Presentation on theme: "Consider these images and try to make a connection between them."— Presentation transcript:
Consider these images and try to make a connection between them.
The Flower-Fed Buffaloes Vachel Lindsay 1879-1931
The Flower-Fed Buffaloes The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring In the days of long ago, Ranged where the locomotives sing And the prairie flowers lie low; The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass Is swept away by wheat, Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by In the spring that still is sweet. But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring Left us long ago. They gore no more, they bellow no more, They trundle around the hills no more: With the Blackfeet lying low, With the Pawnees lying low.
Understanding the poem THEME The poet is making a comment about how modernization brings consequences. In this poem the consequence of having the locomotive and the wheat plantations is the depletion of the buffalo population, which the poet presents as the price of modern development. The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring In the days of long ago, Ranged where the locomotives sing The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass Is swept away by wheat, Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by
Tone Nostalgic. Some might think the poet is neutral and he is resigned to the death of the buffaloes as an inevitable consequence of progress. But most readers would sense his deep regret that it has happened. But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring Left us long ago. They gore no more, they bellow no more, They trundle around the hills no more:
Imagery – He expresses the freshness and happiness of spring, a time of growth and renewal Flower-fed buffaloes of the spring….Ranged To say that buffaloes feed on flowers romanticises the buffalo, which we stereotype as a beast of burden, clumsy, grey looking and unattractive. Ranged gives the effect of the freedom of the buffalo with lots of space to wander and graze. The effect is of a happier past for the buffalo. Locomotives sing This phrase is an oxymoron as the sound of the train engine is not song-like. The poet may want us to hear the sound of the train engine as pleasant because of the joyful mood of spring. Prairie flowers lie low lie low gives a visual image of short flowers growing in the vast stretches of prairie and these are what the buffaloes feed on. Later we see the contrast of this meaning with lying low in the last three lines.
Imagery – He describes change that takes places as time passes The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass Is swept away by the wheat, In a few words the poet appeals to our sight and smell as we visualize the fertile (blooming) grass blown by the wind this way and that, giving off a fresh aroma. With the passage of time, the grass is replaced by wheat. Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by In the spring that still is sweet. By repeating wheels he conveys a sense of regret and disappointment that progress has spoilt the prairie. But spring is still sweet, giving the effect that not even the noise of trains and the dirty smoke from the engine can spoil the freshness of spring.
Imagery - The poet laments the loss of the buffalo comparing their passing to that of the loss of the native American tribes, both of which are victims of development and progress. the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring Left us, long ago. Once again the grey clumsy beast of burden is romanticized as a creature that feeds on pretty flowers and thrives in spring, which is a season of growth and bloom. The comma that separates Left us, long ago gives a doleful effect. Left gives a sense of loss as it means departed. They gore no more, they bellow no more, They trundle around the hills no more: A pattern of three structures is a technique of rhetoric used for emphasis and adds weight and impact to the idea that the buffaloes are gone. By using active verbs such as gore, bellow and trundle the poet presents the buffalo as a living creature and increased the impact of saying they are no more said three times increasing the mournful effect.
With the Blackfeet lying low, With the Pawnees lying low. The effect of comparing the death of the buffaloes to that of the native American tribes is to make explicit what the poet hinted at earlier, that animals and natives die and that is the consequence of progress. Lying low is said three times. It reminds us of the phrase lie low in line 4 but has quite a different meaning. Lying low means dead.
The Old West in America The Blackfeet Indians are original residents of the northern Plains, particularly Montana and Idaho, and Alberta, Canada. The Blackfoot lived in buffalo-hide houses called tipis (or teepees). The Pawnee Indians are original residents of Nebraska and Kansas. However they were forced to move to a reservation in Oklahoma during 1800s.
The Fate of the American Indians Due to the extreme population increases in America during the eighteenth century, the land of the great plains became useful not only as a home for white settlers but as agricultural tool to support the growing demands of cities in America. The great demands of the cities created a demand for land surrounding the cities to be used to support the cities and the land that was needed was primarily the ground of the North American buffalo. This land was also the home of the North American plains Indians, whose lives were centered upon the buffalo of North America. Many Indians were forced to leave their land and move into reservations. Many also died.
The spirit of the buffalo The spirit of the buffalo, an animal that seems to traverse the whole earth in its migrations, was the very essence of the land especially for the Indians who live there.
Structure Although the entire poem is written in one stanza, it can be divided into two parts. The first part is written in one sentence ending in line 8. This first part creates a happy scene of spring in which the buffaloes thrived. The second part begins with the connector But which tells us Lindsay is giving a different point of view and his view is that he regrets that the population of buffaloes has dwindled because of progress
Rhythm The stresses in each line affect the meaning. Lines 1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 & 6, 7 & 8 run on giving a gay, lilting air to the poem causing the first part to sound cheerful. Lines 10 to 15 have long and heavy vowel sounds and more punctuation slowing down the rhythm and creating a woeful effect. (gore, bellow, trundle, no more)
Rhyme Scheme The rhyme pattern is irregular. The first four lines have a rhyme pattern of a,b,a,b, giving the poem a cheerful and uplifting tone. Lines 6 and 8 also rhyme wheat and sweet continuing with the merry note. However in the last 5 lines, the pattern of sound is bleak and depressing. No more is the end of lines 11 and 12 and lying low ends lines 13, 14 and 15. These are dismal sounds, giving the effect of the poets regret that the mighty buffalo has been sacrificed for progress.