Purity Vs Filth Theme

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Purity vs Filth: Blurred Lines Purity and filth have been on opposite sides of the fence ever since a distinction was made between the two. The purity vs filth battle can be seen in many aspects of life, whether that be displayed in race, religion, or even geographically. This brings into question, where is the division between filth and purity, or is there a division at all? This division is called out in Joe Weil’s “Ode to Elizabeth”, Nicolás Guillén’s “What Color?”, and possibly even in William Carlos William’s “This is Just to Say”. For Joe Weil, purity can rise from the filth. In Weil’s poem “Ode to Elizabeth,” he describes his hometown of Elizabeth, New Jersey; he starts by quoting Time magazine with “Grimy Elizabeth.” (1) This…show more content…
This poem can be interpreted in many different ways, the most common being that it was an apology poem left on Williams’ fridge. This poem has also been interpreted as being an abstract view of the tale of Adam and Eve. The specific fruit that Adam and Eve eat was never clearly specified as an apple, so the eating of a plum may not be too far off course for the interpretation of “This is Just to Say.” The story begins with the confession to eating the plums in the ice box, similar to Eve confessing to eating the forbidden fruit. The next stanza describes the proprietor as saving the plums for another day. This stanza may be interpreted as god saving the forbidden fruit for the distant future. The third and final stanza is asking the owner of the plums for forgiveness but is also telling how good the plum really was. This last stanza is where Adam and Eve are asking for forgiveness from eating the fruit. This poem shows a transition from purity to filth and the place in-between. The story of Adam and Eve is the transition from the Garden of Eden, a place of complete purity, to being cast down to earth, the place of filth. “This is Just to Say” shows the transition period between these two and how the effect of being cast into the filth was worth the “delicious” plums, giving a sense of purity in the…show more content…
This distinction between filth and purity was called into question by Joe Weil in “Ode to Elizabeth”, where Weil overlaps filth and purity in the city of Elizabeth; also by Nicolás Guillén in “What Color?”, where Guillén negates color from the definition of purity; and also in William Carlos William’s “This is Just to Say”, where Williams provides a sense of purity in a world full of filth. These poems combined show how the distinction between filth and purity is not as easy as black and

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