Analysis Of 'Tattoo' By Ted Kooser

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“Tattoo” by Ted Kooser can be interpreted in a multitude of ways. One way to interpret this poem is viewing the tattoo as being used as imagery. This imagery explains how elderly men are constantly trying to live the way they did when they were young. This point of view is obvious in the poem, but it is not the primary controversy being addressed in the poem. The speaker’s reason for writing the poem is to show how time changes a person. Another way to perceive this poem is that the tattoo tells a personal story about the person. Many people with tattoos get excoriated, due to the fact they have a tattoo. Tattoos are important and have significance to a person. There are cases where tattoos are just a drunken mistake. The tattoo in this poem…show more content…
This tattoo is symbolic of some emotion being tested by some form of pain. The tattoo can also be seen when someone loses a person close to him or her. Another interpretation of the tattoo is the person with the tattoo is willing to kill. The last, final interpretation of the tattoo is that the person breaks hearts. The tattoo is meant to depict all of these interpretations in the poem. When the old man was younger it meant he was willing to kill. He may have not have killed people, but he was willing to kill. The old man used to be a player; the tattoo represents the women’s hearts he broke. When the man became older he probably lost people close to him, then his tattoo took on a different meaning. With old age, it is his heart that is broken. Consequently, the tattoo could represents a loved one 's loss, this man might be living alone because his loved ones may be dead. The man may also be alone since he is not present with anyone. Older people need company to do the simplest of task. The symbolic meaning of the tattoo leaves the reader guessing what the tattoo could mean. All the possibilities are not happy ones. One must realize that tattoos are permanent and this man has to live with this bruise for the rest of his life. This tattoo may also remind him of all the pain in his life. The tattoo appearing as just a bruise suggests that the old man is no longer the man he used to be. The speaker uses assonance to enhance the sound of old in line four “old boney shoulder”(Kooser 4). This makes the line drearier in addition to melancholy. The line also emphasizes that the man is no longer in physical shape. The author explains that this man was once “as strong as a stallion, fast and ornery”(Kooser 8). This man was once the acme of human physique, but now fighting against time. Time has taken a toll on this stallion for the speaker calls the man “just another old man” (Kooser 13). It seems
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