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The Abortion Analysis

Author: poem of Anne Sexton Type: poem Views: 17

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Somebody who should have been born

is gone.

Just as the earth puckered its mouth,

each bud puffing out from its knot,

I changed my shoes, and then drove south.

Up past the Blue Mountains, where

Pennsylvania humps on endlessly,

wearing, like a crayoned cat, its green hair,

its roads sunken in like a gray washboard;

where, in truth, the ground cracks evilly,

a dark socket from which the coal has poured,

Somebody who should have been born

is gone.

the grass as bristly and stout as chives,

and me wondering when the ground would break,

and me wondering how anything fragile survives;

up in Pennsylvania, I met a little man,

not Rumpelstiltskin, at all, at all...

he took the fullness that love began.

Returning north, even the sky grew thin

like a high window looking nowhere.

The road was as flat as a sheet of tin.

Somebody who should have been born

is gone.

Yes, woman, such logic will lead

to loss without death. Or say what you meant,

you coward...this baby that I bleed.


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

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“The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” appears to be a brilliant and vivid example of a Gothic tale. It is over welmed with plenty of horror details and mystical events. The bright and humorous beginning of the story turns into a scary and horrifying end. Washington Irving uses a range of devices for creating and enhancing the atmosphere of terror: the setting, untamed nature, a dense of dark forest, colors, light, sounds, supernatural, human psychology, the innate fears, symbolism etc.
This is an interesting story about Ichabod Crane (the protagonist), his life in a small American country town at the beginning of the nineteenth century, where superstitions abound and strange tales are told. It is also a story about a Headless Horseman who lurks at night. Ichabod comes to Sleepy Hollow as a teacher and falls in live with Katarina van Tassel, a wealthy daughter of the Dutch farmer. He settles there not knowing about weird events that take place in this, at first sight, peaceful and quiet valley. But soon he becomes aware of all strange things that happen there, his head becomes full of stories about these supernatural figures and events, and he is forced to face the terrifying apportion and experience his worst fears. The elements of horror and terror, known also as Gothic elements emerge throughout the story, where the ancient legends, as well as Romantic rivalry are carefully presented in the character of the Headless Horseman and come to life through his mysterious appearance. But it is not just the Headless Horseman that represents elements of horror, there are also many other gothic elements that we encounter throughout the story. Unpleasant surroundings, mysterious stories and legends and ghosts make this story a “Ghost Story”. Washington Irving looks forward to a great writer, the master and the founder of horror genre, Edgar Allan Poe. According to him, legends are important element of horror stories, because they contribute the mysterious atmosphere and setting. These legends are told within a story that we read. Therefore, while reading, we encounter story within a story. In this very story we are told a lot about myths and tales by the inhabitants of Sleepy Hollow, who enjoy these stories and are fond of talking about mysterious events.
Sleepy Hollow, as we may conclude according to its name, is a very peaceful place. At the same time it represents something mysterious which produces a feeling of fear and unpleasantness. The name “Sleepy Hollow” may be interpreted and explained in different ways. It may be possible that this “sleepy” implies quietness and tranquility. However, it is not rare that sleep and dreams turn into worst nightmares, so it may happen that the atmosphere in the Sleepy Hollow changes from tranquil and
peaceful to bad and evil. “Sleepy’ also implies that this place is passive, silent, dead, which is opposite to the city-life. This place is in fact full of ghost stories, legends, superstitions, witchcraft etc. All of these elements are used by W. Irving to create fear and feeling of unpleasantness. He describes this place as peaceful, and actually does that on purpose. In fact, that is W. Irving’s perfect device to create strange feelings in readers, because peacefulness, apart from being pleasant, can be very mysterious. During the day this place looks perfectly normal and pleasant, but nights bring mystery and they make this place scary and strange. Irving introduces supernatural creatures into the story, as well as, witches who practice witchcraft. So witch powers, visions, hunted spots and voices that are heard at night are mentioned throughout this story. Although people in this valley love to talk about these things, they are afraid of them. There is an interesting belief that fear is partly product of mind and that is often projected into what we see or hear which makes the whole atmosphere even scarier. Things that we do not see are much scarier than the things that we clearly perceive. Here Washington Irving proves himself to be a master of human soul and psychology. The following quotations show most picturesquely the inward state of Ichabod and the effect the overwhelming fear makes on his mind:
“...mere terrors of the dark, phantoms of the mind that walk in the darkness…”
“All the stories of ghosts and goblins that he had heard in the afternoon now
came crowding upon his recollection.”
“His heart began to sink within him.”
So in this story we have a perfect externalization of innate human fears. All people fear death. Death is innate human fear, which we all carry in ourselves through our entire lives. Also the fear of the unknown is the human innate fear and that is probably why humankind always seeks the answers, the eternal truths and longs to find explanations to everything. While reading carefully, we may notice that author uses interrogative sentences, as if they were the inner thoughts of Ichabod:

“What was to be done? To turn and fly was now too late; and besides, what chance was there of escaping ghost or goblin, if such it was, which could ride upon the wings of the wind?”
The setting is one more among the important horror elements. Unlike European Gothic writers who used castles, ruins and monasteries as the background for their tales, Irving uses valley as a setting of his story, because the newly born country, America, lacked
these old buildings. He uses dark forest to set the strange story of his. It is remarkable that the beginning of the forest does not seem to be dangerous in any way, in fact it is one of the quietest places in the whole world. However, towards the end of the story it obtains some supernatural power and turns into a kingdom of mystery and evil.So the valley and the wooded areas are Irving’s devices for creating Gothic setting, as we know that this place is hunted and it is the constricting nature of the setting that allows it to be hunted. He paints a picture of the archways created by trees and darkness of the woods as Ichabod is trotting through the hunted forest to encounter with the Hessian trooper:
“In the center of the road stood an enormous tulip-tree which towered like a giant above all the other trees of the neighborhood, and formed a king of landmark. It’s limbs were gnarled, and fantastic, large enough to form trunks for ordinary trees, twisting down almost to the earth, and rising again into the air.”
With the Gothic result of the “gnarled” limbs, readers feel fear as Ichabod gallops along the road through the dark dell. The description of this tree converts the natural beauty of nature into something dark and scary. The tree is a strange piece of nature and the rising of the limbs from the ground alludes to the idea of the tree co-existing between two worlds: one, which is ‘earthly’ and other eerie and supernatural. Here we come to supernatural in its corporeal state. The mystery and intrigue surrounding this tree alludes to the idea that the tree itself may be alive and cause danger in some way. To emphasize the feeling, W. Irving is constantly showing the shifting shadows and interplay of light and dark in the trees. Anyone who has been alone in the woods at night is familiar with the feeling that Irving describes when Ichabod rides his horse through the forest.
At that very moment Ichabod’s senses became heightened and his mind started to impose lifelike qualities onto surroundings. The whole story, based on the supernatural elements belief in ghosts, is very intriguing and interesting as we may see. W. Irving uses gothic to set the mood in this story and leads the reader to question himself: what is lurking behind the trees?
One among Irving’s perfect examples of gothic story and devices used to create strange feelings and fear both in Ichabod and readers is the following extract:
“The night grew darker and darker; the stars seemed to sink deeper in the sky, and d

| Posted on 2009-03-16 | by a guest

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