Monday, October 1, 2007

Red Shift Model Paper Example 3

I definitely wanted some elaboration in this essay, but this writer was particularly successful in explaining how Berrigan achieves meaning through language--and in this case, often though speed and rhythm. (By the way, these are very subtle things that writers do to affect the mood and tone of literature. Think about how Camus slows down or speeds up certain sections of The Stranger and what effect this creates.) I think the addition of the significance of the word "arabesques" to the thesis of this paper is essential and would allowed for more connections, depth, and layers, as well as added to the sense of rhythm and contrapuntal nature of the poem.

Benwit Period 6

People oftentimes find themselves with a yearning to escape from the harsh realities of the world. Those filled with regret of the past and discontent with modern times desire to escape from the real world and its pressures, much like the speaker in Ted Berrigan’s “Red Shift.” Berrigan’s use of dreamlike, surreal diction, along with the seemingly staccato verses conveys the image of the speaker’s hectic thoughts and ultimately his inner calmness.

The beginning of the poem has a defined sense of time with the speaker stating that it is 8:08 p.m. It is February and the “air is biting” out in “winter streetscape,” establishing a realistic setting and providing a chilling mood through the common association of winter and depression. After he “leans/ In,” possibly into trancelike state, he still constantly describes his real world surroundings despite detaching himself from the real world. It is clearly stated that he is in Long Island and that he is 43 years of age. By creating a realistic sense of setting, the speaker’s slip into nostalgia and deep thought is further enhanced because of the vivid contrast between the two. The reader realizes that the speaker is not the ominous character that he states he is but he is actually a normal human being.

The speaker reminisces on his unfading memories from nearly twenty years ago and now clearly recalls them with a scornful tone. Although he mentions “love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage-/ ethics, a politics of grace,” all of which seem to be joys of life, they are “up in the air, swirling, burning even still, now/ more than ever before,” suggesting to the reader that even such pleasures in life are in disarray in his mind. The rhythm of the verses get lengthier as the poem continues and the breaks get less abrupt. Berrigan uses images to describe the speaker’s influences and emotions such as burning and disappearing into air to give him an angrier tone as if to resent his past. The speaker intensely and passionately rushes through his past experiences throughout the poem’s extended verses. By the end of the poem, he gains a bizarre burst of self-confidence stating that he “will never die, [he] will live/ To be 110” and that he is “only pronouns, & [he is] all of them.” Berrigan possibly implies that the stress of depressing winter nights and bitter memories of what the speaker once was drives him to the brink of dillusion, to the point where he believes that the “world’s furious song flows through his costume.” The speaker plainly shows his view on the world, that it is furious and unrelenting. The reader can also infer that, in the speaker’s mind, he is unhindered by reality and his mental world is the only place where he can obtain his much desired peace of mind.

The speaker is in no way considered, by society’s standards, emotionally healthy at first glance. However, through Berrigan’s appropriate word choice, vocabulary, complex imagery, and increasing verse length, the speaker is full of passion and resides as a god of sorts in the safety of his mind.


Feel free to post any constructive comments here, or questions, or observations. Trenchant insights are always welcome but please (always) avoid pithy observations.

12 comments:

Janelle C. 5 said...

I found Benwit's explication of the poem to be extremely in depth. The fact that he examined the word choices, imagery, and length of the veruses shows how much attention to detail he paid. These are things that I never would have thought to look at and it was really interesting and informative to be pulled into that aspect of the poem, and I realized a lot about the poem from this paper.

Emily R 6 said...
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Emily R 6 said...

I believe Benwit’s paper is insightful and my thoughts on the poem are very similar. I think he did a good job on having a lot of evidence to back up his thesis. He efficiently focuses in on Ted Berrigans diction and his literary techniques which is something that I need to work on so I thought that Benwit had a really good example. Overall I thought he had an excellent topic and he had more then enough evidence to really show the tone and rhythm of the poem. He conveys the Berrigan’s emotion and energy throughout the poem accurately with the evidence he gives.

Michael R. 6 said...

Benwit’s language in his essay is simple and defined. This allowed him to make his points quicker and have more meaning. The essay is built on Ted Berrigan’s language and the construction of his poem. Benwit notes that these things have an effect on the tone of the poem and the speaker’s intent. Benwit also talked about the speaker’s use of vocabulary while using some intellectual vocabulary as well.

Laurie M 6 said...

I really enjoyed reading Benwit's paper; he touched on many things that I would have never thought about. He looked at Berrigan's word choice and tone in depth. The flow of his paper is really good as well. Paragraph 2 was my favorite; I enjoyed how he mentioned the time then mentions the transition of him remembering his past. Job well done Benwit!

Angela S5 said...

I enjoyed reading Benwit's paper and felt that through his excellent use of vocabulary he got helped reveal the feeling and meaning of the poem to the reader. Also, I really enjoyed how he integrated his quotations. When reading his quotations they were fit nicely into the sentences and were not choppy. Overall I loved it!!

Quan T 6 said...

I believe Benwit's paper is interesting and insightful. The weakness in my paper was not being able to fit my thesis together. Benwit did an excellent job creating a flow in his thesis. His quotations are integrated well. He provides enough evidence to thoroughly explain his thesis. Overall, Benwit did a great job.

Simon M 6 said...

I can clearly see what Benwit points out about the poem. He his statements and opinions are directly stated throughout the explication. Benwit uses diction to portray the speaker's mood nicely. I liked how I could understand Benwit's ideas without much difficulty.

Jessica S. 6 said...

I enjoyed reading Benwits paper because of how he interpret the poem and used many evidence to explain his thesis. Everything he wroted flowed from one topic to the next. It was a good paper. Good Job Benwit!

Emily L 6 said...

i really liked how he worked in the quotes with his essay so smoothly. i think he proved his point very well because his examples reflect back onto his thesis and i can actually understand his idea the whole time.

Kristin D. 5 said...

I really liked Benwit's essay because his ideas and his choice of words give an originality to his explication. His essay is also rich in vocabulary. He uses a lot of cool adjectives to add more to the essay. great!

Kev.Tran 5. said...

I like Benwit's essay due to the fact it simple and straight to a point, an SAT type of essay. There is smooth transitioning and smooth language. Even his conclusion is short and to the point. Good work by Benwit.