An Interpretation of “In the Orchard”
For any educator that is searching for a poem to arouse the interest of students enlisted in upper level literature classes, the poem “In the Orchard” by Muriel Stuart, written in the early twentieth century, conveys the ageless theme of unrequited love. The poem has all the elements of making students understand how far back the feeling of unrequited love has been around. We can understand these elements better through the rhetorical strategies.
A rhetorical strategy that this poem has is dialogue. The whole poem contains dialogue between the boy and girl who plan to meet each other in the orchard to be alone.
“But I gave you everything.”
“Well, you shouldn’t have done it. You know what a fellow thinks
when a girl does that.” “Yes, he talks of her over his drinks
And calls her a ______.”
The issue that the boy and girl are discussing is still very much a part of today’s society, unreturned love. This dialogue, or conversation, could be happening right now at the end of the twentieth century.
Another rhetorical strategy incorporated in the poem is imagery. There are many types of images that are in this poem. For example, the story that the young girl shares with the boy about drowning the cat is full of images for the reader to see:
I’ve seen boys stone a blackbird, and watched them drown
A kitten…it clawed at the reeds, and they pushed it down
Into the pool while it screamed. Is that fun, too?
The image of the cat clawing at the reeds stands out the most. A person reading this poem can envision the cat clawing the reeds and screaming as the young boys hold it under the water bringing the cat closer and closer to death with each passing moment. The purpose that the young girl tries to explain is that she understands the way young boys are and that they do not love anything.
... middle of paper ...
...oes not have feelings for her, nor does he love her:
It makes you mad for a bit to feel she’s your own,
And you laugh and kiss her, and maybe you give her a ring,
But it’s only in fun.
When the young man tells her this she is devastated. She does not understand how the boy could have sex with her and not love her. People who have sex with each other are supposed to love each other. She just does not understand how the boy could do this to her. Then when the boy tells her that all males are this way, the girl looks like she is going to cry. This discovery seems really hard on the girl.
“In the Orchard” by Muriel Stuart is a good poem in which to convey the ageless theme of unrequited love to students who need to be aroused to the poetry portion of literature. The students will be able to connect with the message of the poem and relate it to what is happening in their lives. Students may learn to love poetry and all of the hidden meanings that are contained in poems.
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