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The Ball Poem Analysis

Author: poem of John Berryman Type: poem Views: 3

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What is the boy now, who has lost his ball,

What, what is he to do?  I saw it go

Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then

Merrily over—there it is in the water!

No use to say 'O there are other balls':

An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy

As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down

All his young days into the harbour where

His ball went.  I would not intrude on him,

A dime, another ball, is worthless.  Now

He senses first responsibility

In a world of possessions.  People will take balls,

Balls will be lost always, little boy,

And no one buys a ball back.  Money is external.

He is learning, well behind his desperate eyes,

The epistemology of loss, how to stand up

Knowing what every man must one day know

And most know many days, how to stand up

And gradually light returns to the street

A whistle blows, the ball is out of sight,

Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark

Floor of the harbour . . I am everywhere,

I suffer and move, my mind and my heart move

With all that move me, under the water

Or whistling, I am not a little boy.


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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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the real meaning of this poem is only evident after the author's demise. It is in fact, the loss of innocence. The ball is symbolic of life; the only one he has been given. It is to the boy, a mysterious connection. He learns a hard lesson. That life is tenuous and only a slight misgiving and a crushing circumstance can cause the one life he has to be swept away. Even though, there are other balls this particular one has intrinsic value and must be carefully guarded or it can be lost. He connects this with his then future suicide that he has obviously pondered at great length.

| Posted on 2016-01-04 | by a guest

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I see the boy grow up with learning to let go off things in life. From the loss of the ball episode, he learns a lot and from a boy becomes a man over the years.
The poem is narrative and has different moods like the sadness of losing the ball and the seriousness in learning =g to explore the deep and the dark side of life. Also,I see the boy from a newer perspective of learning to take up challenges and sorrows.

| Posted on 2012-02-27 | by a guest

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i think that berryman is discussing the lost of both his father and his marriages. hes trying to deal with the loss that he has gone threw his whole life. i doubt that he speaking about childhood because thats just part of the entire poem altogether. the meaning of ball is loss. he chose ball because every little boy has a ball but he lost his.

| Posted on 2012-01-22 | by a guest

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the little boy has lost his ball...and so wat he can buy many new balls nut he has a very deep emotional attachment and memories associated with that ball so he regrets over the loss of the ball.
The poet is indeirectly trying to tell us the we should learn how to cope up with the loss...and money is external i.e we cant buy memories with money...
We all should learn our reaponsilbity and learn to cope up with the loss...

| Posted on 2011-09-25 | by a guest

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i believe berryman was writing about childhood.But not just childhood in general, but his own childhood. because of the loss of his father he gave up his childhood. this would technically be the ball the boy in the poem lost. sad.

| Posted on 2010-03-07 | by a guest

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Two imp. lessons to be learnt from this poem: Take care and responsibility of even the smallest thing you have (everything has its own value); and how to cope up with loss because some losses are inevitable.

| Posted on 2009-08-09 | by a guest

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The boy has discovered... at last it is seen. The true meaning of this poem.

| Posted on 2008-11-05 | by a guest

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I see something called maturity. The boy is evolving like a pokemon, a beautiful pokemon, like a butterfry. The boy is becoming one with his childhood while growing up. Like the samurai ninja. This is shown when the poet writes "Soon part of me will explore the deep and dark".

| Posted on 2008-11-05 | by a guest

.: analysis. :.

i see it about childhood.
losing the ball unexpectedly, loosing childhood unexpectedly.
having to care for yourself after your childhood flew by.

| Posted on 2008-05-11 | by a guest

.: analysis. :.

i see it about childhood.
losing the ball unexpectadly, loosing childhood unexpectadly.
having to care for yourself after your childhood flew by.

| Posted on 2008-05-11 | by a guest

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