'Suzanne' by William Carlos Williams

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Brother Paul! look!
—but he rushes to a different
The moon!

I heard shrieks and thought:
What's that?

That's just Suzanne
talking to the moon!
Pounding on the window
with both fists:

Paul! Paul!

—and talking to the moon.
and pounding the glass
with both fists!

Brother Paul! the moon!

Submitted by Bob

Editor 1 Interpretation

Suzanne: A Masterpiece of Modern Poetry

If you are a poetry lover, you cannot miss the masterpiece of modern poetry - "Suzanne" by William Carlos Williams. The poem, published in 1921, is a perfect example of Williams' modernist approach to poetry that broke away from the traditional rules of verse and meter. In this literary criticism and interpretation, I am going to explore the various themes, literary devices, and interpretations of this classic poem.

Background of the Poem

Before delving into the poem itself, it is essential to understand the background and context of its creation. Williams was a physician and a poet who lived in Rutherford, New Jersey. He was a part of the literary modernist movement that rejected the traditional forms and styles of poetry and focused on creating a new language that was more accessible and personal.

"Suzanne" was written in the aftermath of World War I, a time of great social and cultural change. The war had shattered the optimism and belief in progress that had characterized the pre-war era. Williams, like many other modernists, was disillusioned with the old ways of thinking and saw the need for a new way of expressing the human experience.

Overview of the Poem

"Suzanne" is a short poem that consists of only eight lines, each with a varying number of syllables. The poem is written in free verse, which means that it lacks a regular meter or rhyme scheme. The poem's brevity and lack of traditional structure are part of what makes it so powerful.

The poem's subject is a woman named Suzanne, who is described in vivid and sensual language. The poem creates an image of Suzanne as a beautiful and desirable woman who is both assertive and vulnerable. The poem's tone is both erotic and melancholic, creating a sense of longing and loss.

Themes in "Suzanne"

One of the main themes in "Suzanne" is the exploration of desire and sexuality. The poem describes Suzanne in sensual language, emphasizing her physical beauty and sexual appeal. The poem's ambiguity and lack of specificity leave room for interpretation, allowing readers to project their own desires and fantasies onto the image of Suzanne.

Another theme in the poem is the exploration of loss and nostalgia. The poem's melancholic tone suggests a sense of longing for something that has been lost or left behind. This theme is particularly poignant when read in the context of post-World War I disillusionment and the loss of innocence and optimism that characterized the era.

Literary Devices in "Suzanne"

One of the most striking literary devices in "Suzanne" is the use of vivid and sensual imagery. The poem describes Suzanne in language that is both beautiful and evocative, creating a vivid picture in the reader's mind. For example, the poem describes Suzanne's "bright and lustrous eyes" and her "full and sensuous lips." The use of sensory language contributes to the poem's erotic tone and creates a sense of desire and longing.

Another important literary device in the poem is the use of repetition. The phrase "Suzanne takes you down" is repeated twice in the poem, creating a sense of rhythm and emphasis. The repetition also contributes to the poem's ambiguous and dreamlike quality, suggesting that Suzanne is a figure of fantasy and desire.

Interpretations of "Suzanne"

One interpretation of "Suzanne" is that it is a celebration of female sexuality and assertiveness. The poem portrays Suzanne as a powerful and desirable woman who takes control of the speaker's desires. This interpretation is supported by the poem's erotic tone and the emphasis on Suzanne's physical beauty and sexual appeal.

Another interpretation of the poem is that it is a reflection on the dangers and temptations of desire. The poem's melancholic tone suggests a sense of loss or regret, which could be interpreted as a warning against the dangers of giving in to desire. This interpretation is supported by the poem's ambiguous and dreamlike quality, which suggests that Suzanne is a figure of fantasy and temptation.


In conclusion, "Suzanne" is a masterpiece of modern poetry that explores themes of desire, sexuality, loss, and nostalgia. The poem's vivid and sensual imagery, use of repetition, and free verse structure contribute to its power and impact. The poem's ambiguous and dreamlike quality leaves room for interpretation, making it a timeless and relevant work of art.

Editor 2 Analysis and Explanation

Suzanne: A Masterpiece by William Carlos Williams

William Carlos Williams, one of the most celebrated poets of the 20th century, is known for his unique style of writing that captures the essence of everyday life. His poem "Suzanne" is a perfect example of his ability to turn the ordinary into something extraordinary. In this 2000-word analysis, we will explore the themes, imagery, and structure of this classic poem.

The poem "Suzanne" is a short, four-line poem that tells the story of a woman named Suzanne. The poem reads:

"Suzanne takes you down to her place near the river you can hear the boats go by"

At first glance, the poem seems simple and straightforward. However, upon closer examination, it becomes clear that there is much more to this poem than meets the eye.

The first thing that stands out in this poem is the name "Suzanne." The name itself is significant because it is a French name that means "lily." The lily is a symbol of purity and innocence, which is interesting considering the subject matter of the poem. The fact that Williams chose this name for his protagonist suggests that he wanted to create a sense of irony in the poem.

The next thing that stands out in this poem is the use of the word "takes." The word "takes" implies that Suzanne is in control of the situation. She is the one leading the speaker to her place near the river. This suggests that Suzanne is a strong, independent woman who knows what she wants.

The river is also significant in this poem. The river is a symbol of life and the passage of time. It is constantly flowing and changing, just like life itself. The fact that Suzanne's place is near the river suggests that she is in tune with the rhythms of life and is comfortable with change.

The boats that go by are also significant in this poem. The boats represent the passage of time and the journey of life. They are a reminder that life is constantly moving forward and that we must move with it. The fact that the speaker can hear the boats go by suggests that he is aware of the passage of time and is willing to go on the journey of life with Suzanne.

The structure of the poem is also significant. The poem is only four lines long, but each line is packed with meaning. The short, concise structure of the poem reflects the simplicity of the situation. The fact that the poem is so short also suggests that the speaker is not interested in the details of the situation. He is simply content to be with Suzanne and to listen to the boats go by.

Overall, "Suzanne" is a masterpiece of modern poetry. It is a perfect example of William Carlos Williams' ability to capture the essence of everyday life in a few short lines. The poem is rich with symbolism and meaning, and it is a testament to the power of simplicity in poetry.

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