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The Red Wheel Barrow

3 Pages 668 Words

The Weight of Words
The first time a person reads “The Red Wheelbarrow” they feel weight behind the words. The poem is only one sentence, but it holds so much meaning that you can feel it in between the lines. It is so dense that reading it just once only begins to open the intricate symbols between the first word and the last. In only four short lines Williams draws a powerful image of man’s infinite connections with nature through a system of allegorical symbols and changes in point of view.
Williams is an imagistic poet. Imagistic poets carefully chose their words to draw a greater image for the reader. In “The Red Wheelbarrow” he gives us three separate images: the red wheelbarrow, the rain water, and the white chickens.
The three images that Williams gives the reader are important to consider as a whole because they draw the scene. Williams who liked to write about small town life was writing about a farm. The wheelbarrow is the first and most important piece of the picture that Williams draws for us.
The writer’s opening line serves the purpose of distinguishing the red wheelbarrow as part of a greater system. The wheelbarrow serves a primary function in the system of farming by allowing the farmer to move earth from one place to another. This is necessary for cultivating land and certainly makes agriculture possible. The fact that the wheelbarrow is red is suggestive of a more feminine symbol of the maturation cycle another cycle of life (Youngberg 153).
The second image is of the rain water. Rain serves as a carrier for nutrients and hydrates plants on a farm. Williams uses the water as a symbol of growth. From a greater perspective the symbol water is one of purification. The rain water glazing the wheelbarrow is like a natural purification connecting the wheelbarrow to the earth (Youngberg 152).
The third image that Williams paints is the white chickens. The chickens tie everything together ...

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