"Dunbarton" by Robert Lowell is one of the poems from his "Life Studies" book. It's a short poem of only two pages but it has very deep meaning. The poem alludes to the poet's relationship with his grandfather. In this essay I will analyze this piece in detail and talk about the author's connection with his grandfather.
Robert Lowell prefers the use of free verse for his poems. He doesn't use a specific style for this piece; it is more free styled. He uses poetic language but there is no metered rhythm in the poem. Lowell even said once in an interview: "Prose is in many ways better off than poetry...I thought poetry was getting increasingly stifling. I couldn't get my experiences into tight metrical forms" (J. Myers and D. Wojahn, p. 154). He was also the first poet who wrote about his family to tell the truth about them, and "took the laundry out on the public." In "Life Studies", the author talks about his parents and the family members. Lowell writes about himself as well as his family members in a very critical way, which was unheard of at that time. Though some of the facts are not true and are exaggerated, his poems satirize the family. He does a lot of character description, and he performs it with a great irony. Many metaphors and details make his works very twisted. In a way, he confuses the reader but at the same time, he interchanges that with some sentences that are short, sharp, and very direct. Sometimes, they are even too straightforward: "He was my father. I was his son" (Line 10). He didn't seem to have much love for his father; however, he had a great connection with his grandfather.
The poem opens with the following:
"My Grandfather found
his grandchild's fogbound solitudes
sweeter than human society" (Lines 1-3).
By this sentence, the author says that his grandfather enjoyed his company better than the society and that he loved the time spent with his grandson. This is a good pre-setting for this poem. The reader is told right away that the two had a good relationship and love. At the same time, it gives the reader a feeling of something not very real but of some other world. Though grandparents love their grandchildren, they do not usually prefer their company to the society. Nevertheless, Lowell considered his grandfather his dad. Even his family members, when they said "your Father" (Line 9), meant his grandfather. The reason is that his real dad was a navy officer and was always away from home: "Daddy was still on sea-duty in the Pacific" (Line 5). In the beginning of the second paragraph, he says: "He was my father. I was his son" (Line 10). This shows that the love was mutual between the grandson to the...