The Deeper Meaning of Art Art portrays many aspects of one’s life such as social status, ideas, and even history. In the poem, “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”, by William Carlos Williams, social status is displayed by the peasant’s type of clothing, ideas of what the peasants dream and hope for is displayed, and history of how people acted and what it meant is shown compared to how we would see it as now. Williams writes his poems in a haiku form of three line stanzas and with his lack of punctuation, emphasizes the important words of the poem. Williams starts out with showing the dreams and hopes of the peasants. He begins his poem with describing how the peasants are dancing, “disciplined by the artist/to go round/& round” (1-3), explains how Brueghel, the artist, expresses the way the peasants have a never-ending work cycle. The peasants finally have a time where they are celebrating other than working. In the painting, we see the peasants dancing to the music playing, swinging their arms around, and having fun. Usually we see peasants working and being excluded from civilization as their social status are the lowest of the people and they have no connections other than between themselves and taking orders from other people. Williams expresses how the peasants dream for escape of this cycle of working and to be away from civilization saying, “they prance or go openly/toward the wood’s/edges” (15-17). Williams continues his poem with expressing the simplicity of the peasants. The clothing of the peasants is described by Williams, “ample-bottomed doxies/fills/the market square” (7-9) and “rough shoes and/farm breeches” (17-18). In the painting, we see the peasants wearing the clothes they go to work with, showing how poor the peasants are because they can’t afford formal wear. Moreover, we see how uncivilized they are with their bewildered dancing rather than proper dancing such as ballroom dancing. In addition, Williams’s expresses how uncivilized the peasants are with expressing how the peasants act, “mouths agape/Oya! /kicking up their heels” (19-21). They are acting almost like animals rather than normal human beings as they are so caught up in the moment of freedom from work and being able to let themselves go. The simplicity of the peasants on how they dance, dress, and express themselves portrays how different we judge society. In the painting, we see the peasants dancing and touching each other with music playing which is a sense of order for them. Nowadays, we see order as precise and exact. However, back then, they see order as balanced with the music and dancing being in complete harmony with one another. The history of how we looked upon order and society is shown with all the little details that Brueghel presents in his painting. In conclusion, this poem reveals the simplicity of the peasants and how they are trapped in a never-ending work cycle which they hope to escape. In addition, to the history of how we looked upon order compared to how we do now. Williams’ use of haiku reveals the deeper meaning of the ideas and images that Brueghel presents in his painting.
Dancing Happily in the Woods. In the poem, “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air” by William Carlos Williams, the author describes a scene where a group of peasants dance outside in the woods and everyone seems to be happy. Neither the bride nor the groom are described specifically, but instead a whole group of people is shown as having fun and being merry while dancing. The author’s choice of words and description transmit a view of happiness while relating in the poem how a group of peasants, who even though are away from civilization, feel joyous and excited while they celebrate a wedding by dancing together as a single group around the tress, while treating each other equally. The author explains through the description of the scene in the poem that people can be happy and have a good time without having to spend great amounts of money. The peasants were enjoying their time “in holyday gear” (line 4), and “a riotously gay rabble of peasants” (line 5) were dancing around. Even though they were in a place away form society, these peasants didn’t need a lot of money or knowledge in order to have a good time. Everyone seemed to know each other and the author describes them as “gear,” which means a “complete assembly,” and as “gay rabble,” which means happy tumultuous crowd” to describe them as a group dancing all together. By describing the peasants as being all together and not singling out the bride or the groom in the poem, the author makes clear that there are not differences between this group of people, not even when they are having fun. The peasants “prance or go openly toward the wood’s” not caring about anything else by dance. By saying that they “go openly toward the woods” describes them as being away from civilization or society, and that is the reason why there are not differences between them. Instead of creating this barrier that society creates between humans, the peasants just enjoy themselves and treat each other as if they are all the same; there is not even discrimination for who is or who is not the ones who should be enjoying the dance. In conclusion the author’s purpose in the poem is to let the reader know how everyone can have fun together as this group of peasants is doing. Society does not play any role in this dance, and everyone has fun together. The place does not matter either, so the author tries to say that there is not excused for treating each other differently or not having fun.
The Bottom Step of the LadderA picture can portray many ideas depending on the mind that interprets it. In “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”, William Carlos Williams suggests that peasants are at the bottom in the social hierarchy because of their clothing, manners, and god’s purpose for them. He created the poem after Bruegel’s painting called “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”. Williams writes this poem in haiku form to provide the reader with emphasis on certain words that he wants to stand out to provide greater meaning.There’s a belief that harmony is the balance in social order. William shows this belief by beginning his poem with “Disciplined by the artist/to go round/& round” (1-3). This explains that the peasants were trained by the artist, god to only go in a cycle within their position in the social hierarchy meaning that they could never ascend to a higher rank of wealthy. Yet even so, William notes the fact that the peasants still try to reach a higher rank by writing “they prance or go openly/towards the wood’s/edges” (13-15). The peasants will try with get a better life openly, with nothing holding them back as they try to reach out. They go towards the woods which can be associated with mystery or sin and edge which can mean death as in an edge of a knife. William expresses that the the peasants will stay in their class and can not get out of it and if they do they will face the ultimate consequence and this is what keeps the balance. No one is shifting classes so everything stayed balanced and ultimately keeps the harmony of the social hierarchy.The lower areas of any social ladder are usually composed of the people who lack manners and Williams scribes this in his poem by writing “a riotously gay rabble of/peasants and their” (5-6) and “mouths agape/Oya!/kicking up their heels” (19-21). The author uses words such as riotous and rabble to make the point that the peasants are disorderly. William uses this diction that has negative connotations to show the lack of any proper behavior they have. Then William writes about the actions of the peasants to show their unruly ways.The poor lower classes of a social hierarchy usually wear the less than finer pieces of clothing and William uses this to show that these humans in the painting are exactly the lower peasant class. He writes “their starched/white headgear” (11-12) to show that the women of this wedding dance do not have whole proper uniforms but only dresses since these peasants at the bottom of society are too poor and can not afford it. Then for the rest of the people William dresses them in “rough shoes and/farm breeches” (17-18) to also show that this wedding dance is not formal at all. Peasants wear their farm breeches everyday to work and then they take it to a wedding which William clearly takes note of.Society runs on a social hierarchy and at the bottom of it all are the peasants. We identify and rank people like almost how William does in Bruegel’s painting. What makes peasants peasants is how they appear, what they do, and religion. William shows that the people in the wedding are peasants through this. Social hierarchy exists everywhere and those at the bottom will be peasants or something very similar.
Marriage, a societal acceptance for giving into animal lust. In the poem The Wedding Dance In the Open Air, the poet William Carlos Williams uses word choice to suggest that marriage makes giving into one’s carnal desires socially acceptable. Williams had a group of poems based on some of Bruegel’s because of how Bruegel made each painting’s uniqueness not the focus of the painting. One’s eyes are first drawn to something that could be found in most paintings, rather than what makes it stand out. You have to look for what makes each one unique. In the painting, The Wedding Dance In the Open Air, there is arguably nothing to suggest that it is a wedding, aside from the title. The first sentence of the poem starts of with a phrase that some might find contradicting, “Disciplined by the artist,”(1). This is because the arts have been closely associated with the acceptance of ones human desires since the beginning of arts. The Greek and Roman god of theatre was also the god of wine. The artists create though instinct and express themselves by their own desires rather than societal norms. To say that people are “disciplined by the artist”(1) is a unique choice. The title suggests the music is for a marriage. Marriage is a societal norm, a very structured binding of two people. Williams’ combination of a highly structured word, “disciplined,”(1), and a instinctual word, “artist,”(1), suggests that marriage is a way for us to give into our human desires, but still be viewed as moral in society. “Holiday,”(4) suggest that the day William is describing is a time or period of exemption from any requirement, duty, or assessment. The day Williams is describing does not have to have any rules or regulations. This, again, is someone’s marriage day. This is the day that, if one believes in Christianity, is the first time that you are socially able to give into carnal desires, without any punishment or any dirty looks. On a normal day, not a holiday or after you are married, this act that binds a marriage is frowned upon in average society. Marriage makes these acts less dirty from a societal perspective. The crowd is becoming so consumed by the moment that they are becoming “riotously gay,”(5). This marriage day is growing to the point that it is riot like. Riots are an unrestrained outbreak, as of laughter or passions. That is to say that people are being uncontrolled by society, even though it is a day of marriage, which is as an act itself is meant to be very controlled by society. The crowd sees the marriage as a way to give into their own uncontrolled passion. The marriage made their merriment acceptable “Doxies,”(7) is a very contradicting word but goes along with this concept . It’s definition is either religious views, or an immoral woman. Either definition could be applied here. The people could be well anchored in their religious views, or it could be a comment on the women. The comment about religion would show their love to order, while the comment about woman would show a more animalistic view on woman. This concept could be applied to a view marriage. It is filled with order and righteousness, but inevitably leads to what, otherwise, is unclean. “Breeches,”(18) leads us to other ideas that support this conclusion, especially after looking up the definition of the word. “Breeches,”(18) has many different and interesting definitions such as riding pants, the lower portion of the human trunk, and the part of the firearm behind the barrel. Riding pants could be chosen by Williams to make us think of horses, which is an animal. Animals aren’t bound by society and look at intercourse in a different light because of it. On the marriage day it is acceptable to give into these animalist desires. The lower of portion of the human trunk is basically where all of the lust that marriage allows takes place. The firearm behind the barrel creates an image that is very suggestive in nature. “Breeches”(18) also leads one to think of the word breaches. Breach means to brake through. Marriage allows us to brake through societal standards and give into carnal desires. This concept that marriage makes intercourse socially acceptable is interesting, although the poem doesn’t suggest if it is a logical or illogical look at relationships. Williams wants point out that marriage creates a moral freedom for physical attention. He wants to let you see this and make your own decision on whether or not it is logical. Whether or not it is logical is your choice, but the fact that marriage is a way to be socially accepted and still be carnal is undeniable, and suggested throughout this poem
My first line is the title, but I don't how to space it out to make that clear, if anyone was confused.
Celebration Among The Unfortunate “The Wedding Dance In The Open Air” by William Carlos Williams and the inspired painting by Pieter Breughel gives the reader a description of what peasant life was like. Peasants were poor, working class people how were looked down at by the nobles and royalty. Williams is trying to manifest a point in his poem that happiness can be found anywhere even among the most unlikely people. The word wedding, where family and friends congregate to celebrate the binding of two individuals and the word dance, is an expression of emotion are place together and give the reader the impression that the dance is a happy or joyful expression. Open Air, the last two words in the title, seems to suggest freely with nothing holding back. The painting clearly depicts a mass of people happily dancing. The poet seems to reiterate this feeling of happiness between everyone and everyone has this mutual feeling of celebration in his writing. Williams writes about this sort of irony, which is going on with these peasants and their celebration. Williams tries to create a picture in the poem. It begins, “Disciplined by the artist/ to go round…”(line 1), meaning that Williams is trying to state that the artist tried to get the charters to look like they had a movement going on not like a still life. It’s a dance so it had to be disciplined by the artist to have some sort of movement. “In holiday gear” (4) is just festive colorful attire like Christmas, Easter And Valentines Day have these color associated with them. All these holidays have to do with gathering together and celebrating and being happy. The poem continues, “A riotously gay rabble of/ peasant and their ample-bottomed doxies/ fills/ the market square”(5 & 6) this tells the reader that the characters being created are of lower class or poor. The speaker also mentions ample-bottomed doxies, doxies which is a term referring to the women who are immoral like prostitutes and their figures. The poem goes on further about the women and their attire stating “their starched/ white headgear.”(11 & 12) This just creates a picture for the reader of the women character as poor and dirty women having a good time dancing at this market place.Since this is a celebration with a specific dance that poem proceeds and focuses again on the movement of the characters. “They prance or go openly/ toward the wood’s/ edges// round and around in/ rough shoes and/ farm breeches”(13-18) show the reader clear irony. The act of prancing is done usually out of happiness and the celebrators keep going forward “toward the wood’s edges”(14 & 15) in this free prancing motion. The lines after remind the reader that the characters are poor. They have “rough shoes and farm breeches”(17 &18) but it doesn’t stop them from dancing openly and gaily. “Mouths Agape/ Oya!/ kicking up their heels”, the last stanza, shows the joy going on in the celebration.People think that money brings happiness but that’s not always the case. Happiness can be found with the rich and with the poor.
The mob danceIn the poem “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”, the poet William Carlos Williams suggests that the poor are usually the ones who are being looked down. By depicting and understanding the meaning of Bruegel’s painting “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”, Williams is able to advocate Bruegal”s unique painting style, which is based on his own beliefs. At first, the speaker uses the peasants’ and women’s dancing movement to symbolize the routine of daily life. They are “to go round/ & round” (2-3); peasants and women are dancing with repeated movements. Similar to the dancing movement, the routine of daily life that we work, eat, and rest is a repeating process. And the poor can only rely on this routine, because poor people usually do not have the time to find their interests besides working. Even if they have interests, they do not have the expenses for them. Since the poor people’s lives are based on this routine, they are looked down by others. Continuing with the poem, the speaker addresses the dancing crowd directly as “a riotously gay rabble” (5); he is looking down on the crowd himself. With the use of the words “riotously gay”, the speaker points out that the crowd is uncontrollable and loud. Because the word “riotously” gives a feeling of unsettledness and rebellion, and “gay” means fairy excited, just as the emotions the crowd has on their faces in the painting. Also, using the word “rabble”, the speaker believes the crowd is a group of disordered peasants and women, because “rabble” literally means a mob. The speaker then turns to describing the women more attentively. Not being able to deny his contempt for the women, the speaker looks down on the women more than he does on the men. Since women are usually in the lowest class in the society, they are frequently and offended by others. The speaker addresses the women as “doxies” (7); he rudely offends them because “doxies” has a meaning of mistresses. The speaker views the women as dirt on the ground. He accuses them to be “doxies” of the men, to have immoral relationships with the men only because they are dancing with the men in the painting. Also, the speaker depicts the women’s apparels. He notices their “starched/white headgear” (11-12). Describing the headgear to be “starched”, the speaker reveals his contempt on the women because “starched” means outdated and un-fashion. Here, the women are looked down because they wear “starched” headgears. Without elegant clothes, the women dress plainly. Even though it’s not the women’s fault that they have to dress plainly, they are looked down anyways. Moving along with the poem, the speaker describes the movements of some peasants and women from the crowd, those who are hidden under the trees. In the poem, “they prance or go openly/toward the wood’s/edges” (13-15). The speaker focuses on their movements make to the tree-“prance”, it means to leap lively. He tells that the dancers are happy to rest after the dance. Even though it is only the “wood’s/edges” the dancers “prance for”, the dancers feels relieved and satisfied. This is similar to the living situations for the poor, because the poor are satisfied easily. They are happy with trivia such as a good night sleep, a good day or even just a good meal. The poor don’t have tremendous ambitions, they don’t work for innovations, and thus they don’t hope for huge life changes. The poor only repeat their daily routines: work, eat, and get rest, therefore, they are looked down by others. Just as those peasants and women resting under the tree in the painting, who are small and far away from the foreground, the poor are usually unnoticed. At the end of the poem, the speaker describes the movements of the dancing crowd again: “round and around” (16). The speaker does not only notice the crowd’s movements this time, but also their apparels. The peasants are wearing “rough shoes” (17) and “farm breeches” (18), which are so cheap that catches speaker’s sight and motives speaker’s contempt on the peasants. In fact, “rough” symbolizes the lives of the poor, and “farm” symbolizes their occupations. Like the peasants in the paintings, they have rough lives that are due to vulgar occupations as farmers. As a result, they are naturally looked down by others. At last, the poem ends with the dancers “kicking up their heels” (21), and making the sound of “Oya!” (20) with “agape” (19) mouths. The speaker still looks down at the dancer crowd, because “mouths agape” is usually used to describe the exaggerated and astonished faces of the poor when they overreact to news that others considered to be normal. And “Oya!” is considered to be an unacceptable sound to make in decent parties. The dancers look exactly like animals while they make the sound “Oya!” and “kick their heels”. Without doubts, these animals-look-alikes are inevitably looked down by others. William Carlos Williams successfully expresses his thoughts over the painting “The Wedding Dance in the Open Air”. He suggests Bruegel’s view toward the society. Both Bruegel and Williams believes that the poor are usually the ones who are being looked down. Throughout William’s nine poems, William suggests that there is a differentiation between classes.
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