Byzantium Persuasive Speech

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We’re movin’ on up. (If you’ve got the theme song from The Jeffersons in your head here, you’re in the right place.) Want to know why? Well, as our speaker says, the country we were in before pretty much sucked. It's a nice enough place to be if you're young and pretty and perfect, but once you start to show a few wrinkles or some grey hairs, things get ugly fast. In other words, it was a pretty brutal place to be. After all, who can be young and pretty and perfect all the time? Our speaker decides that the old country is for the birds. Literally. It’s obsessed with the latest trends. Whatever’s newest and prettiest gets all the attention. There’s no interest in things that might endure for generations. It’s sort of like a really bad episode…show more content…
He’s so ready to get the heck outta Dodge that Byzantium (a country nearby) starts to sound pretty appealing. It sounds so appealing, in fact, that he sails there. Byzantium is a holy city, which works out well for our speaker. In fact, he’s expecting a revelation. Primarily, he’s hoping that the wise folk in Byzantium will consume his soul. Once in Byzantium, our speaker starts thinking about death. Hmm….pleasant, right? Well, yes, actually. In Byzantium, death becomes something that can be thought about realistically (which is a big improvement over our speaker’s old home). In fact, once he starts reflecting about death, he actually begins to figure out ways to commemorate life. According to the speaker, the best way to commemorate life is art. (You had to know that one was coming. After all, this is a poem.) He finally decides that art becomes a way to lodge the soul in a new "bodily form." He’s not expecting the pictures on the walls to start talking or anything. That only happens in the Harry Potter books. Art can, however, bear witness to the past. That’s pretty cool. At least, it’s good enough for our speaker. That is no country for old…show more content…
Besides the fact that the first line of this poem reminds us of a rather gory movie that’s recently come out (see "Why Should I Care?" for more on this), it’s a bit confusing. We’re told that "that" country isn’t so great for the old folks. But which country is "that" country? England? The United States? Ireland? Uzbekistan? Well, we’re not going to get any help on that one from the poem itself. All we can say for sure is that it’s not "this" country: that is, it can’t be the place where the speaker is now. Huh? All these pronouns are getting confusing! Where the heck are we? Well, think about it this way: if you’re talking about the crummy fast food restaurant you’re eating in right now, you might say something like, "This place is a dump." If you’re cracking jokes about the restaurant across the way, you’d say that "that place" is even worse. Here’s the problem, though: if all we know so far concerns that country over there, then we’re…nowhere. Like we said, this is getting confusing. So, let’s focus on what we do know. "That" country sucks for old people. As far as we can tell, then, our speaker must be an old person. After all, if it’s so good over there for the young ‘uns, then why would our speaker

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