“Auto Wreck” by Karl Shapiro

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The “Auto Wreck” by Karl Shapiro is a gripping poem that dives into the world of death from an observer’s perspective. Karl Shapiro decorates the poem with a beautiful, yet saddening, portrayal of death. Shapiro uses several prevailing elements to make sure that the message and theme are clearly displayed to the audience. Through personification, diction, and imagery, Karl Shapiro shows all aspects of a car wreck from the perspective of a victim, showing that death is irrational and illogical. Karl Shapiro uses diction to paint a sharp and realistic image in the audience’s mind. When Shapiro starts off with the words “beating, beating” (Line 1) and “red like an artery” (Line 3), the reader immediately gets the image of a heart beating. The image of the heart beating red like an artery shows the struggle for life. When Shapiro describes the ambulance as having "wings in a heavy curve," (Line 6) an image of an angel fills the audience’s mind. Still later in the poem there are there are "wrecks that cling,/Empty husks of locust.” (Lines 20-21), showing that there was something alive, ...

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