JessicaEnglish H10/14/07 Peasant WifeIn the passage the “Peasant Wedding,” the author William Carlos Williams suggests that the peasant wife is the only serene person in the chaotic wedding festivities. Through the lack of punctuation and word choice William’s techniques unravel the chaotic atmosphere of a wedding day. The passage is also very short causing the audience to wonder if he was only attempting to focus on the serene and recently wedded peasant wife. One way Williams demonstrates that the peasant wife is the focus of this poem is how he begins the passage by saying, “ Pour the wine bridegroom/ where before you the/ bride is enthroned her hair” (388). Williams makes the groom seem like he needs to cater his new wife. The groom needs to pour his wife some wine because she is “before him” and needs to treat her like a queen. The idea that she is a queen that day is with his word choice of “enthroned” Williams created the image of her hair being a crown and the peasant wife being on a throne or having a ceremony that will mark the very beginning of her rule. Williams also says that her hair is “loose at her temples a head”(388), and her surroundings consist “of ripe wheat is on/ the wall beside her”(388). Which demonstrates that she has long hair, which seems to be relevant to Williams because he was focusing on the peasant wife’s characteristics. As for the “ripe wheat” Williams may be using that as a metaphor, a metaphor that means that the peasant wife is a God because of the development and the presence of the wheat. The Gods are the ones who bless these people with food to harvest and the food to survive. Williams then chooses to describe what the celebration is like, “the// guests seated at long tables/ the bagpipers are ready/ there is a hound under// the table the bearded mayor/ is present”(388). His lack of punctuation causes the description of the celebration to seem hectic and busy. It also causes the focus to be on ever person stanza by stanza. The stanzas are written like Haikus, which gives each character a piece and meaning to the passage. The celebration consists of bagpipers many guests sitting at long big tables and the mayor of the town is even present. It gives the impression that everyone was invited, even “the hound under// the table.” The next stanza compares the women at the party and the peasant wife’s lack of enthusiasm, “women in their/ starched headgear are// gabbing all but the bride/ hands folded in her/ lap is awkwardly silent simple”(388). The peasant women are talking to each other and having a good time as for the peasant wife she is “awkwardly silent simple.” Which makes us wonder William’s motives for focusing on the bride. William may have realized that the bride is not happy and cheerful on her wedding day and chose to base the passage on the bride. William’s chooses to end the passage with what is being served and who is serving it to the guests at the wedding celebration, “dishes are being served/ clabber and what not/ from a trestle made of an// unhinged barn door by two/ helpers one in red/ coat a spoon in his hatband”(388). The wedding celebration is not high class by the way Williams describes the type of food being served “clabber and what not,” clabber is milk that has naturally clotted together and is sour. Williams also says that the two helpers are serving the plates of food “from a trestle made of an// unhinged barn door” the peasants use what they have to make the wedding celebration run smoothly. Williams also chose to end the poem by describing what one of the helpers looked like, “one in red/ coat a spoon in his hatband.” The helper was wearing a noticeable red coat and had a spoon in his decorative ribbon wrapped around the hat which gives the impression that even the helpers are attempting to dress up for the occasion, but the bride did not wear anything as noticeable or flashy as the helper. The bride should be the one wearing something that is easily noticeable to everyone but William seemed to pick her out because of her hair and her surroundings.Overall, William Carlos Williams through word choice, structure, metaphors and the order of the chaotic events he attempts to focus on the quiet bride. William’s began the passage with the bride being the focus and almost God like but as he got into the passage the other characters and surroundings seem to steal the brides serene spotlight. Williams then adds the bride towards the end. Then the serene wife becomes the only person in the passage who does not give into the festivities and the chaos.
Happiness of PeasantsIn the poem, “Peasant Wedding” written by William Carlos Williams, the poet suggests that the society’s view of commoners does not change the way commoners feeling about their lives and their efforts to live it depicted in Brueghel’s painting. Williams uses vivid description of the unnoticeable details in Brueghel’s painting to show the emotions of those of lower class in society. Each of the poems that Williams wrote about that links to Brueghel’s paintings all involve around the lower class in the society. Most of the poems set in an environment surrounded by a community of people. Williams shows how the people live their lives like any other not based on the social status. He shows it through the scene of this wedding. “Pour the wine bridegroom” (1) is a celebration uniting both the bride and the groom together. They are forever bound to each other. Wedding is a common thing for people. Williams describe the bride as “the / bride is enthroned her hair.” (2-3) It shows that it is the bride’s big day. She is being crowned for that moment and the center of attention. Similar to other brides, the married bride has a day of admiration by other women. It is her day to be happy. In Brueghel’s painting, the bride is nearly unnoticeable and camouflaged by the surrounding people. Williams mentions the bride at the beginning is to show the bride sticking out for her serenity and to bring out more of the feeling of the celebration. The “ripe wheat” (5) that “is on/ the wall behind her” (5-6) shows the hardship of being a peasant. Brueghel painted the scenery of this occasion in an area like in a barn where it is spacious and not fancy, but with dull brownish and yellow colors. It shows the lack of social standing. Williams did not describe it as a gloomy event. He talks about of the “guest seated at long tables” (7) and “the bagpipers are ready.”(8) Those people are happy and cheerful. The bride camouflaged by the crowd is not the only thing shown in little details. The mayor’s “hound under // the table” (9-10) went unnoticed. Williams reveals the dog from the picture to show that everyone even domesticated animals can enjoy the happiness of the celebration. Williams show that there is no boundary to happiness. They are enjoying the festivities. Women adore the bride “in their/ starched headgear are // gabbing.” (11-13) The women show admiration toward the bride who have her “hands folded in her / lap” (14-15) that is being “awkwardly silent” (15). The bride is shown as quiet, peaceful, and serene person. Williams made the bride to stick out without the flashy garments in the poem. The banquet is not built as fancy as high-class party is. It is built for a feast for commoners with nothing extravagant. They are “served / clabber” (16-17) which is curdled milk brought out on “a trestle made of an // unhinged barn door.” (18-19) They are not served with delicious food on shiny metal trays and be waited on by others. They live their lives the way they live it and appreciate it. They are happy for those live that the live in. Williams show that commoner’s feeling does not change because of how society looks upon them. They live their lives as they please. Through the peasant banquet painted by Brueghel, he revealed that. Looking upon those that is not very noticeable; he was able to bring out a deeper feeling. Showing that the people are happy, he reveals that the feelings of people can only be determined by themselves not by how the society feels about them.
Meaghan S. Mr. GEnglish 12 H14 October 2007 Simplicity in a “Peasant Wedding” In his poem “Peasant Wedding,” William Carlos Williams uses basic diction and syntax to exemplify the simplicity of the peasant class. There is no punctuation in the lines, and he focuses on pure description of the painting by Pieter Bruegel down to the very last detail. At a wedding, the focus is normally on the bride and groom. However, Williams focuses on the overall atmosphere. His emphasis is similar throughout the entire series of poems about Bruegel’s work; he emphasizes the scene as a whole with its individual parts rather than focusing on one single aspect of it. The first two stanzas of the poem are specifically directed toward the bride and the groom. The groom is “pour[ing] the wine” (1). Even though it is his own wedding, the groom is still working for himself, as he does not have a servant or waiters to do it for him. The groom is not easily spotted, because he blends in with the guests around him. The “bride is enthroned” (3) nearby with “hair//loose at her temples” (3-4). Enthroned has a regal term, but it is juxtaposed by the fact that in the painting, she is almost unnoticeable without a detailed examination of the scene. If it were not for the “ripe wheat…on//the wall beside her,” (5-6) it would be hard to tell her apart from the other women seated around her. By describing them this way, Williams shows that they are just as much a part of their wedding as their guests, and that they do not expect special treatment; they just want to enjoy themselves. The bride is only mentioned in one other place in the poem and the groom is never mentioned again, because Williams immediately shifts to focus on the guests and the atmosphere of the room. The next three stanzas focus specifically on the guests in attendance, with one subsequent detail about the bride, in order to emphasize the camaraderie between the guests and their collective, simplistic joy in celebrating the event. They are “seated at long tables” (7) because these type of wooden tables are most accommodating for the quantity of people, and it adds to the homely feeling of the room. There are “bagpipers” (8) to play music for the celebration, who are possibly local musicians. This ethnic music could be a tradition of the area, and would add to the ambiance of the setting. Adding to the comfortable atmosphere is a “hound” that is “under//the table,” (9-10) who generally would not be inside a reception hall. However, the dog is mingling amongst the guests, creating a family mood. In the area where the bride is sitting, “women in their/starched headgear are//gabbing” (11-13). Gabbing is associated with idle chatter among women, and it is ironic that he contrasts these women who are enjoying themselves with the bride who is “awkwardly silent” (15) with her “hands folded in her/lap” (14-15). The bride, who is usually the center of attention, seems to be having no fun at all, while the other women and guests are socializing, talking, and laughing. The focus, thus, is placed on the guests with details of the bride serving as points of comparison. This contrast suggests that the bride is just one of the crowd and does not stand out amongst everyone else, because they live their life so simplistically that the benefit of the greater good comes before the benefit of a single person. The last two stanzas depict the food that the guests are eating, which show that the dinner is more similar to an average meal as opposed to a grand feast. The “simple//dishes” (15-16) are being carried, distributed, and eaten throughout the scene. They include “clabber and what not” (17). Clabber is sour curdled milk, which could have been retrieved from cows on farmlands, and ‘what not’ implies that there are bits of different things, most likely whatever was available at the time of year. The men serving the dinner are carrying the trays on a “trestle made of an//unhinged barn door” (18-19). The servers made use of whatever they could find because they did not have fancy equipment; they lived off what they had, and what would be most beneficial to everyone as opposed to just the bride and the groom. The poem overall reflects the simplicity of life of the peasant class. By making due with what they have, the guests in attendance make the best of their situation to enjoy the wedding. Williams keeps the focus off the bride and the groom because the image by Bruegel blends them in with the others. The guests, therefore, are seen as equals with the bride and groom. The group of people on the whole is more important than two people, and both Williams’ poem and Brughel’s painting capture that feeling.
Linda Y.Mr. GEnglish 12 HonorsOctober 15, 2007Celebrations of Peasants“Peasants Wedding” by William Carlos Williams, emphasizes how peasants demonstrates happiness despite their poor lifestyle. Williams dedicates his poem to focus on how the peasants celebrate rather than focusing on the bride. The guests are of importance to the poem and Williams goes into much detail about the guests and their descriptions. He illustrates the type of guests and how Pieter Brugel depicts them in the painting. To convey the main focus of the painting on the guests, Williams uses imagery, particular juxtaposition, but no significant transitional words. In the first two stanzas, Williams makes no real formal transition from the focus of the bride to the peasants guests. Williams continues on with no punctuation and no line break, “...bride is enthroned her hair/ loose at her temples a head of ripe wheat is on the wall beside her the guests seated at long tables,” (3 – 7). Instead of beginning a new line or using punctuation, Williams begins his depiction of the wheat on the wall. He uses no transitional words that announce he will switch topics to the other guests. By doing so, Williams directs his attention to the peasants and the guests rather than the bride. The bride does not have as much importance than the guests present at her wedding. Williams describes the various guests present at the wedding. He mentions the guests seated at long tables with bagpipers and the Mayor present. In the third stanza, he begins, “guests seated at long tables the bagpipers are ready there is a hound under...” (9 – 13). Williams states the presence of the certain guests at the wedding. The guests are there to celebrate the wedding. Then in the next stanza, Williams writes, “...the table the bearded Mayor is present women in their starched headgear are...” (13 – 15). The author diverts the attention to the minor details in the painting. The women’s headgears in the painting are only minor features, but Williams depicts them as important aspects.In the last stanza, Williams uses awkward juxtaposition of combining two unlike ideas into one line. It begins, “...unhinged barn door by two helpers one in red coat a spoon in his hatband,” (21 – 24). The stanza starts with the objective as being the barn door but then stops that idea and begins with “by two” as a completely different focus. Williams decides to include two dissimilar subjects into one line because he directs all attention onto the guests and only focus on them. He lists what the guests are like and speaks of their detailed aspects.Williams Carlos Williams uses specific language to specially direct most of the attention to the guests rather than to the bride. He uses much detail to describe the guest such as their clothing or the minor features on their hats for example. Although Williams does write about the bride, he quickly transitions to the guests without any hint or formal introduction. By containing two ideas into one line, Williams wanted to include ideas only on the guests no matter their form in which they are written.
Alex A.Mr. GallagherEnglish 12 honorsOct. 15, 2007“A Celebration of Love”In the selection by William Carlos Williams, “Peasant Wedding”, he demonstrates the effect, or lack thereof, of the dominating spirit of the peasant class. Through his vivid description and interpretation Williams tries to make us see the real happiness that is present in everyone at the wedding. His interpretation makes it seem as if the wife/bride is the centerpiece of the passage. There is a commonality amongst the pictures that Williams interprets, and that is the bonding and social capability of the lower class population and how people are not really so different. The line that signifies the marriage of the bride and groom is explained in the first stanza. “Pour the wine bridegroom” (1) establishes the marriage and is spoken from the view of someone who is actually in attendance at the wedding, which makes the poem even more special. As is common knowledge that the exchange of rings unifies two people till ‘death do us part’ indicating that the feelings these people experience lasts until their final moments of life. Usually at a wedding there is only one thing people really care about and that is the appearance of the bride to be. As Williams continues, “the bride is enthroned her hair” (3), having the reader focus on the image of what her hair must be like if it ideally is better than the other men and/or women in the room. Williams has us notice that a wedding day is a time of great cheer and joy, while at the same time making us forget for a brief moment that the attendants at the wedding are all peasants.The description of the wedding area does not promote some kind of elegant reception hall or church, but rather like an old barn or some other large soup kitchen like place where the guests feel comfortable, “At her temples a headof ripe wheat is on/ the wall beside her the/ guests seated at long tables” (4-7). So far Williams has convinced us that she (the bride) has been radiant in the spotlight of the festivities. Rather than an organ or band set up to play a wedding collection of songs, “bagpipers are ready” (8). There is a noticeable figure amongst the guests in attendance, “the bearded Mayor” (10). The picture turns into one in which we gather an image about the townspeople and how connected they must be. The other guests indulge in the social gossip that consumes most modern and socialite societies, which would scoff at such a thought, “gabbing all but the bride/ hands folded in her/ lap is awkwardly silent simple” (13-15). Finally, Williams uses imagery to describe what is only the beginning of the festivities, “dishes are being served/ clabber and what not// from a trestle made of an// unhinged barn door by two// helpers one in a red// coat a spoon in his hatband” (16-21).
Casandra P.6Love In its Simplest FormIn the poem “Peasant Wedding”, the author William Carlos Williams suggests that the not so wealthy peasants are able to have a wedding and are still worthy of a strong unity. The speaker of this poem is either at this wedding or is looking at the painting that Brueghel has painted. William Carlos Williams emphasizes the minor details in Brueghel’s painting. Brueghel uses the same minor details that William Carlos Williams describes in his series of poems that describe Brueghel’s paintings which links them all together. In the painting there is a great deal of motion, most of the objects in this painting are moving. However the speaker notices that there is a lady sitting at the table with her hands folded and her eyes closed, “Bride is enthroned her hair/ guests seated at long tables”(3-4). The speaker implies that this woman is the bride, the wife of this “Peasant Wedding”. William Carlos Williams uses “enthroned”(3) which indicates power and royalty that is ironic because of the fact that this is a peasant wedding. This is also ironic because the bride is described as awkwardly elegant, “hands folded in her / lap is awkwardly silent simple” (14-15); however she is also a peasant which shows that being rich and being a peasant are not really different from each other because they are both in common. The only difference between being a peasant and a wealthy person is that one has more money then the other. William Carlos Williams does not use punctuation, this distracts the audience from the lonely bride. William Carlos Williams continues to write about the guests at this peasant wedding. Williams does not use any transitional words to let the audience know that he is changing subjects, instead he flows with the motion in the painting. Brueghel uses bright colors, such as red, to capture the eye of the viewer of the painting. William’s describes this in the last stanza “helpers one in a red/coat a spoon in his hand hatband”(20-21). This shows the difficulties the peasants had to endure. The red color indicates strength and the hard times that they have had to over come. Brueghel uses these bright colors for the viewers to take notice and interest in the painting. This color can be used to describe the passion of the wedding and the passionate simple ways of the bride. However red can also be used to describe sin, however this is ironic because the painting is lacking sin. Even the simplest people can have large extravagant weddings with music and food and friends and family. In a wedding there is unity and Brueghel’s painting unites them together, which ironically the painting portrays, well. The author’s purpose is to show that even the simplest people can have the most meaningful weddings.
Pictures by Brueghel, Words by Williams: Recognizing the Working ManA common theme among most, if not all, of Brueghel’s paintings is glorifying the working man and promoting awareness of social classes, also choosing your fate by working with the Earth. Therefore, this is also a common theme of Williams’ poems. In the painting and poem “Peasant Wedding” they show the celebration of a working-class wedding. In the poem “Peasant Wedding” Williams first describes the scene by referencing to the “unhinged barn door by two” (19), showing that the building was obviously not in pristine condition. Also, Williams describes the food at the wedding; “dished are being served/clabber and what not” (17-18). Clabber is food that was eaten mainly by peasants during this time period. These two examples are used in the poem to set and describe the scene of a peasant wedding. However, the purpose of the painting and the poem was not to describe the sights and events of a peasant wedding, but to show the celebration of working class people. As previously stated, Brueghel often glorified the working man in his paintings, and “Peasant Wedding” is no exception. Sure the working class people here may not have the means to provide a big, glamorous wedding, but they had fun. It was a gathering of people who cared about each that came together to celebrate the love and the union of two people. In this painting Brueghel illustrates the strength of the human spirit, because despite the fact that these people work harder, but still make less than the people of their upper class they are still able to celebrate and appreciate life. Also, in the spirit of modernism, these people in the painting are aware that they control their fate, they control their out looks on life, they may not control their circumstances and the hierarchy of their society, but they can still make a conscious decision to enjoy life and what they do have. That is exactly what the painting represents, people making a conscious decision to enjoy what they have, the life they make, and try not to regret anything. The theme of glorifying the working man and people appreciating the life they have is represented in many other of Brueghel’s paintings and Williams’ poems. For instance in the poem about Brueghel’s “Haymaking” painting, Williams says “men scythes tumbling/the wheat in/rows//the gleaners already busy/it was his own-/magpies” (13-18), which discussed the men making hay and their work. Then in the poem on the painting “The Corn Harvest” Williams describes a man exhausted from a hard days’ work; “reaper enjoying his/noonday rest/completely//relaxed/from his morning labors/sprawled//in fact sleeping/unbuttoned/on his back” (4-12). Brueghel and Williams coincided to glorify the dedication and nobility in hard work of the middle class. How they chose to live their lives out as workers and accepted and chose to continue their fate and their way of living. They chose to work from the Earth, learning from the fatal mistake of Icarus, and make the best of their lives as workers. That is how “Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” connects to the other painting. The workers in “Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” chose to work from nature, therefore working with the Gods and gaining the materials needed for their survival from the Gods. But Icarus and Daedalus worked against, or as posing as Gods, and chose to go to the sky, a fatal mistake. But the workers in “Landscape of the Fall of Icarus” and those in Brueghel’s other paintings learned from the tragic hero’s flaw and chose their fate and their survival by working from the Earth, hence with the Gods. All of paintings in the collection of “Pictures from Brueghel” connect under that theme; glorifying the working man, and choosing their fate and their survival by manual labor from the Earth, supported by the Gods, or the fates at power.
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