A Commentary on the Geranium by Theodore Roethke Essay
The verse form “The Geranium” by Theodore Roethke tells the narrative of a unmarried man. once a party animate being. now a lonely. aging adult male. through a sustained metaphor which uses the speaker’s geranium as a symbol for the neglect of his ain wellness. The works is ne’er good. nor is he. due to the talker being as inconsiderate to the geranium as he is to himself. With imagination. initial rhyme. and symbolism. much is learned about the talker through a simple geranium to which he is per se intertwined.
We can see right from the beginning with lines such as “limp and bedraggled. . . / . . . like a ill poodle / Or a shriveled aster in late September. ” ( 2-4 ) that our talker does non believe really extremely of himself nor his geranium. The forms give a hapless. aging feel ; the comparing to a “wizened aster” is peculiarly powerful. It suggest that like the flower. the talker is no longer “in bloom” . so-to-speak. That his coloring material has faded. and he is past his prime.
The subjects of aging and come ining a new life phase come up once more in line 6: “For a new everyday –” . The caesura brings the reader to a arrest ; its sudden and concluding nature is evocative of an stoping. The words in the line itself indicate a new beginning. which creates an interesting consequence. This line could be representative of the terminal of the speaker’s young person and bachelorhood. every bit good as the beginning of a new point in his life. The act of taking the geranium out to the rubbish could besides be symbolic of altering life phases ; puting it by the rubbish could be representative of the terminal of one rhythm. and conveying it back could stand for get downing afresh.
In following with the thought of get downing anew. our talker shows programs of lifestyle alteration ; he plans to alter for the better and agrees that “Sustenance seemed sensible” ( 8 ) The initial rhyme here evokes a childlike. slightly self-deprecating feel. as though the talker is call on the carpeting himself for non retrieving something that seemed so simple. The fact that the talker managed to bury this in the first topographic point could besides bespeak that he has let his wellness travel in the yesteryear. which is further evidenced near the terminal of the stanza. where the talker negotiations about life “ . . . on gin. bobbie pins. half-smoked cigars. dead beer” ( 10 ) every bit good as the effects of such irresponsible actions ; he talks of being “shriveled” and “dried out” . It’s clear both the talker and his works have suffered from such a manner of life. It besides seems to uncover the careless and slightly unqualified nature of the talker. After all. if you can’t even take attention of a works. how can you take attention of yourself?
In the following stanza we get another glimpse into our speaker’s former life. He talks of “ . . . dense dolls shrilling half the night” ( 16 ) every bit good as more reference of intoxicant. The pieces of the speaker’s past we have received therefore far can be put together to organize the image of a foolhardy unmarried man who gives no idea of tomorrow. With the current events of the verse form. we can see how this lifestyle doesn’t do much for our talker now that tomorrow is here. In this stanza we besides get to hear the storyteller describe himself straight for the first clip. but he still ties himself to the works. showcasing how to a great extent interconnected he and the geranium are. The talker says that they are both “seedy” . which is a instead interesting drama on words due to the fact that it means seamy or shabby. or could be used in the context of works seeds. The term acknowledges both the similarities and differences between the talker and the geranium.
In the 3rd stanza and concluding two lines. the speaker’s amah tosses the geranium in the rubbish which angers him so much he fires her. The actions of the amah would evidently ache our talker. seeing as the suffering. wilted geranium was his lone friend. There is besides the possibility that it was the cause of the actions of the amah that truly wounded the storyteller ; that is was the fact that the amah saw something so correspondent to himself as useless rubbish that drove him into sufficiency of a fury to plunder his amah. Thus the verse form ends with the talker no better away than he was in the beginning ; possibly even worse. now that the amah has brought to illume how worthless the speaker’s life truly is.
Even though workss and people are seen as self-sufficing beings. “The Geranium” high spots that in order to truly flower. attention. compassion and company from another are required. Theodore Roethke’s usage of drab. aged linguistic communication and bland scenes create a desolate ambiance which provides the model for the narrative of a adult male who seems to hold disregarded this until it was excessively late.