Mary Oliver's "The Journey" analysis Essay

Mary Oliver S The Journey Analysis Term paper

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“The Journey” We All Encounter By Mary Oliver Life is An ongoing Journey that all people must undergo. Mary Oliver causes the reader to fully experience the lifelong struggle of finding her/himself. Ultimately the common goal in this poem, and in our lives, is to show one’s need to find his/herself through the countless obstacles in our way. The idea that this poem is ongoing and lacking stanza breaks can implicitly illustrate the
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notion that life itself is ongoing without “breaks”. The view that through good and bad (obstacles), we all must go on is represented in lines 10-12, “Mend my life!” each voice cried. But you didn’t stop. Oliver is explaining to the reader that although we will discover many hardships in life, we must move on and continue our personal journey as seen in line 12, “But you didn’t stop”. The lack of stanza breaks also causes the reader to move more quickly through the poem. He/she is “pulled” through the poetry because many of the sentences are short and contain only three to four words. Another cause of “pulling” through the work is that many sentences are cut off and continued on the next line. Oliver is doing this to get an intense feeling across to the reader, the feeling of urgency and the definitive need to reach that final goal of life’s journey. The idea of urgency can be seen in lines 1-4: One day you finally knew What you had to do, and began, though the voices around you kept shouting. The feeling previously mentioned of being “rushed” through the poem can be compared to the quickness of life. Our lives go by faster than we expect. People don’t usually realize just what their goal of life’s journey is, until they finally reach the end. Oliver is quickly pulling the reader toward the end of the poem because that is where we find the reason or goal for this “journey”. Throughout the poem lines are interchanging from long to short to represent some of the ups and down we as human beings must endure while on life’s journey to find oneself. The “ups”, or long lines, represent the moments when we are well on our way to success and achievement in life. An example of these “ups” is line 13, “You knew what you had to do”. This is one of the longest lines in the poem and is a positive statement that illustrates the “achievement” of finding out what has to be done to gain the ultimate goal. Another long line in the poem is line 24, “as you left their voices behind”. This line is another one of the longest and states the “success” of leaving other people behind in order to get closer to your life’s goal. The feelings of sadness or frustration are seen in the shorter lines of the poem. An example of the “downs” in life is seen in lines 4-5, “ kept shouting/their bad advice-”. These lines have only a couple words in each and state the negative side of life’s journey. The interchanging long and short lines can be seen throughout the entire poem. An obvious example of this poem’s “shape” is in lines 17-19, though their melancholy was terrible. It was already late. Line 17 is long and proceeded by a shorter line. The short line 18, is then followed by the longer line 19. By showing the visual “ups and downs” of “the Journey”, Oliver is demonstrating that she recognizes that the journey is strenuous and difficult. The hardships that come with life’s journey are also illustrated with Oliver’s word choices. Throughout “The Journey”,
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