2 The Poem: I Have Come to the Conclusion I have come to the conclusion she saidThat when we fall in loveWe really fall in love with ourselves—That we choose particular peopleBecause they provideThe particular mirrorsIn which we wish to see.And when did you discoverThis surprising bit of knowledge?he asked.After I had broken a few very fine mirrorsshe said.The Poem:
3 TitleThe title of this poem is I have Come to the Conclusion. Using this title as a guide I would assume that the poem is about a judgment the poet has found, using her life experience as evidence. As well, judging from the title, I would suspect the subject matter is somewhat serious and that the tone and mood will be affected in that the author believes her conclusion to be justified.
4 Facts - WhoThe narrator of this poem is the poet, a woman who is cynical about falling in love. The other character in the poem is the man who asks “And when did you discover this surprising bit of knowledge?”, playing the role of doubt. From the poem we know that the woman is someone who has be in and out of love many times, and who does not believe in a selfless idealistic love. Very little is told of the man, but from his question it seems that he is the hope of the poem, the belief in a true, selfless love.
5 Facts – Where and WhenThere is no real setting for this poem. The author does not specify where or when this conversation takes place. This is because the poem is not based off of a situation, but rather focuses only on the conversation about love. The topic of the poem, love, is timeless and affects all around the world. By not detailing the “where” and “when”, the author makes the poem more accessible.
6 Facts – What HappensThe plot of this poem is found in the conversation between the two people. The conversation begins with the poet expressing her point of view on love. Then the man asks when the author discovered this idea. And in conclusion, the poem ends with the poet saying how her past has led her to this belief about love.
7 Techniques - MotifThe author has a motif of the recurring mirror idea. The mirror symbolizes the reason for love as being that you like how you are reflected off the person you say you love. The repetition of this re-enforces the author’s point that loving someone is a selfish act focusing on self-love.
8 Techniques – Language techniques The main language technique this poem uses is that the entire poem is a paradox. When one thinks of falling in love, it seems that the person you love becomes more important than yourself. However, in the poem, love is about falling in love with yourself, you are more important than the person you love. This paradox gives the poem a somewhat depressing mood: love is not the selfless passion that we are led to believe. Instead it is just another step in the obsession of self.
9 Techniques – Figurative Language I have Come to the Conclusion uses the metaphor as its main figurative language technique. The line “After I had broken a few/very fine mirrors/she said” is an example of a metaphor. The author is comparing her previous loves to mirrors. This comparison is effective, for her relationships have been unsuccessful (broken). As well, love relationships and people are extremely fragile and vulnerable, like a mirror.
10 AttitudeThe poet seems to have the attitude of a wise person trying to enlighten the naïve. The first lines of the poem “I have come to the conclusion/she said/that when we fall in love”, is a good indicator of the author’s attitude towards the audience. It seems like Fertig is trying to share a piece of advice with the audience, so that they will not get hurt the next time they fall in love. The attitude of the poem seems to be that the author is not purposely trying to disillusion us about love, but rather wants to save us the heartache of falling in love.
11 AttitudeThe poet’s attitude to the subject matter of the poem seems to be of sad acceptance. The author does not seem especially bitter or angry about her lost loves. This is seen in the quiet tone of the poem, as the author does not use any harsh words, showing bitterness or anger. Neither does the poet see herself as different from anyone else. The line “After I had broken a few/very fine mirrors” shows that she, like everyone else, is guilty of loving herself more than the lover.
12 Shifts – Narrative Voice A narrative shift occurs at line 9 and again at line 12. At line 9 the narrative voice shifts from the poet to the man asking “And when did you discover this surprising bit of knowledge”. Another shift occurs at line 12 where the poet returns to speaking, and answers the question. These 2 narrative shifts are important in that a different view of love is brought in with the man, and the poet is given the chance to explains the motive behind her views of love.
13 Shifts – StanzasThere are three stanza shifts in this poem. The first stanza focuses on what the author thinks of love between people. This stanza is rather general, not containing any specifics from her own life. Then there is a shift to stanza two, in which the man asks his question. This stanza is separated from stanza 1 due to the fact it is a different person talking, it is a question and there is doubt about the author’s conclusion. And lastly there is stanza 3, in which the author returns to speaking, she answers the question, and she uses personal references. Each stanza exists because a different subject matter or voice is used, separating the lines from that which came before it.
14 Shifts – line lengthsA shift occurs in line lengths at line 2, 11 and 14. All three of these shifts change from a rather long line to the two word “she said” or “he asked”. These shifts occur to give the poem a discussion feel. Using the conversation as the model for the poem helps in making it feel like the reader is a part of the discussion. This results in the reader investing more into the poem.
15 Shifts – Verb tense and Sentence Structure A shift in verb tense from present to past, occurs in line 1 “I have come to the conclusion” and line 12 “After I had broken a few/very fine mirrors”. This shift is needed to show that it is her past that has led her to her present conclusion about love. Another shift occurs in the sentence structure of the poem. The first 8 lines and the last three lines are sentences. However in the middle (line 9-11) there is a question. This shift is needed to bring doubt into the argument, and to act as a lead into the author’s motivation.
16 TitleThe title I have come to the conclusion is an important part of this poem. This title implicates that the author has come to the conclusion of loving someone, however in the poem it is seen that the author is not as sure about her conclusion, as the title signifies. Part of the narrator does not want to be correct, as seen in the question of doubt asked by the man. By using a title that leaves no room for doubt, the poet is reassuring herself that she is correct. As well the wording of the title makes the poem sound almost like a scientific explanation. However, this poem is based on an emotional, artistic view point, quite different from the expected science.
17 IdeaThe general idea of this poem is that most often, love does not help us leave our selfishness behind. This is most clearly expressed in the lines “that when we fall in love/we really fall in love with ourselves-/that we choose particular people/because they provide the particular mirrors in which we wish to see.” The poet believes that a person falls in love because he or she likes the ways he or she is seen through the relationship. Love is often seen as loving someone more than yourself: your selfishness is replaced with a feeling of your lover being more important then yourself. However, in reality, selfishness is always the main motivation, not even love can change that.