Not Waving but Drowning Essay

723 WordsApr 14, 20133 Pages
wninLike many of Smith's poems, "Not Waving but Drowning" is short, consisting of only twelve lines, divided into three stanzas. The narratives take place from a third-person perspective and describes the circumstances surrounding the "dead man" described in line one. The poem deals both metaphorically and literally with a man, lost in the sea, who is crying out and waving for help, but is misinterpreted as a friendly wave. When one gets past the swimming metaphor of the poem, they'll find that the man has found himself in isolation, but seems to hide his true feelings. No one hears his cries for help or recognizes his struggle. This poem explores the idea of isolation by being misunderstood by the people around you. The poet deepens the reader’s appreciation of the theme by employing imagery, contrast and an unclear tone. The poems' overall theme is that the dead man was lost his entire life. He was never waving to the people that passed in and out of his life, but crying for help all along. In the first verse both physical and emotional isolation are explored with the imagery of a drowned man. The first line, “Nobody heard him”, introduces the physical isolation of the man as he was so far away no one could hear, but also could mean that no one was listening and understanding him, he was isolated by having no one to turn to. There is a confusion of tenses, “the dead man…lay moaning”, however, the poet is using the dead man as a symbol for her own feelings of loneliness. The man really wanted to be helped; he wanted to be heard, especially in his time or urgent need. Since it says \"still lay moaning\" it shows that he had been trying to show his pain for a long time, but he was hiding behind false emotions with hidden meanings. The word “Moaning “ show the pain, grief, hurt and misery experienced by this ‘’poor chap.’’ The lines “I was much further out than you
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