Monday, October 1, 2007

Red Shift Model Paper Example 4

As we discussed in class, this paper did a a particularly good job at developing a philosophical thesis. The only problem with it was the logical assertion that "though reminiscence, immortality is born." In order for the logic to hold, the writer of this essay should have promoted the theory that writing leads to immortality, since this would have been a much more relevant thesis for what Berrigan and the speaker were doing within the poem. Also, if the scientific angle were pursued in the thesis, then the idea of immortality would have been even more compelling and the images in the second body paragraph would have had extra relevance. The paragraph that dealt with the pronouns was especially insightful.

Quan Period 6

Throughout the history of mankind, humans aspire to live forever. Even today, scientists constantly research new methods to extend the human lifespan. In the poem “Red Shift”, Ted Berrigan suggests that immortality is achievable not physically, but spiritually. Through reminiscence alone, immortality is born. The speaker is relentlessly recollecting memories of the past. In this recollection, the speaker gives life to the memories of his deceased past.

Berrigan begins the poem precisely at “8:08 p.m.” (1) of a winter night in February to give the reader a sense of time. Berrigan continues describing the setting of this particular winter night in order to create the perfect mood for the speaker to reminisce. “The air is biting” (2), and the speaker is drinking and smoking. His actions suggest that he is alone because people often drink and smoke to avoid problems such as feelings of loneliness. This setting is ideal because winter has an association to death. This winter night also generates a melancholy atmosphere. The speaker brings life to this lifeless world when he remembers sipping Calvados on Long Island almost twenty years ago. The speaker’s statement, “who would have thought that I’d be here” (13) proposes the idea that the speaker is in deep thought. He is reliving those memories, thus giving life to the deceased memories.

Berrigan’s word choice assists in granting energy and life to the empty memories. The speaker recalls memories concerning love, children, money, marriage ethics, and a politics of grace. These memories are alive, “swirling” (17) and “burning” (17) within his mind. The speaker can clearly remember the boy’s “eyes penetrating the winter twilight at 6th and Bowery in 1961” (20). This image is so clear that one would believe that the speaker is witnessing that event once again. Later, the speaker boldly claims that he “will never die” (31). He will live on as a “Spirit, who lives only to nag” (33). This statement suggests that the speaker will continue to live on even after his death. The speaker will not live physically, but will live spiritually in the memories of those who recognize him.

How can the speaker possibly achieve immortality? The speaker’s determination to become immortal is genuine. With utmost confidence, the speaker states that he is “all pronouns” (35). Pronouns are ambiguous and are frequently used in everyday language. This gives the impression that speaker will live on forever because it is nearly impossible to avoid using pronouns in everyday language. The speaker will “never go away” (32) because he gains life at any instance where he is remembered.

One achieves immortality at any instance where one is remembered. When a person is remembered, the person gains life and is alive once again. When the speaker reminisces about the past, his vivid details of the memory resurrect the event from the dead past. Like the speaker in this poem, people are able to escape death and gain immortality spiritually within the memories of those who reminisce about them.



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

16 comments:

Faedhra said...

Faedhra W 6
Throughout Berrigan’s poem, his choice of word has so much power and energy that the readers is force to listen to him which Quan clearly shows in his third paragraph. Quan describes his memories which he describes as being alive. Also, Berrigan explained boldly that he “will never die”. Also he is conclusion is really strong as he connected all the evidence taking form the poem.

Caitlin H 5 said...

I find Quan's thesis to be a really intruiging one. I had not thought about the poem in terms of immortality, and so this idea brought on a new angle for me to ponder over.

William C5 said...

Quan’s interpretation of the poem is very interesting. He strongly uses evidence to support his thesis and his explication is well written.

Christina H 6 said...

Quan’s introduction sentence immediately grabs the reader’s interest. I like how he starts out with his interpretation of the poem and, then, ties it into his thesis. One of my main weaknesses when writing essays is making my evidence flow with the rest of the essay. The quotes in Quan’s explication are integrated well. My favorite paragraph is paragraph 4. Quan writes about how pronouns are used everyday and relates it to Berrigan’s immortality. I didn’t find this connection when I read the poem, so Quan provided a new perspective for me.

sarah c 6 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sarah c 6 said...

I really like Quan's idea about life and how he connects it to science. The idea of being immortal spiritually but not physically really caught my attention. His use of words and evidence really supports his idea. I also really like his conclusion becuase it reinforces and focuses on immortality. It explains and supports his idea well.

Meaghan S6 said...

Quan's thesis was really creative, and I like Christina said, I would never have thought of that idea. The introduction is catchy, and it draws the reader in. He integrates his evidence fluidly, and his paragraphs stay on topic and are focused. As Mr. G said in class, the take on immortality in writing would be an excellent way to elaborate more on the topic, and I particularly liked the part that discusses the use of pronouns and the ambiguity that they represent.

Doris T5 said...

Quan’s view on Berrigan’s poem, Red Shift, is different and interesting. I never would of thought of the poem in this way. Quan’s use of copious words makes the explication that much more interesting. His evidence flows through the essay and makes sense. Overall it was a very thought out explication and it was also very creative in terms of a topic. I would have never thought of this myself.

Rodney B5 said...

It is interesting to see how Quan interprets the poem. I did not see the poem in the way he did but nonetheless it taught me something new. He uses evidence well to prove his point and has a well written thesis.

Ping L 6 said...

I agree to what Quan writes in his conclusion. I especially like the last sentence of the conclusion. It is really great and it agrees with your purpose. He also integrates his evidence fluidly. All his evidence supports his thesis.

Simon M 6 said...

I agree with Mr.Gallagher about how writing grants immortality because I think that it would produce a stronger explication. Quan integrates his quotations well and his flow is good. I also found that the idea about pronouns was interesting, because I probably would have not thought of it. Quan's philosophical view of Berrigan's Red Shift showed me a new perspective of the poem.

Ricki L5 said...

I aslo agree with Mr. Gallagher that reminicence alone would not achieve immortality. However, I love how all the ideas Quan have fit with his thesis and provide a flowing, well rounded essay.

Amy H 6 said...

I really liked Quan’s interpretation of the poem. Quan stated that immortality could be born through reminiscence alone. I do agree with this. If people continue to pass their stories down to future generations with words, immortality is born. Much like how folk tales came to be.

Wendy C.5 said...

Quan's thesis really grabbed my attention. Similar to Caitlin, I have never thought about this poem in terms of immortality. It gives me a new angle of view for the poem.

Benwit L 6 said...

Quan’s voice as a writer is very apparent and defined throughout his paper. The evidence is integrated well and it does not hinder his voice as all evidence should be. Although he explains the points he makes, the explanation of the evidence could be introduced less abruptly by using the phrases “this” or “these” less. On a positive note, I admire the relativity of the last sentences to each of his paragraphs. They summarize each of the paragraphs well and, when read after the initial reading, clarify all the points that Quan is trying to make.

Ronald d5 said...

This is a great paper but i agree with Mr. Gallagher, with the fact that reminescence alone is what he is trying to prove. The alone part is what threw me off. I disagree with him too but i love the way his stated his thesis, the topic sentence is a great attention grabber.