Mary Oliver's Poem Whelks

Mary Oliver's Poem Whelks

Length: 561 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Mary Oliver's Poem Whelks
No Works Cited
Mary Oliver's poem, Whelks, can easily be identified as a Mary Oliver
poem. Whelks describes nature in an attempt to illustrate an issue
that is all too "human being." Simply, Oliver is using nature to
communicate the desire to discover her true self. In lines 12-17,
Oliver states that she herself is suffering from the universal dilemma
of knowing that there is something more to herself than she is aware.
For the duration of her life she has been "restless" because there has
always been something missing, but she is not entirely sure of what
exactly. However, she feels that "there is something more wonderful
than gloss." This statement insinuates that Oliver knows that her true
self is not what appears on the outside. She has always known that
deep inside of her being, she has so much more to offer.

In line 18 Oliver states the obvious, that she is "curious" as to what
lies deeper inside of her. She has come to face the fact that she does
not know who she truly is, but she is eager to find out. She finds her
answer on her morning walks along to shore. In line 21 Oliver broaches
to whelks once again. She calls them "perfect and shining," but she
goes on to describe how they are eroded by the tide and the rubbing
against the land. In fact, it is the whelks' imperfections that make
them perfect. They have "rubbed so long against the world" (22), and

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Mary Oliver's Poem Whelks." 123HelpMe.com. 10 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=119419>.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Analysis Of Mary Oliver 's Poem ' Wild Geese '

- Upon introduction to Mary Oliver’s poem, titled “Wild Geese”, there appeared to be a skin of geese flying freely in the sky. Furthermore, the poetry is informing people not to spend their lifetime repenting the past and asking for forgiveness. Also, the poet encourages the readers to be strong, it is not the end of the world even they are in the deepest depth of their despair. However, it is the reality that they must face, due to the life is not always perfect. After analysis the poem, Oliver compare the nature’s condition and to the human condition by using elements of poetry, such as the tone, symbolisms, and theme to express the images of freedom and the importance of every human being i...   [tags: Meaning of life, Poetry, Nature, Life]

Research Papers
814 words (2.3 pages)

Analysis of the Poem Black Walnut Tree by Mary Oliver Essay

- “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This is a phrase that has been uttered numerous times to children by their parents. This aphorism has been used to not only apply to books but also people. In The Black Walnut Tree by Mary Oliver, the speaker faces a conflict between the literal and figurative meaning of a tree in her yard. In the beginning of the poem, the mother and daughter “debate” selling the tree to “pay off their mortgage.” But with a shift from literal language to figurative language comes a symbolic representation of the tree, one that represents family heritage and their ancestors’ hard work....   [tags: debate, mortgage, language, heritage, tree]

Research Papers
756 words (2.2 pages)

When Death Comes By Mary Oliver Essay

- In the free verse poem "When death comes" by Mary Oliver, the speaker contemplates what the inevitability of what death means to humans. Structurally, the poem bears no rhyme scheme as it depicts the free thought of the speaker. The voice of the speaker in this poem resonates with curiosity and the idea of life after death. Through the utilization of rhetorical devices such as repetition, alliteration, symbolism, and personification, the reader will come to understand that underlying tone that death is imminent regardless of how one 's life is spent....   [tags: Stanza, Poetry, Life, Meaning of life]

Research Papers
1381 words (3.9 pages)

Charles Dickens 's ' Oliver Twist ' Essay

- Famed author Charles Dickens knew exactly what he was writing about when he wrote his second novel titled Oliver Twist. Dickens connected events from his horrific childhood to the book itself. This time in history also was a key element in his famous work. Although this story was written well over one hundred and fifty years ago, it continues to make people see life from a different perspective. Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England in the year 1812 to a fairly large family. He was the second of eight children in a family that dealt with many financial issues (Info)....   [tags: Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist]

Research Papers
1229 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Nature in mary Oliver´s First Snow

- ... Just by using two descriptive words, the poem elaborated upon her images. Her visions are scattered throughout the poem creating one central image, the image of beauty. Slaymaker 2 In lines 1-14, Mary Oliver shows her feelings of surprise using questions and statements by creating a vivid picture for the reader to experience. The majority of humankind usually receives statements and makes questions out of them. The questions result in new found wonders, and the answers to those wonders result in surprise....   [tags: beauty, snow, images, nature]

Research Papers
610 words (1.7 pages)

Essay about Analysis Of Mary Oliver 's ' The Value Of Imitation

- Artem Danilov Poetry Handbook Summer Assignment Journal 1 In this poem Mary Oliver wanted to send a message to her readers about how important imitation is in the process of learning how to write a good-quality work. “You would learn very little in this world if you were not allowed to imitate. And to repeat your imitations until some solid grounding in the skill was achieved and the slight but wonderful difference – that made you you and no one else - could assert itself. Every child is encouraged to imitate....   [tags: Poetry, Sonnet, Robert Frost, Iambic pentameter]

Research Papers
1226 words (3.5 pages)

Singapore by author Mary Oliver Essay

- Singapore by author Mary Oliver Let me begin this paper by introducing you to two people who live among many others in this world. One is an Electrical Engineer and the other is a labourer . According to the world , there is alot of difference in these both . A lot of things vary among them. One is highly educated and the other is not. One works in an Air conditioned office where as the other works in burning sun. The engineer earns in hundreds of thousands where as the labourer earns in hundreds....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
618 words (1.8 pages)

Essay on Explication of Mary Oliver’s “The Black Snake”

- In Mary Oliver’s poem “The Black Snake,” the narrator contemplates the cycle of life with the unpredictability of death. Mary Oliver’s work is “known for its natural themes and a continual affirmation of nature as a place of mystery and spirituality that holds the power to teach humans how to value one’s life and one’s place” (Riley). In the poem, The Black Snake, the narrator witnesses a black snake hit by a truck and killed on a road one morning. Feeling sympathy for the snake, the narrator stops, and removes the dead snake from the road....   [tags: Poetry Analysis ]

Research Papers
1158 words (3.3 pages)

Analysis Of Power And Time By Mary Oliver Essay

- In Mary Oliver’s “Of Power and Time,” she shows us a more efficient way of becoming a creative and extraordinary worker. In her work, she shares many examples and ideas to help display her message that creative work should be done by dedicating large amounts of time, and giving it all your effort to make it truly extraordinary. Oliver demonstrates the main idea of that creative work requires more attention as it does not make the world go around, but forwards. Oliver uses curious word choice, asserting ideas, illustration of examples, and strong points, to give her audience of creative workers seeking for improvement a better understanding of how creative and extraordinary work can be done....   [tags: Thought, Idea, Force, Creativity]

Research Papers
996 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Mary Robinson’s The Haunted Beach

- Mary Robinson’s The Haunted Beach Mary Robinson’s “The Haunted Beach” tells a tale of a murder surrounded by mysterious supernatural activity, which ultimately culminates in a decisive, though equally intangible, moral judgment sentenced from above. The poem, characterized by juxtaposed contrasting images, unfolds neatly and rhythmically, as if determined by the hand of Fate herself. Like the “sea-birds hover’d craving” the reader fervently reads on, seeking some illumination on the “strong and mystic chain” which binds both men and nature’s actions which is never fully revealed....   [tags: Poem Poetic Mary Robinson Essays]

Research Papers
1548 words (4.4 pages)

their experience of life has cracked them. "They have almost
vanished,/ with the last relinquishing/ of their unrepeatable energy."
(24-26) These three lines are among the most important in the poem.
Oliver is drawing a parallel between herself and the whelks because
this is how she is to go about finding what lies deep within her soul.
The only way to know what is inside of a whelk is for is to be cracked
open. Whelks accomplish this themselves by being "rubbed so long
against the world." Oliver has to experience the world and live life
in order to respond to it, and in turn respond to herself. It is not
until Oliver knows her feelings about her experiences that she can be
introduced to what lies beneath the "gloss."

In line 28 Oliver realizes that her link is the whelk. She speaks of
how she picks it up and holds it every time she sees one. Occasionally
she has a moment in which she truly understands what she wants out of
life like in lines 31-36. She understands that in order to attain what
she is in search of, she has to be willing to experience nature on a
personal level and "be wild in the darkness." It is then that she will
resemble the whelks in all of her imperfect perfection.

Structurally, the poem is not unusual. It consists of one stanza
containing only five sentences. The line breaks do not necessarily
follow punctuation; sometimes they appear mid-sentence. The diction is
typical of Oliver's style; that is relatively simple. One of the main
structural techniques that is vital to the success of this poem
(success meaning the exposure of the message) is the role of the
narrator. Oliver has used her own experience and her own voice to
portray a common theme. That theme is the discovery of self. If Oliver
had chosen a different narrator or no narrator at all, the point of
the poem may have been lost. Without Oliver's voice, the connection
between her and the whelks would not exist and the poem would merely
be a wonderful picture of an Oceanside stroll, perhaps not even that.

In her reflection in Orion magazine, Oliver speaks of being a stranger
to herself in her younger years. Her interests were to study herself
as William Wordsworth did. Whelks is a good example of how Oliver
intends to study herself. Since she was a little girl, Oliver has
connected with nature. Now she is using nature as a means of
discovering herself. Her understanding of nature will help her draw
parallels to herself as she has accomplished in this particular poem.
Oliver's poetry is a process by which she is attempting to put her own
experiences to paper and thus understanding them on a greater level.
According to Whelks the only way to discover oneself is to understand
one's experiences.
Return to 123HelpMe.com