Thursday, October 11, 2007

VII The Corn Harvest

Please Post your explication of "VII The Corn Harvest
" by William Carlos Williams here by Monday October 15th at 3:00p.m. This should give you time after school if you need computer access for whatever reason.


Brian A. 6 said...

Brian A
Period 6
The Corn Harvest: A Wakeup Call to Teenagers

In his poem The Corn Harvest, William Carlos Williams emphasizes, highlights, expounds, underscores, and accentuates the feeling of some one resting by using short lines breaks to invoke a feeling of some one being tired. Each of the three lined short stanzas reinforces or parallels the feeling of being tired while being read. By being forward in this poem Williams describes the obvious details of the painting, but by doing so it sets the mood of the poem because of it’s structure and lack of rhyme scheme. Like the other paintings, this also shows the world through a peasant’s view. In addition, they show many occurrences in life that are symbolized in many other manners.
In the beginning lines of the poem Williams states the season that which the poem takes place, which is one of only a few of Williams poems to have any punctuation at all. Williams starts this poem with one word, which is “Summer!”(1) thus setting the scene for the reader. Summer can symbolize many things like fun, freedom and heat. It can also represent childhood and adolescence or an exciting and carefree time. Mean while the reapers are harvesting corn which means autumn is right a round the corner. Just as summer becomes autumn, the change of seasons can symbolize an adolescent becoming an adult. “the painting is organized/ about a young// reaper” (2-3) this is the focus of the painting and the poem. Williams is perhaps making a comment about teenage youth and their laziness “rest/completely// Relaxing/ from his morning labors/sprawled” (5-9). In these lines, he states that the boy is tired and uses three different words to prove that. By reading the poem it shows how the stanzas parallel with the feeling of drowsiness.
As the poem continues and this young man’s rest prolongs, the reader finds out that the boy is actually sleeping “in fact sleeping/ unbuttoned/ on his back” (10-12). Which is an obvious fact but nonetheless important to the overall message of the poem. In deciphering, Williams shows the over whelming laziness of people in their youth “the women/ have brought him his lunch/ perhaps// a spot of wine/ they gather gossiping/ under a tree” (13-18). Trees can symbolize many things like in Norse mythology, the Ygdrassil tree is seen as noble or awesome. This is interesting because in every other painting the manner in which the peasants are seen can be thought as noble or awesome. Trees can also symbolize life and growth, which ties back to the change of seasons and the symbol of summer.
In the final two stanzas Williams voices his final thoughts on teenagers, “carelessly/ he does not share the// resting/center of/ their workaday world”( 20-24) perhaps saying this because teenagers are often selfish and greedy with some things. The way that Williams uses line breaks in a haiku manner really shows how he tries to employ the feeling drowsiness and convey a message to teenagers to get back to work and stop being so lazy. Thus changing the seasons from summer to autumn and the teenager from child to adult in a matter of 24 lines of a poem and conveys Williams’ message.

Kristin D. 5 said...

Kristin D
Period 5

Class Struggle and the Struggle between Men and Women

Pictures from Breugel and Other Poem is a book of poems written by William Carlos Williams that are directly related to the paintings of Pieter Breugel. Pieter Breugel typically paints of peasant life or of landscape and nature is what inspires him. William Carlos Williams bases his poems off the paintings of Breugel. In “VII Corn Harvest”, Williams writes of the daily life of a peasant and he draws out the struggle between classes and the struggles between men and women.
The speaker opens the poem with “Summer!” (1), and that first word sets the scene. Summer is usually a symbolism of fun, youth and a time of relaxing but in this poem the peasants working in the field is not fun. In the summer the sun is out and the weather is hot. The opening word sets the time of the poem but it also sets the reader in a setting that is hot and hard to bear. The first thing that the speaker points out is the “young // reaper enjoying his / noonday rest / completely // relaxed / from his morning labors” (3-7). A reaper can be looked at as just a person who harvest or it can be directly connected to the grim reaper which is a personification of death. The young reaper is just resting from his labors. He is working very hard almost to death and he is just very tired and resting because he has been working all morning long. The young reaper is described lifeless under the tree. His workday has put him in a state of exhaustion because he was “sprawled // in fact sleeping / unbuttoned / on his back” (9-12). The word sprawled means that he is lying stretched out and carelessly. “Unbuttoned” shows that he is in a hot environment but symbolically it shows how tired he that it makes him careless about his surroundings. By being unbuttoned he is exposing himself and allowing himself to be vulnerable to anything that is around him. The speaker of the poem wants to emphasis the life of a peasant and how it’s hard and tiring.
“The women / have brought him his lunch / perhaps // a spot of wine / they gather gossiping / under a tree” (13-18). In this line the speaker draws out the life of women. The women brought lunch to the man and although it can be a gesture of appreciation for the handwork he has done it also shows the way women are looked as during the 16th century Europe. Women did not have equal rights as men and the normal day jobs of women was to serve men and work as housewives. The women were gossiping under a tree and gossiping is usually done in a secret or quiet manner and the fact that it was done under a tree emphasis further that the women were not speaking out. During this time period women did not have a voice in society. The tree is a symbol of strength and it is also a symbol of nature. But in the poem the speaker says “under a tree // whose shade / carelessly / he does not share the // resting / center of / their workaday world” (18-24). The young reaper who is a man does not share the shade of the tree with the women which can be looked at as if men in the society does not share strength with women. Since the tree is the center of their world strength symbolic to being center of society. The speaker is trying to show the reader that men are the center of society and since he is “careless” to their presence it is added for further emphasis that women are looked down upon in society.
William Carlos William’s poem “The Corn Harvest” is a poem based on the painting of Breugel but the poem also puts emphasis on the life of a peasant working in a corn field and the struggles between higher class and lower class. Williams also puts emphasis on the way women are looked at in society and the certain attitudes that men have toward women.

michelle p 6 said...

Michelle P.

Tide of Explications

In all the poems William Carlos Williams wrote in his book of poetry titled Pictures from Bruegel, Williams tries to make the viewer understand Bruegel’s paintings in a different and poetic way. He uses imagery and description through haikus with the ambiguity of a lack of punctuation, besides the opening line of “Summer!”(l), to give the poems rhyme and composition for a painting that is already part of a set that inspired Bruegel for yet another painting that was an explication of The Story of Daedalus and Icarus. The only way to explicate the poem “The Corn Harvest” is to say that the poem is an explication of the painting like all the other poems in Pictures from Bruegel.
The title “The Corn Harvest” is a literal reference to the painting. A corn harvest is metaphorically identified as a group of field workers laying around and eating. The poem then goes on to explicate the method of the painting “the painting is organized” (2) and gives the reader a setting “about a young/reaper enjoying his noonday rest” (2-3).
After a brief intermission of verse, the speaker describes the subject’s actions “relaxed/from his morning labors/sprawled” (7-9). It could also be said in laymen’s terms that the man in the painting is napping but to write a poem is to use detail; “no ideas/but in things” (Williams,” A Sort of Songs” 9-10). The side note “in fact sleeping/unbuttoned/on his back” (10-12) puts in attitude to the tone of the three line stanza and hints at its eventual ending of the explication of the poem “the women/have brought him his lunch/perhaps” (13-15).
In the other poems in Pictures from Bruegel, the same amount of reference to the painting demands the rest of the poems “According to Bruegel” (“The Fall of Icarus” 1) and “in the composition shows a group/of beggars leading/each other diagonally downward” (“The Parable of The Blind” 3-6). In the other poems, Williams uses personification, description, and imagery to simply explicate the painting and tell the viewer, or soon to be viewer, what is going on in the painting and possibly what Bruegel meant.
Without punctuation and the same set up, three lines, 7-8 stanzas, these poems limit themselves and the author’s purpose as to what he could be, in the end, truly trying to get across to the painting’s viewers. Every poem opens with a description of the painting in hindsight “This horrible but superb painting” (“The Parable of the Blind” 1). Recurrent themes pop in and out of all of the poems too in response to all of them being directly about Bruegel’s paintings: peasants, youth, life, growth, etc. These frequent themes come up as “women in their/starched headgear” (“The Wedding Dance in The Open Air” 11-12).
“The Corn Harvest” is no different in the way that it begins, gets to its point, or ends with description, explication, and imagery. Its setup of three lines and a few stanzas don’t have much of a mission but to give the future viewer a sense of the art and life to the paintings Bruegel painted 300 years previous, who was also only, in his own right, explicating the work of his inspiration, Ovid’s Metamorphosis. Williams Carlos Williams does just this with his selected poems for Pictures from Bruegel.

Mario R. 5 said...

Mario R.
“The Corn Harvest”-
The Irony of a summer’s Harvest
In W. Carlos William’s poem, “The Corn Harvest”, Williams the mature differences between an inexperienced youth and experienced old age to convey an ironic interpretation of a summer’s harvest. Williams, who relies on the reader’s prior associations with golden harvests and golden summers as times to gather and embrace unity, purposely appears to separate the characters of his poem to create a distinction between youth and experience, contradicting the very essence of a harvest.
The author introduces the reader to the perspective of a young boy laborer in the first four stanzas of the poem. William’s writes: “Summer”(Williams 1)! In his use of exclamation, Williams’s creates a mood of excitement and vigor which immediately parallels the character of the boy, as he is relaxed and inattentive, “sprawled” (9) “sleeping"(10). To emphasis these lazy actions, Williams uses informal, standard diction in the form of short one lined sentences or words, such as the adjectives “sprawled” or “relaxed”. The short sentences or one-lined words put emphasis solely on that word, applying a stronger meaning to it. The author further describes him as “a young reaper”, which implies a supernatural and negative connotation, and in western society, usually associated with death and fatality. In other words he is hurting the rest of the harvesters. Another way that this can be taken is that w. Carlos Williams is having that the old men are being treated as machines so they are use to it but he is still young. Unlike other laborers in the fields, he is apathetic and solitary. He does not fulfill the essence of a harvest, as he chooses to remain alone and under a single solitary tree.
Much like the tree in the portrait, which separates the youth from his elders, Williams separates his poem in half, with one perspective on the boy then switching to the women elders. With the inclusion of gender differences, in addition to the obvious age differences, Williams creates from the portrait a clear distance between the characters. Williams writes: “whose shade carelessly he does not share/ the resting center of their workaday world”(Williams 19-24). The author indicates the absence of unity within the poem by establishing that he does not share their world. They are in the shade, which contradicts the significance of the sunlight of summer and also where the boy has chosen to rest.
Summer, as stated in exclamation by the author, is a time of excitement and is normally associated with a gathering, much like the harvest indicates. This association, however, is broken in the poem, as distance is created at a time where unity must reign supreme. Nearing the end of this poem, this introductory choice of words just seems sarcastic with so much detachment in the poem between humans, and the references to reapers and shade. To further assert this seasonal irony, Williams also incorporates subtle biblical allusions in his poem. For example, in his poem Williams incorporates the symbol of a lone tree under which different ages are separated. This tree could very well be interpreted as the tree of wisdom, in nonetheless; the Garden of Eden which overall adds to the irony of the perfect summer’s harvest by accentuating that this heavenly paradise will come to an end for the harvesters.
W. Carlos Williams’s purpose of writing this poem is to portray the ignorance’s of youth. The evidence that show this is in the first stance when he say’s the painting is organized/about a young // reaper. In other words the painting is about a young men and haves not yet grown in to mature he believe. This is said through everything that is written from the young boy taking a “noonday rest” (5) all the way to the “resting center of their workday world”. Something I thought was weird was that though out the whole poem there are no punitions it’s just a straight read it kind looks like he didn’t write it but more like when he saw the panting he made notes about it.

Amy H 6 said...

The difference between the Roles of genders in peasant day society

In the poem Corn Harvest, by William Carlos Williams, Williams’ use of language and tone penetrates the readers’ mind to suggest the different roles, lifestyles and hardships a woman and a man endures in peasant day society. While the women do the petty, behind the scenes work, the men are handling physical, outdoors work.
In the first half of the poem, Williams describes the hardships of a working male peasant. “Relaxed / by his morning labors”(7-8). Williams used of language propose that the reaper is physically drained and relaxing is his key to happiness. “Summer!(1)” Williams’ use of an exclamation point at the end of summer describes how much the reaper enjoys this season. Summer, people sees as a happy month, and everything grows and get nutrition from. The title “The Corn Harvest” ties well into why summer is the first word of the poem. Because summer also happens to be the season when all the harvesting is done and crops are collected as well.
While men’s roles are reapers, the women hold a more relaxed job. They had “brought him [reaper] his lunch”(14). As the reader could see, the women have a much more relaxed job according to the poem. Williams hints that since women have a lesser role in society then men, they are treated less as human beings. The women are treated more along the lines of servants. Also, the women do not relax by sleeping. They relax by gossiping. “They gather gossiping/ under a tree.” Williams’ use of language suggests that the tree is the women hangout spot, a place where they get together and socialize. The women huddle under the tree to gather their thoughts and ideas and discuss the latest gossip while the men, like the reaper, share his thoughts, and gossip only among himself.
Williams, though describes the hardships a man must endures in peasant day society, uses hypocritical irony to show how lazy a man could be as well. “Young// reaper enjoying his noonday rest completely”(3-6). According to this excerpt, Williams hints to the reader that the reaper’s “noonday rest” is not just happening that day, but happens on a daily basic, suggesting to the readers that the reaper is exhausted once noonday comes. Also, the reaper, though finished his work, becomes lazy once his morning deeds are done. The reaper doesn’t sleep sitting, but instead falls asleep “sprawled”(9). As if he is too tired or lazy to get up. His morning deeds had drained him of his energy and feels that he must rest quickly. If he doesn’t, the chance of getting his nap will have passed by and he continues on working without rest. Not only does the reaper enjoy his morning rest, but he is being catered by the women who bring him his lunch. Williams use of languages hints the women, who caries the reaper his lunch, how they are mistreated in peasant day society. Though the reaper is still a peasant, he still has the luxury of having his lunch catered to him by women.
In the final part of the excerpt, the reaper transitions from a relaxed person into a rather selfish person. The reaper “does not share”(21), hints that the reaper is not only a greedy person, but a uncaring person as well. The reaper is “resting”(22) while other people are working. To suggest how a male peasant threats women. While relaxing, he watches “their [the woman] workday world” (23-24), as if he was glad he didn’t need to take part in the women duties.
Williams’ use of language and tone creates an atmosphere for his readers to believe the different roles a woman and a man undergo in society to function. Through the hardships and different lifestyle Williams create for the genders, he is able to accomplish his message to his readers.

Danielle S. 5 said...

Explicating the Insight of William Carlos Williams

There are many contrasting differences in the picture “The corn Harvest” than that of the poem “The corn Harvest” written by William Carlos Williams. In the picture there are many things to focus on. One being the man resting by the tree looking deprived of hydration and behind him the people resting on the tree and enjoying a mid day snack. That seems to be the main focus of the painting because its the biggest thing in the picture which makes it the focal point for the observer. Bruegel has a way of doing this with a lot of his paintings.

When looking at the painting there are many things that the eye picks up. For instance the first thing that most see is the man’s labored body lying lifelessly against the tree and the people behind him relaxing enjoying a mid day snack and resting. William Carlos Williams saw this to and used it as the main focal point of his poem. “Summer!/ the painting is organized // about a young / reaper enjoying his / noonday rest // completely / relaxed / from his morning labors / sprawled // in fact sleeping / unbuttoned / on his back /”. (Stanza’s 1-4) This excerpt starts out by telling us that at that point in time the painting was painted during the summer time which gives us more of an inside look as to why the people look so labored and exhausted. The next lines tells us how the painting is organized and a little more about the man sitting by the tree. “The painting is organized/ about a young // reaper enjoying his / noonday rest / .” (Stanza 2 lines 2-3) In this passages it states “ The painting is organized” this is telling the observer how to read this picture. Then it states “ About a young” pertaining to the young boy underneath the tree sleeping lifelessly. “Reaper enjoying his / noonday rest.” (stanza 2 lines 1-2). Here the observer is told that the young boy underneath the tree is a reaper which is someone that cuts things down with a long object that has a knife at the bottom. So the boys a reaper and he is enjoying a rest. Lastly the poem is telling us the time of day, noontime. Then Williams goes on to tell us a little more about the boy and what his mood is like at this point and time while he is resting. “ Completely / relaxed / from his morning labors” . ( Stanza 3, lines 1-2). Here we find out that the reaper is indeed completely relaxed from his morning labors which were cutting down corn stalks. “ Sprawled / in fact sleeping / unbuttoned /on his back” (Stanza 4, lines 1-3). Now Williams is telling us that the young reaper is sprawled on the ground against the tree sleeping with his shirt unbuttoned lying on his back. So what Williams is telling the observer of the portrait or the reader of the poem is stanza’s 1-4 is that the place and time is summer and that the painting is organized so as to show the young boy as the main focal point. The boy is a reaper and he is enjoying a noon time rest after laboring all morning sprawled with his shirt unbuttoned to catch a cool breeze on the ground underneath a tree.
Now William Carlos Williams goes on to tell us about the people sitting around the tree and what relation they have in the painting to the young reaper. “ The women / having brought him his lunch/ perhaps / a spot of wine / they gather gossiping / underneath a tree / whose shade / carelessly / he does not share / the resting / center of / their work day world.” (Stanzas 5 -8). Williams starts out by saying the women which shifts our eyes from the young reaper to the women sitting behind him. “ Having brought him his lunch / perhaps / a spot of wine.” (stanza 5 lines 1-3, stanza 6 line 1). So now the observer knows that there are women sitting behind the young reaper and they are there because they brought him his lunch and maybe even a little bit of wine. “They gather gossiping / underneath a tree.” ( stanza…) William is telling us here that the women are gathered underneath the tree talking to one another. “Whose shade / carelessly / he does not share / the resting / center of / their work day world.” (stanza .…) This passage is telling the observer that they the young reaper boy is resting in the shade not caring that he is taking all the shade away from the women who brought lunch for him and lastly we find out that the tree is the center of their work day so that gives the observer a sense once of understanding of why the boy, tree, and the women are the main focal point of this picture. It is indeed because the tree is the center of these workers work day making them the center focal point of the painting and this poem by Williams Carlos Williams.

ashley S5 said...

"The Corn Harvest"

Gender roles and the the ignorance of the young

In the poem Corn Harvest, by William Carlos Williams, the morals and symbolic expressions of the poem is illustrated through the details of description in the painting by Bruegel. This painting is illustrating a young man in his village and enjoying the time off from the fields. It takes place in the summer. Summer is the time to relax and enjoy the long accomplishment that one does during the harsh weather climates of winter. The painting is expressing how peasants socialize and manage their time during the harvest season. It is identifying each peasant’s role in the community based on age and gender. It’s creating its detailed expression of the role of each peasant through the words spoken by Williams’ poem.

Younger peasants seemed to be more relax and lazy, while the elder peasants seemed more hardworking, ambitious characters. The young man expresses the attitude of young people by spending his time being lazy under the tree. He is out casting himself as if he wants to be alone and to be able to sleep and rest his body against the grass while laying his head against the tree as a pillow. This is demonstrating in the following stanza lines….. “The painting is organized about a young/ reaper enjoying his noonday rest completely/relaxed from his morning labors sprawled”(9). The middle aged men are more involved with the field. They work with more tools and are located deep into the fields where the sun seems to shine brighter and where the flames seem to increase its heat waves. The elder men present different characteristics then the other two age groups. They seem to share the same play roles as the women. They seem to have less importance and are less hard working. This is proven through the image of the elder man being the only man in the area when the women are gossiping.

The men and women are being separated through criticisms of their social traits. The men seem to be distanced from the group and more involved with their work. The women are portrayed as gossipers and are only worth for housewives and nothing more. They must serve in the commands of the men through cooking and caring for the needs of the men. The women are wearing rages as clothing and hats to protect their skin from the sun. They are seated underneath the shade of the tree as they gossip and prepare the meals for the men working the fields. They are gathering in a closed group as if no men can hear of their secrets and are out casting the men. This idea is presented through the lines…..” the women have brought him his lunch perhaps/ a spot of wine they gather gossiping under a tree” (18). The women have no purpose only of serving the men as masters.

The purpose of the poem is to reflect the words of Williams. Even though the peasants share the same qualities of a lifestyle of hard work, their style of relaxation are different. Harvest is the time to enjoy and eat what they have grown during time. The younger men are ignorant and separate themselves from civilization. The women have a desire to gossip and share the duty of serving the men.