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The Buried Train By Robert Bly.

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1 The Buried Train By Robert Bly

2 Robert Bly 1926-present First collection of poems published in 1962
Published eleven books of poetry, essays, and translations during the ’70s Wrote an essay in favor of the more direct work of writers such as Neruda and Vallejo and criticized those of writers such as T.S. Eliot Won many awards including the National Book Award

3 The Buried Train Tell me about the train that people say got buried By the avalanche--was it snow?--It was In Colorado, and no one saw it happen. There was smoke from the engine curling up Lightly through fir tops, and the engine sounds. There were all those people reading--some From Thoreau, some from Henry Ward Beecher. And the engineer smoking and putting his head out.

4 I wonder when that happened
I wonder when that happened. Was it after High School, or was it the year we were two? We entered this narrow place, and we heard the sound Above us--the train couldn't move fast enough. It isn't clear what happened next. Are you and I Still sitting there in the train, waiting for the lights To go on? Or did the real train get really buried; So at night a ghost train comes out and keeps going...

5 Pat Lazour reads “The Buried Train”
Tell me about the train that people say got buried By the avalanche--was it snow?--It was In Colorado, and no one saw it happen. There was smoke from the engine curling up Lightly through fir tops, and the engine sounds. There were all those people reading--some From Thoreau, some from Henry Ward Beecher. And the engineer smoking and putting his head out.

6 I wonder when that happened
I wonder when that happened. Was it after High School, or was it the year we were two? We entered this narrow place, and we heard the sound Above us--the train couldn't move fast enough. It isn't clear what happened next. Are you and I Still sitting there in the train, waiting for the lights To go on? Or did the real train get really buried; So at night a ghost train comes out and keeps going...

7 Thank you Patrick, well done.

8 The Poem’s Speaker Someone who has undergone some traumatic event in his life. Relates his traumatic event to a train wreck. Still struggles with how to deal with the effects of the event.

9 Attitude of the Speaker toward the Subject
Literal Train: Inquisitive, curious Metaphorical train wreck that represents trauma: Uncertainty about what he did afterwards. “Are you and I Still sitting there in the train, waiting for the lights To go on? Or did the real train get really buried; So at night a ghost train comes out and keeps going...” This same quote also asks the reader how they have handled traumatic events Speaker challenges reader to deal with the trauma.

10 The Poem’s Organization
4 stanzas: 4 lines each Loose iambic hexameter (some lines are pentameter) Unrhymed

11 The Poem’s Organization
Breaks down into 3 parts I. Lines 1-8: Question about a literal train wreck that actually happened and description of the setting before the wreck. The scene is calm and normal: smoke from the engine, engine sounds, passengers reading, engineer smoking and putting his head out the window. Shows that the tragedy was a surprise that came out of nowhere.

12 The Poem’s Organization
II. Lines 9-12: Question of when the wreck took place and two times are given. One time is the time of the wreck, the other time is that of some traumatic event in the speaker’s life that he begins to relate to the wreck. The speaker puts himself metaphorically in this train wreck and describes how both it and his traumatic event were unavoidable.

13 The Poem’s Organization
III. Lines 13-16: The speaker conveys that the decision about how to deal with the event has yet to be made. The reader is brought into the mix and asked how he has dealt with such trauma in his life. Did he idly wait for someone else to step in help and help him to get over it? Or did he bury the event so deep inside of him to escape having to deal with it that he buried his real personality and real way of life, only allowing a ghost of it to come out.

14 Dominant Imagery The Train The Train Wreck
At first it is a literal train but it comes to represent normal life and one’s real personality. The Train Wreck Represents traumatic or tragic events in a person’s life that affect them in a deep, profound way.

15 Diction and Syntax Simple language and structure of sentences.
Mix of metaphors and literal events makes them difficult to distinguish from each other: “We entered this narrow place, and we heard the sound Above us--the train couldn't move fast enough.”

16 Conclusions “The Buried Train” resists complete literal interpretation. The main message of the poem is found in the metaphors that are weaved into the literal event of the train wreck.

17 Conclusions The poem challenges the reader not to react to traumatic events in either of the two ways mentioned at the end, that is: Neither wait idly for someone else to come and deal with your problem because then life stops as you wait “for the lights to go on.” Nor should you bury the memory of the event deep inside of you, because in doing so you will also bury your true, former personality and life and you will only be left with a faint version of each (“the ghost train”)


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