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Why A Generation Acts In The Ways In Which They Do: "Why Young Men Are So Ugly" By Tony Hoagland

1091 words - 4 pages

Why Young Men Are So Ugly by Tony Hoagland is a fantastic poem because I think it gives a hidden reasoning for why a certain generation of people acts in the ways in which they do. Upon reading the name of the poem, I immediately noticed how out there it was, which gave me the idea that the author may be an outspoken person. The title was effective in making me interested in the poem, because it stuck out and wasn’t a topic I’d ever read a piece about. Why Young Men Are So Ugly is a poet’s explanation of what goes on inside a young man’s mind, and on the inside of his body, despite what that young man may be displaying through his actions and words.
The fact that Tony Hoagland was once a young man himself, and so this need for explanation is somewhat personal. Hoagland is giving reasoning for an experience he’s been through, which is probably why the poem clearly demonstrates a familiarity with the topic. Personification is an extravagant part of the poem, and used frequently. The first major and significant example of personification is in the second stanza “Making the metal ring like sledgehammers on iron/like dungeon prisoners rattling their chains.” (Hoagland). These two lines created an apparent image in my mind of what the author described was going on inside a young man’s body. I thought these lines could have been a comparison to the emotions one may be going through, a way for the author to explain how he could have felt, and had gave me the feeling he was crying out for someone to understand a certain frustration.
I thought the third stanza in Why Young Men Are So Ugly had a lot of hidden meanings and significance. “That is why they shriek their tires at the stopsign/ why they turn the bass up on the stereo until it shakes the traffic light, until it/dry humps the eardrum of the crossing guard.” (Hoagland) This quote from the poem reminded me of how I know I’ve felt hundreds of times, where you come to a stop, are faced with crossroads and aren’t sure of what to do with or in life. The reference to turning up the bass on a stereo was even more relatable because it’s very common for people to use music to block out reality, which is what I think the author was trying to get to here. Even if someone didn’t use music in particular, and used art for example, they still have that sense of temporarily separating themselves from the rest of the world. The last line in the stanza, I think is focusing on what happens at the crossroads when someone directs you which way to go. It sounds like the author is saying that there’s always going to be someone else there, even if they can’t tell you which way to go, they’re still trying to understand what you’re going through and watching you experience it, which would be the significance of the crossing guard in the last line. I feel like this third stanza is especially personal because so many people could probably relate to it like I did,...

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