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A Mournful Resentment Essay

621 words - 3 pages

The tone of Brendan Galvin’s poem “An Evel Knievel Elegy” is quickly established by the writer’s use of the word elegy. Elegy is defined to be a sad lyrical poem or song that expresses sorrow for someone who is dead. In this poem the writer chooses to reflect on some of the public events in the life of motorcycle stuntman, Evel Knievel. This free verse poem has no stanzas or rhyme scheme and there is no set rhythm. The poet’s use of the word “We” in the first line implies the speaker and the poet are one in the same.

The speaker is addressing Knievel directly and begins the first sentence by sympathizing with him and uses imagery to communicate Knievel’s attempts as failures. Even if the reader did not know Evel Knievel the image of a “malfunctioning parachute” witnessed by bystanders can lead to the conclusion that Knievel provided some kind of spectator entertainment and allows the reader to feel not only sympathy, but empathy. Everyone can relate to some kind of public shortcoming or embarrassment. However before this compassionate tone takes over the entire poem, the speaker gives a cutting remark about a “mental bungee cord” that prevents “flops.” He continues with a metaphor of “sacks of poker chips” and assumedly Knievel’s body that was thrown from his motorcycle and resulted in his month long coma. The speaker alludes that normal people have the metal capacity to stop themselves before real danger.

This melancholy tone continues when the speaker begins the second sentence with another metaphor describing Knievel as “our star spangled Icarus.” Icarus, is a Greek mythical character who fell to his death when he attempted to fly too close to the sun on man made wax wings. The speaker is continuing his portrayal of Knievel’s failures. Knievel was also known for his patriotic outfits that he wore...

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