William Carlos Williams Poem Essay

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This poem’s theme focuses on a man driven mad by love. The mood is desperate, frantic, and hungry. The tone is passionate, showing components of nervousness, wildness, and insanity. This is seen through Williams’ flashes of imagery: “yellow, yellow, yellow it eats into the leaves, smears with saffron” (lines 2-4). Giving this imagery allows the reader to see the speaker going crazy, as flashes of yellow rapidly consuming leaves go throughout his mind. With the use of neutral diction, the speaker is showing that he is being driven to madness by his passionate yearning for his lover. The subject is the speaker’s passionate longing for his lover. The yellow is symbolic of his mental state without his lover. Yellow typically symbolizes sickliness, decay, and withering. This is showing what is occurring to the speaker because his lover is gone and “far off there,” as written in the last stanza (line 17). The occasion is a man in love is missing his lover. He yearns for her, as shown through him driven to madness, and this is also seen in the first stanza when he says, “I lie here thinking of you.” The audience is his lover, because it shows he is speaking to her when he says, “I lie here thinking of you.” It seems that she is far off in the distance somewhere. She may not even be real, but he yearns for this woman he has been dreaming of, seen through the line 1, “I lie here thinking of you.” The speaker’s insanity is also shown through lines 2-3, saying, “…the stain of love is upon the world!” A stain is formally known as a penetrating coat of a substance on an object. By the speaker stating “the stain of love is upon the world,” he means to say the thought of his lover is constant, as if she has stained his mind, because no matter where he turns, he sees love. He recognizes his desperate longing for her through this stain. Also mentioned in line 9 is a “smooth purple

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