Reten Pantier Poem

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Edgar Lee Masters was a poet and novelist born in the late 1800s. He is most known for his famous 1915 publication of Spoon River Anthology, a compilation of 244 free-verse epitaphs told from the grave by the former residents, both real and imaginary, of Spoon River, a fictitious small town. All 244 dead residents of Spoon River have a story to tell about their victories, hardships, and their secrets. Masters became famous by revealing the secret lives and loves of a small town’s residents, told in their own voices from beyond the grave into American poetry. This was a sensitive subject matter and an innovative method. One poem of Masters is “Reuben Pantier.” It was about a troubled young man raised in an abnormal family and never realized his old schoolteacher, Emily Sparks’ message in her teachings until later on in his life. The poem begins with Reuben talking to his old schoolteacher Emily Sparks. “I owe whatever I was in life / To your hope that would not give me up, / To your love that saw me still as good.” (lns 3-5) Reuben confesses to not being “good." Despite that, he was ...

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