An Analysis of the Poem Buffalo Dusk
The main topic of this short poem is the connection between the extermination of the buffaloes, and the extermination of those that saw the buffalo, namely Indians. It also alludes to the Europeans that came to the Americas, charging across the country in the same fashion that the buffalo charges across the land, trampling and killing the luscious green pasture. The poem includes many poetry instruments such as metaphor, repetition, imagery, and alliteration.
The title itself, “Buffalo Dusk”, implies the gradual and expected death of the buffalo, due to the cyclical nature of the universe. The setting of the sun often inspired death to the early man, but also renewal, rebirth. The buffalo, an entity subjected to the same laws as everything else, is doomed to have a birth, climax, and death, just like the day itself. The notion of a cyclical universe is also expressed in line 6, where the heard of the buffalo is described as “a great pageant of dusk”, or a glorious and intentional march towards death.
When writing about the stampeding buffaloes, the author thought about the immigrants of the United States, and how they charged across prairies and mountains across the land, from east to west, trampling everything in their paths. This is accentuated by line 5, which describes the buffalo’s pos...
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...e a loud drum, as alliteration of words like “pawed”, “prairie”, “pageant” accentuate peaks in the poem. This has the purpose of emphasizing the imagery, stimulating the reader to form a picture. Lines 1 and 7, and 2 and 8, repeat. This, again, points out the author’s intention. The beginning is the same as the end. The middle is always unpredictable, but the beginning always coincides with the end, again emphasizing the unstoppable cycle of life and death. The poem ends as it started, a mild statement, but very poignant.
Right now, the middle of the poem is the people of the United States, and all civilization. The beginning was predictable. It all started in earnest, with birth to a new people and new ideas. The end is just as predictable as the beginning however, and it is bound to come.
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