An Analysis Of The Speaker In Yvor Winter's At The Essay

An Analysis Of The Speaker In Yvor Winter S At The Essay

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In Yvor Winters poem, "At the San Francisco Airport" a father is saying goodbye to his daughter. We don't know where she is going or why, but we do know that the act of letting his daughter go is very hard for him. The father makes it clear that he is hurting, and watching his daughter leave is difficult for him. Throughout the poem we go inside of the father's mind and are able to read his thoughts. We begin to feel his pain and can plainly see the theme: letting someone go is painful. From the first stanza and the title, we can clearly see that the poem takes place in a terminal at the San Francisco Airport at night. Obviously they are inside of the airport because of the reference to the "Great planes waiting in the yard." The speaker also makes references to "the light / give (ing) perfect vision, false and hard." If you've ever been inside of an airport you know that the florescent lights are very harsh and bright. Again in the fourth stanza the speaker says "The rain of matter upon sense / Destroys me momently." I believe that this is also a reference to the bright lights shining down on him and his daughter. And finally in the last stanza the speaker refers to the light once more when he sees his daughter leave, "And I remain in the light and stare-- / In light, and nothing else, awake." Although we are uncertain when this poem is supposed to take place, after reading it we can see that its message transcends time. The speaker of this poem is a father ;whether it is Winters himself we do not know. As the father is waiting in the airport with his daughter, he reflects on the situation. He sees her as "small, / Contained and fragile, and intent." He knows that she must go and do "things that (he) but half recall(s)." Because we do not have a lot of information about the daughter, we do not know how old she is or why she is leaving. I think that she is grown and is leaving for college, probably her first time away from home. The father feels sad but he knows he must let her go. As does she. We see this in stanza three, "The frightened brain, the nervous will, / The knowledge of what must be done." Both of them share this feeling. I think that Winters chose wisely in telling the poem from the father's point of view. It allows us inside the mind of a parent who knows what must be done, even if they don't want it to. Most poems like this are told from the child's point of view, so in Winters not choosing the daughter as the speaker, we are offered a unique insight into the mind of a parent. And eventually the father comes to the realization that "(he is) the past, and that is all." In conclusion, I think that the words Winters chooses to express the fathers feelings about letting his daughter go are very fitting. And since most people have experienced this type of loss, they are easily able to relate to the situation. This is a very well written poem about a very personal experience. Yvor Winters does an excellent job of presenting it to us.

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