In the poem The School Children, author Louise Gluck successfully creates for the reader an image of the children, their mothers and the position that they hold in their society. Her simple, yet descriptive words suggest a more in depth meaning that allows one to look past the simple story line of the poem and actually look into the entire situation the poem discusses. The story line simply tells of mothers who pick apples and send their children off to school with them, in hopes that they will receive an education in return. After completion of the poem, the reader comes to the realization that the apples are the center of the poem, around which the true meaning revolves. Through seemingly simple words, Gluck conveys a meaning to the reader throughout the poem that is camouflaged, so to speak, within the apples, as well as within her words.. Gluck’s use of simple diction and imagery deceptively display the powerful emotion, desperate hope, and passionate meaning held within the apples.
In the first stanza, Gluck describes the apples the mothers have collected as ?words of another language?. This tells the reader that the apples have another meaning, they are used for expression, possibly an expression of the mothers? thoughts, feelings, or intentions. This line alone allows the reader to question what the apples actually represent. By describing the apples in this way, Gluck tells the reader that the apples mean more than what the surface of the poem tells us, we can then infer that the poem itself also has an alternate meaning. Therefore, with this line, Gluck is not only beginning to use descriptive diction to imply meaning, but also to excite ...
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...of the poem by expressing to the
reader the seriousness and significance of the situation.
It is clear that true meaning behind the poem is contained within the apples. Recalling that Gluck described the apples of ?words of another language? in the first stanza of the poem, we now understand that Gluck herself used the apples as words of another language. By using the first description of the apples to excite the reader?s curiosity, by using the apples to keep the teacher?s happy, and by creating an image of the apples as ammunition, Gluck has successfully used diction and imagery to create an underlying meaning to the poem without ever actually stating it. In conclusion, Gluck has deceptively used the apples, coupled with her excellent use of diction and imagery, to display a far more in depth meaning in a unique, yet entertaining way.
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