. Williams goes immediately from this image to a sign above an inn, where a crucifix is drawn above a stag, and below there is a “huge bonfire//that flares.” (Line 12-13) It seems rather obvious that Williams is observing things in this order on purpose. The man-made fire below the crucifix is something of a spectacle to him, creating the overall image of wretchedness. The only sign of relief is when Williams describes the hill being, “a pattern of skaters.” (Line 16) It is unclear why Williams chooses to move into the skaters after the hunters, crucifix, and fire. He ends the poem describing a single bush.
Harmony with Nature The relationship between humans and nature is a teetering one in which the two forces are constantly shifting. However, William Carlos William’s poem, “The Hunters in the Snow,” suggests a beneficial coexistence between the two. The speaker of the poem depicts a scene based on Pieter Bruegel’s painting which shares the same title, a scene in which people are able to survive in the deathly winter through hunting, yet they still are about to enjoy themselves through skating. Williams’ use of symbolism and diction, along with his lack of punctuation and use of three line stanzas, leave the poem open to interpretation but leaves a feeling of harmony. The setting is in the mountains during winter. Winter has negative connotations such as death and isolation. However, the speaker describes the people in the scene in a calm, composed tone. The hunters are described as “[leading] in// their pack,” (6-7) creating a sense of unity and trust between them, despite their harsh surroundings. By hunting the stag, the hunters are attempting to survive the cruel winter environment and contribute to maintaining the cycle of life. However, the relationship between human and nature is not always a struggle. The “huge bonfire” (12) is symbolic of rebirth, the beginning of life, and willpower. Here, Williams’ three line stanzas group his descriptions together and, without punctuation, the way the readers examine the lines can result in interesting outcomes. For example, if the fourth stanza is read with a comma in it, the reader can interpret the situation in a way that the fire “flares wind-driven” (13) and is “tended by/ women who cluster/ about it.” The flare can survive on its own due to the natures wind. However, the women receive its warmth and, in return, care for the bonfire, as suggested by the word tend, adding to the fire’s longevity. Williams also depicts a “pattern of skaters” (16) beyond the hill, describing many people in a mosaic, natural manner, as if they belong in nature and can live with it. The “winter struck bush for [Bruegel’s]/ foreground” (19-20) indicated that the nature that the people reside him is the same nature that is able to take away life from that bush. At first glance, the reader might assume that Williams’ poem shows the classic struggle between helpless humans and almighty nature. Instead, Williams implies through the second half of his poem that humans and nature exist in a symbiotic relationship, one in which both sides are beneficial to one another.
Survival of the Fittest William Carlos WIlliams wrote a series of poems that correspond to the works of Pieter Brueghel. "The Hunters in the Snow" is among those poems. His poem, "The Hunters in the Snow" describes what is going on in Brueghel's painting which are the effects winter has on living things. The effects include the need for food, the need for shelter, and the division that seperates men and women. Williams' purpose is to portray these effects. He does so by using what the men and women are doing in the painting. Also, by comparing different things with eachother, such as the different things shown in the painting , the plants and animals, and even the humans themselves. He creates meaning through the poem by portraying the effects of winter on life and showing the reader that one's environment and resources are crucial when it comes to survival. Williams begins the poem by describing the setting of the painting. "The overall picture is winter/icy mountains/in the background"(1-3). Williams gives the reader a visual. Clearly, he wants the reader to see what he sees. He goes into the human behaviors during wintertime. Most humans, like animals, would hunt to have a surplus of resources and necessities. Without going into detail, he describes the actions of humans adapting and surviving during the winter. "The return//from the hunt it is toward evening/from the left/sturdy hunters lead in/their pack"(3-7). Williams shows the reader that winter has a particular efffect on life. This effect is winter making everything more difficult to obtain, especially food and shelter. It causes living things to seek out shelter, food and other means of survival. They somehow become desperate to survive. For them, winter is a difficult living experience. Also, by describing the hunters as "sturdy" Williams establishes that winter is where the idea of "survival of the fittest" comes into play. The "sturdy" humans go out and hunt during the cold winter days, while the weaker ones can't bear the harsh winter conditions. Williams continues to protray winter's effect on everything by making a point of an inn-sign. "The inn-sign/hanging from a/broken hinge is a stag a crucifix//between his antlers"(7-10). Williams writes that an inn-sign can barely survive during the winter. The sequence of Williams' writing is also revealing another purpose of the author's. The fact that he wrote about the broken hinge on the inn-sign after he mentioned the sturdy hunters means that Williams wants the reader to see that humans are stronger and more adaptable to their environments than anything else. He wants to show the potential of humans and the progress they have made and will make. The progress they have made is what Williams has seen them make already from the time of the painting to the time of the poem, and the progress they will make is what Williams believes is in store for the human race. Williams continues describing the painting. "the cold/inn yard is/deserted but for a huge bonfire//that flares wind-driven"(10-13). In these lines, he portrays even further the effect winter has on life. The inn yard is deserted but, even with all the hopelessness in the world, there is still a bonfire among the humans. They may be living in the worst conditions and living the most difficult lives, but somehow find ways to instill hope into one another and especially to survive. Not only does Williams portray the effect winter has on life in this poem, but he also briefly compares the effects it has on women and men. "tended by/ the women who cluster/about it"(13-15). He makes it so that both the men and women stay within their genders. The women "cluster"(14) together and the men "lead in//their pack"(6-7) together. However, the major difference between men and womens' behavior during harsh winter times is that men hunt and search for things that are necessary risking their lives and being exposed to the worst of the cold while women huddle together around a huge fire and try to stay as warm and safe as possible. Clearly, the human race as a whole considers the women more fragile and delicate and the men more powerful and brave, so as to keep the women safer than the men. They realize that the women are the reason future generations will exist. Williams sees this division of the sexes and plays on it by describing both what the women and men are doing in the painting. Next, Williams mentions a farther away scene from the men and women survivng winter. He puts on display for the reader those who are enjoying the winter season. "to the right beyond//the hill is a pattern of skaters"(15-16). Among all the survival and ways to stay safe and sound during the winter, humasn tend to lose sight of the natural beauty of winter. Williams shows that even though many worry about surviving the winter, there are some people who enjoy it as much as others dread it. "Brueghel the painter/concerned with it all has chosen//a winter-struck bush for his foreground to complete the picture"(17-21). Williams ends the poem with mentioning the artist of the painting he is seeing and writing about. He almost assumes the thoughts Brueghel was thinking at the time of the painting. Lastly, Williams uses a bush as his last example of portraying the effects winter has on life. The bush is "winter-struck"(19), meaning that it has rapidly last life due to the winter. The bush cannot survive like the men and women in the painting. The author's purpose is to portray the effects winter has on life. However, he expresses other, more specific ideas. He goes into comparing women and men during the winter and also plants and non-living things. His general purpose was the original one but, his mentioning other things in the poem suggests that he also wanted to get other things across to the reader. Overall, the poem was written in such a way that the meaning was expressed and revealed through certain comparisons made, sequence of presenting images seen, and also by the adjectives used to describe the men, women, plants and inn-signs.
Chris OWilliam has a form of writing that sets a tone, which makes a person think of what the painter view of what modernism is how people are slowly forgetting about religion something that is very common in the paintings that Brueghel had painted. The idea of how the people are just getting into the renaissance and how people use to live in the time where it was dark and cold and there seem no hope was there and the speaker is emphasizing the idea of how human and nature are both struggling and they must be dependent on one another to survive at any cost. The renaissance was not all about the struggle it was also living with nature and being able to use it as a way to play or a way to have fun and not have a worry or care. The speaker is choosing to describe the setting and the poem is being written as winter icy mountains in the background …(1-3) it is interesting that speaker starts the poem describing the winter setting because winter can be associated with struggles or someone’s death and the picture can be showing the struggles between nature and humans because the in the foreground of the picture one can see the hunters who are traveling from a long and difficult journey and they have nothing to show and when the winter comes around people who are hunters have a difficult time hunting because most of the animals are either in hibernation or are very well blended in with their surroundings. When the speaker says “… the sturdy hunters lead in their pack the inn-sign hanging from a broken hinge is a stag a crucifix …the cold inn yard is deserted but for a huge bonfire… (9-11,13-14) The Speaker is showing how hard its not just been for the people there but the businesses have had it hard through out the years. When the speakers says describes the hanging crucifix religion has shown through time that a crucifix is a symbol of something is dead or is dieing. A crucifix can also be described as a way of hope for something better in the future. The picture seems to show that the women are the only things that are keeping the tavern to have a purpose because the women could possibly use the wood from the tavern as a way to keep themselves warm. The speaker also demonstrates how nature and people are working not just showing the struggle to have heat or just trying to stay alive. The women also are using the tavern as a way of hope for heat and to keep warm. The painter has also shown that nature and humans are working with each other. “…About it to the right beyond the hill is a pattern of skaters …” (18-19) Demonstrating that even though the people in the foreground seem to be struggling to survive and are using nature as a form to survive, the skaters are using nature as a form of entertainment. It is also showing the fact the painter was not showing the negatives of nature and the wintertime. The speaker last speaks of the decision that the painter decided to do to finish the painting “ a winter-struck bush for his foreground to complete the picture” (22-24) It is demonstrating the idea the mood that painter was trying to create but also showing his idea that the painter was trying to show the foreground as a form of struggle and the things are struggling to survive. Such as the bush that has been struck by winter because in the winter a bush struggles to survive and seems to be dead like most things in the foreground. The painter and the speaker seem to show that humans and nature can both live together and be able to depend on one another but at the same time they both can struggle and the only way that both will be able to survive is to use each other and work together.
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