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The Geranium Analysis

Author: poem of Theodore Roethke Type: poem Views: 19

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When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,

She looked so limp and bedraggled,

So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,

Or a wizened aster in late September,

I brought her back in again

For a new routine--

Vitamins, water, and whatever

Sustenance seemed sensible

At the time: she'd lived

So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,

Her shriveled petals falling

On the faded carpet, the stale

Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.

(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)

The things she endured!--

The dumb dames shrieking half the night

Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,

Me breathing booze at her,

She leaning out of her pot toward the window.

Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me--

And that was scary--

So when that snuffling cretin of a maid

Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,

I said nothing.

But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,

I was that lonely.


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

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I see the geranium as representing the man's innocence. As he becomes more hedonistic, the geranium withers until one day, it's gone all together. But before the flower is thrown away, it begins to resemble his conscience: "Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me -- and that was scary." When the flower is gone, he loses all empathy, "sacking" the maid without caring that a person's job is more important than a plant.

| Posted on 2015-01-25 | by a guest

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This poem is about loneliness and the emptiness of hedonism. He begins to personalise the geranium who lived in a plant pot in which he emptied day old beer and stubbed out his cigars into, leaving the grease from his steaks on her leaves. He describes the things the plant witnesses, and really only having the Geranium to share these experiences with (because even the maid was less to him) he fabricates this relationship with the plant. So even though he is having sex with women in front of her, breathing booze all over her, she was watching his life stagnate in a hedonistic stupor, and he only really seemed to realise this when the Maid threw out the plant. This implies that the plant was in as bad a state as he was and thereby the plant becomes a reflection of him.

| Posted on 2014-09-30 | by a guest

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It's about himself. The plant is a metaphor for how he treats himself, he treats the plant like crap and treats himself like crap, he's a lonely bachelor and when the maid perceives the plant as worthless she throws it out, he's depressed because he now realizes he too his worthless.

| Posted on 2013-10-16 | by a guest

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I know it\'s literally about a plant, but it seems to be a metaphor for something more. If in fact it is a woman, she is rundown and needs him. While he keeps her around, it\'s not because he likes her. He may have once but now it is just to feel needed. So then he tries to get rid of her, but seeing her all alone and needing him, he doesn\'t have the heart to do it. So he takes her back and tries to get her to be okay. It almost works but he knows it\'s nearly impossible to help her. So when she\'s gone, he cares, but it doesn\'t bother him that much because she was so rundown anyone. The end two lines describe the human nature, that someone can get so low, and no longer care about what\'s right or wrong. Loneliness consumes, which makes someone become desperate.

| Posted on 2011-01-23 | by a guest

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I believe the poem to be about mans longing for someone or in this case, something to be dependant on him. Man needs to feel wanted. When the geranium is out by the garbage, he senses its need for him to protect, love and care for it. It is also about the importance of nature and the impact it can have on our lives. However the man fails in his duty, and the plant is dying. His relationship with the plant (an object) goes too far. He is so alone that he has come to rely on objects, and this distresses him and this is why he lets the maid throw the flower out, and is now left alone. There is so much more, but thats just a rough summation.

| Posted on 2010-06-17 | by a guest

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no it is not about a whore. Geranium is a plant he is talking about a plant and how his maid threw it away he was lonely.

| Posted on 2010-01-25 | by a guest

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This poem is about a whore or a prostitute, isn't it?

| Posted on 2009-11-01 | by a guest

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