Descriptive Images in Two Hangovers by James Wright

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Throughout the poem "Two Hangovers" many vivid and descriptive images are given by the author. The images the reader gets are cold, lonely, and dark as some think winter to be; however, in the second part the reader receives an image of bright colors which could be interpreted as a time of renewal, spring, or a time when things are looking up. Imagery and metaphors are used to show the reader the feeling and life depiction of the person in the poem while portraying the image that reflects this. In "Two Hangovers," James Wright uses imagery and metaphors to illustrate a harsh winter changing into spring, and how he feels and acts during these seasons. As he slouches in bed, a description of the bare trees and an old woman gathering coal are given to convey to the reader an idea of the times and the author's situation. "All groves are bare," and "unmarried women (are) sorting slate from arthracite." This image operates to tell the reader that it is a time of poverty, or a "yellow-bearded winter of depression." No one in the town has much to live for during this time. "Cold trees" along with deadness, through the image of "graves," help illustrate the author's impression of winter. Wright seems to be hibernating from this hard time of winter, "dreaming of green butterflies searching for diamonds in coal seams." This conveys a more colorful and happy image showing what he wishes was happening; however he knows that diamonds are not in coal seams and is brought back to the reality of winter. He talks of "hills of fresh graves" while dreaming, relating back to the reality of what is "beyond the streaked trees of (his) window," a dreary, povern-strucken, and cold winter. The end of Number one also reinforces the impression of winter. The image of a sparrow, generally a brown or dark bird, that "sings of the Hanna Coal Co. and the dead moon," reinforces the description of winter once again, because there is no life during winter as opposed to a harvest moon in fall when it is warm, life is good, and food is plenty. "The filaments of cold light bulbs tremble," gives a very cold image and it is like music, but he can not listen to it.

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