Monday, March 14, 2005

"So Much Depends Upon" the Little Things

The Red Wheelbarrow
by William Carlos Williamson

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

While this poem by William Carlos Williams may well seem 'simple' in its very nature, in reality, there is much complexity within its lines. What I feel is important to first emphasize, is the emphatic nature of the first two lines: "So much depends / upon". While this line is literally talking about how much depends upon the wheelbarrow, in essense it is intended to draw attention to the fact that the simple things in life can be so overlooked regardless of the significant role that they can play in our lives. As much as we consider the wheelbarrow to be just a WHEELBARROW, it has so much use, and without it, people might find it difficult to adjust to its absense after becoming so dependent on its uses.

Furthermore, I feel that this poem is just as much about the red wheelbarrow as it is about the white chickens--the chickens, like the wheelbarrow, are often taken for granted for the role that they play in our lives. For many of us, the chicken represents food; food which is often assumed will always be at our disposal. In mentioning the chickens with the wheelbarrow, it serves to emphasize the fact that each is important in its own right.

Lastly, I wanted to reiterate the attempt of the poem to emphasize the "simple" (for lack of a better term, because I don't feel that these things are at all simple in their very nature, but are labelled as such because individuals tend to deem them as being insignificant) by looking at the fact that this one-sentence poem does not start with a capitalized word like a formal, gramatically correct sentence should. What this lack of capitalization serves to do is to emphasize the neglect that the poem is trying to articulate--in other words, it is implying that these objects are so 'ordinary' or 'simple' that their being a subject of a poem does not warrent the construction of a propper sentence. There is a real hap-hazardness trying to be expressed as a way of drawing attention to the absurdity of peoples' calous approach to the 'simple' things in life.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Jennifer said...

Testing

March 15, 2005 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Navita said...

Hi Jen,
I recently did a post onthis poem, and i think you might find it interesting. I researched the poem, and the key elements at work, and i think you might find it useful if you want a better understanding of the poem.

March 19, 2005 at 1:12 PM  
Blogger FrancaS said...

Hey Jen,

I enjoyed your blog and your interpretation of Williams'poem. I find too that there is much available in these short, one sentence poems. After reading The Red Wheelbarrow over and over, over the past few years, I have been able to grab something new each time I read it. I think, for instance, that the opening lines set the tone for the rest of the poem. Since the poem is composed of one sentence broken up at various intervals, it is truthful to say that "so much depends upon" each line of the poem. I say this because the form of the poem is also its meaning. This may seem confusing, but by the end of the poem the image of the wheelbarrow is seen as the actual poem, as in a painting when one sees an image of a tree, the tree represents an actual object in reality, but since it is part of a painting the tree also becomes the actual piece of art. These lines are also important because they introduce the idea that "so much depends upon" the wheelbarrow. Well, I just thought I would share my two cents.
Great blog!

March 20, 2005 at 8:28 AM  
Blogger Lora B said...

It's funny how much people do over look "insignificant" things, yet when they are not there, thier missed the most. Just imagine a person who used to jog or run everyday, was then hit by a car and could never run again. The legs they took for granted and never truly appreciated were then gone. And the once insignificant is now the basis of one's life. I loved how you expressed this poem. It made me think of so many things we take for granted in our everyday life.

March 21, 2005 at 2:51 PM  
Blogger JD said...

scaysbrook/elford!

hey it's justin

i hope you were able to extract something out of those "notes" you borrowed. a date, a phrase, something. i looked at it again and don't know what i was thinking...not much of anything, evidently.

anyway i am glad you picked this poem. i like it and think that you have a neat analysis of it.

to me, it seems that the red wheel barrow and the white chickens could be anything. i mean, that they are mentioned specifically, but they represent the large group of "little things" in life. it could be the red wheel barrow , rain, chickens, or it could be a fence, a beam of sun streaming through shutters, and some house flies. But I like Williamson's better. My point is that the poem seems at first to be about a few very specific things...but it might very well be about every small thing that ever was and ever will be.

good job, jenny-s!

March 21, 2005 at 9:28 PM  
Blogger Donna_f said...

We had to study this poem last year in one of my classes and something that ws interesting was the emphasis on "America" in the poem. The professor was telling us that the red wheelbarrow, the white chickens, and blue water represent that these chickes are American and Williams is saying even white American chickens can be art.

March 27, 2005 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger Donna_f said...

We had to study this poem last year in one of my classes and something that ws interesting was the emphasis on "America" in the poem. The professor was telling us that the red wheelbarrow, the white chickens, and blue water represent that these chickes are American and Williams is saying even white American chickens can be art.

March 27, 2005 at 7:15 AM  
Blogger crazygurltrin said...

Its funny how so much interpretation can arise from something so simple. I think this poem is more complex than what meets the eye. Your analysis is deep and i think u have a pretty good idea as to what williams was trying to reach at, who knows maybe he was trying to make us think of our own interpretation.

April 10, 2005 at 8:06 PM  

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