Thursday, February 26, 2015

Analysis of "Marriage" by Lawrence Raab

Poem found here: "Marriage" by Lawrence Raab



This poem does transitions really well: from hypothetical to real, to male to female, to third to first person and so the content of the poem is more of a compliment to the form and vice versus; however, the content of the poem is quite contrasting.

The poem is a narrative which starts off with the background that "years later" -- more like an afterthought.  The narrative starts out with the husband asking hypothetical questions?

     What if
     I hadn’t phoned, he says, that morning?
     What if you’d been out,
     as you were when I tried three times
     the night before?

Note that this is the only lines the husband have -- he is the one that brings in the doubt in the relationship.  Or rather, by instigating the questioning he's awaiting a response (there is no response from the husband later on in the poem.  The transition then is to the woman who "tells him a secret."

"She's been there all evening"  -- dun dun dunn.  She was there all along able to take his call.  So the implied question is why.   Note that the end of two lines end with "knew" and "felt" as though she had a premonition of what was going to come "her life would change."  This idea is key to the poem because this phrase, although general, draws in an emotional confusion which the language does propose.

"I was afraid"  -- for some reason, I would apply this phrase to the "now" since she's revealing a secret.  Note how the phrase turns to the first person here to "I was afraid" and, by doing so, makes it feel that the poem is more personal with the resolution being:

     I also knew it was you, but I just
     answered the phone
     the way anyone
     answers a phone when it starts to ring,
     not thinking you have a choice.

She did pick up the phone knowing it was him, knowing it was life changing.  But note how she dismisses the overall gut feelings she had in the beginning.  She just answered the phone -- not thinking you have a choice.  There's implications of fate versus destiny.  But the significant part of this poem is it ends where it ends.  This is a narrative poem not a narrative.  Note there is no judgement calls, just the situation explained and the silence we, as readers, have to take.

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