Not Waiving But Drowning Essay

751 WordsJun 22, 20114 Pages
730 words Literature 100 April 25, 2011 Poetry Report: “Not Waving But Drowning” For my poetry report, I decided to read and analyze a poem by Stevie Smith titled “Not Waving But Drowning.” I found this poem interesting on many levels. Some of the language used was peculiar and somewhat foreign. Also, The way the stanzas were formed was interesting. Also, having done some research on the author, I found that the author Stevie wasn’t a man, but a woman. All these elements combined made the decision to review this poem for my report compelling to me. When I say some of the language used was peculiar and somewhat foreign, I am not saying the language was an actual foreign language. I am saying although this is English used in the poem, it is British English. The British often use different words than American English. For example, in the poem, the author writes, “poor chap,” she is not talking about rough or cracked skin. The author is using chap to say man. I looked up the etymology of the word chap on Dictionary and found that the origin of chap is shortened from the word Chapman which meant “Dealer or Customer” in 16th Century English. (Wiktionary 2011) Another word in the poem that I found to be odd was when the author writes “larking about.” I have never heard anyone use the word larking let alone know what the heck the author is talking about. So, once again, I took to the Internet to look this word up. Turns out, a lark is a bird but most likely the author was not saying the poor guy was always acting like a bird. The definition for the verb Larking is “To engage in fun or spirited merry pranks.” ( 2011) So, this poor guy who was always known as a prankster, was not taken seriously the day he was drowning. There he was, probably flailing about and everyone that saw him probably thought, there he goes with his tricks

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