In Sanburg’s Grass, he writes two lines with interrogative adverbs, so to help express the Grass’s clear superior feeling towards humans. The part where these lines appear reads, “Two years, ten years, and passengers ask the conductor:/ What place is this?/ Where are we now?” (7-9). By including this, Sanburg shows the Grass’s discontent with the human nature that is forgetting history. Over time, bloody and negative behavior, like war, tends to slip from the memories of people, or is watered down, hence why the passengers are asking “What place is this? Where are we now?” The passengers that are going through a battleground, years after the fact, have no idea that they are in such a place, because the Grass has already taken care of the bodies buried beneath it, masking their existence entirely. Essentially, the Grass is constantly cleaning up the messes of humans, and this poem gives one the indication that it is tired of doing so. By using the words “what” and “where,” Sanburg is showing the Grass’s awareness of human ignorance—the passengers ...
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...tainted by dead bodies. The Grass’s superiority is set up by Sanburg in such a way that it dictates the whole poem, largely in part to the inclusion of imperative verbs.
To conclude, in Grass, the character of the Grass is brought to life by Carl Sanburg with the specific choices made in regards to parts of speech. First, Sanburg uses interrogative adverbs to help show how the Grass sees humanity. Sanburg also uses proper and concrete nouns to call attention to military battles fought throughout history and to highlight the Grass’s stability. Lastly, the imperative verbs provided throughout overall give the Grass its superior attitude. In his poem Grass, Carl Sanburg uses interrogative adverbs, proper and concrete nouns, and imperative verbs to successfully display the Grass’s superiority, something that comes from witnessing human behavior throughout battle history.
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