English 254 Class #8 Mon, Feb 4
W C Williams: The Young Housewife, This is Just to Say, Red Wheelbarrow
*Paper Due Wed
*Impressionist: a direct impression of nature, expressed in purely pictorial form.
*Imagism, central features: exactness, precision, compression, common speech, free
*No ideas but in things: which is to say that the objects of the physical world as filtered
through his consciousness and into the poem will bring us a new knowledge of
*Pound: The artist’s need to destroy or deconstruct what has become outworn and to
reassemble or recreate with fresh vision and language. “Make it new.”
*What appears simple is not necessarily simplistic.
*Listen for the voice in these poems.
“The Young Housewife”
1. What is this poem about?
2. How would you describe the speaker?
3. What is his attitude toward the young housewife?
4. What is your attitude toward her? What is she like?
5. What are the primary images in the second stanza? Do they form a coherent idea/image cluster? Are they complementary—that is, do they work together?
6. What kinds of different “barriers”—walls, containers—does the poem bring to our attention?
7. How is she like a fallen leaf? How is she not like a fallen leaf?
“This is Just to Say”
1. Williams claims this was an actual note to his wife. If it is also a poem, what makes it a poem? If it were written in prose form as a note, would it be poem? If not, is form more important than content in the making of poetry?
2. What’s the tone of the poem, and how does the tone affect the meaning?
3. What is its theme—the subject, and the poem’s point about that subject?
“The Red Wheelbarrow”
1. What does "so much" refer to? How much, and why?
2. What can you learn from the line breaks?
3. What can you learn when analyzing the imagery: the color, shape, texture, and juxtaposition of objects?
4. What two ways of observing and valuing the world does the poem imply?