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William Carlos Williams Essay

1602 words - 7 pages

William Carlos Williams once said, “It is not what you say that matters, but the manner in which you say it.”(Examiner) This is a view he often incorporated into his poetry. Williams’ purpose through writing poetry was not to teach a moral, but to convey that simple things can be beautiful. Although many of Williams’ poems show this beauty in simplicity, a few good examples are The Red Wheel Barrow, The Great Figure, and Young Sycamore.
William Carlos Williams was born in Rutherford, New Jersey on September 17, 1883. William grew up around different ancestries; His father, William George Williams, was English. His mother, Raquel Helene Hoher, was Puerto Rican (PoemHunter). Williams' ...view middle of the document...

Williams continued to run his business and write poetry but when his mother died in 1949 it greatly upset Williams who began to have several strokes and become depressed. Williams continued his devotion to writing before he passed away on March 4, 1963 (PoemHunter). For most of his life, Williams had been a doctor; he often noticed small thing and it is possible that his career had an affect on the simple subjects of his writing in which he was able to notice a unique beauty.
One of William Carlos Williams’ most well-known poems is The Red Wheelbarrow. The Red Wheelbarrow shows that Williams’ purpose is not to teach a moral through his poetry, but to use imagery to express that simple things are beautiful. Within the poem, Williams uses his tone and causal wording to create images in the mind of the reader. The first stanza of the poem, “so much depends / upon” sets the tone for the rest of the poem, seeming as though there are heavy memories or emotions attached to it. The other three stanzas, “a red wheel / barrow / glazed with rain / water / beside the white / chicken” causes the reader to visualize a plain farm scene. In doing this, Williams creates a beautiful image of a rural area just after a storm that causes the wheelbarrow to shine with a glistening coat of fresh rainwater under the new afternoon sun.
One critic states that while Williams’ poem, The Red Wheelbarrow, may be considered irrelevant and overly simple to some readers, by further reading into the poem, it can be seen that The Red Wheelbarrow depends upon Williams use of imagery. By creating images within the reader’s mind of the shiny red wheelbarrow that was glazed with rain being placed beside the white chickens it causes a picture to form in the mind of the reader (Archer). Using these internal images shows that Williams’ purpose was not to teach a moral but to portray that common objects can have beauty.
In another critics review, they state that in Williams’ work, it was not the objects he incorporates in his poem, but more so the way in which he uses his words to shape those objects and create images in his reader’s mind. The critic believes that in Williams’ work he is able to take common objects in life and produce a new outlook on the significance of that object. The critic states that by integrating such common objects into his work, Williams causes his readers to rethink how they see many of the materials encounter everyday (Sayre). In doing this, Williams’ readers begin to see the beauty within simple objects, such as a red wheelbarrow.
Another poem that Williams wrote that expresses that his goal was not to teach a moral through his poetry but to show that simple things can be beautiful is The Great Figure. The Great Figure is about a firetruck rushing through the city late at night. Williams uses imagery to create an image in the reader’s mind starting with the first lines saying, “among the rain/ and lights.” And also later in the poem when Williams says,...

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