Auto Wreck Poem Analysis Essay

Essay Sharpios "auto Wreck": The Theme Of Death

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Sharpio's "Auto Wreck": The Theme of Death

     Few subjects can be discussed with more insightfulness and curiosity than death. The unpredictability and grimness of it are conveyed well in Karl
Shapiro's poem, "Auto Wreck". The poem starts with a description of an ambulance rushing to the scene of a crash, and hurriedly gathering up the victims and rushing them away. The aftermath of the police investigation that follows leaves the crowd gathered around the scene to explore privately and individually a range of feelings and emotions about the reality of death.
Shapiro's usage of imagery together with figurative language is a key element in getting the theme of death across to the reader. By…show more content…

The words themselves continue to give clues about the theme in line 11 which reads, "Then the bell, breaking the hush, tolls once." I saw this line as an allusion to an old expression taken from poetry for the unpredictablilty of death, "for whom the bell tolls". The expression emphasizes the fact that no one knows who will be next in line for fate to meet them in a grim way, and this allusion gives the last two stanzas more effectiveness when the feelings are expressed by the speaker.
     In the second stanza, the actual words are not the main reflection of the theme of the poem as much as the imagery itself. The reader gets the clue that the speaker is actually at the scene reacting to it simply by the word "We" in the first line. When the scene is described there is mention of "pools of blood" and glass being swept away by seemingly unfeeling policemen, described in line 16 as "large and composed". The speaker feels deranged walking among these cops and actually feeling the gravity of the situation, while the police go on about their business not expressing any remorse. They make notes and hang lanterns and just do their job. Again, the "pools of blood" is the best example of imagery reflecting theme by explaining the grimness present at an auto wreck.
The reaction to the wreck and imagery created in

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“Auto Wreck” is an impressionistic poem of three stanzas and thirty-nine lines that takes a hard look at the spectacle of injury and accident in a crassly technological world. The title, in trademark Karl Shapiro style, focuses attention on the unadorned, literalist description of a common event or experience.

In the first stanza, which comprises the first fourteen lines, the reader is situated, as it were, in front of an ambulance that is speeding toward the scene of an automobile accident; the reader is kept informed by an omniscient voice, which scrupulously provides both sensual and metaphorical detail that brings the reader uncomfortably close to both the horrifying event and his or her own matter-of-fact response to its horror.

The ambulance’s red light pulses “like an artery,” confronting the reader early with an image of blood, anticipating the arrival at the accident scene and preparing the reader for the sight of “stretcherslaid out, the mangled lifted/ And stowed into the little hospital.” As the ambulance and its “terrible cargo” move away, the reader is left to contemplate the waiting physicians who will attempt to restore seeping life to the victims.

In the second stanza, the point of view shifts and the narrative voice becomes an introspective “we,” implicating the reader as one of the “deranged, walking among the cops/ Who sweep glass and are large and uncomposed.” These police officers,...

(The entire section is 548 words.)


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