What is the speaker’s situation in Snyder’s ‘The Late Snow and Lumber Strike of the Summer of Fifty-Four’? Where is he at the end of the poem and what does he resolve to do?
The speaker’s situation in Snyder’s poem is that he is out of work and drifting. His situation has been caused by the snow falling unexpectedly in the summer and a strike by lumber workers. The situation is so bad that “Whole towns shut down” (line 1). Out of work, the , there is little road traffic and the speaker relies on hitching to get around, but again, because of the weather and the strike, there are few rides available to him and he wanders aimlessly – “Blown like dust, no place to work” (line 10) – around Washington State on the west coast. His aimless drifting has its compensations though, and he treks into the mountains where he is awed by two things: “The whole Northwest on strike” (line 22), and the beauty and power of nature. He stands on the peak of Mt. Baker and describes himself as “caught on a snowpeak/between heaven and earth.” (lines 26 – 27) His aimless drifting has been a welcome respire from constant work. However, at the very end of the poem, he is back in reality: looking for work in Seattle.
Consider the struggles of the adolescents in the following: Morrison’s ‘1922’, Walker’s ‘Everyday Use’, and Tan’s ‘Half and Half’
In the chapter ‘1922’ from Morrison’s Sula, Nel and Sula struggle against the racism of boys from the local Irish community, but the most important event in the chapter is the accidental death of Chicken Little. His drowning in the river causes Nel to feel enormous guilt, and Sula is deeply upset and distressed by the event.
In Alice Walker’s ‘Everyday Use’ Maggie suffered terrible facial burns during a house fire when she was a child. She lives alone with Mama, hardly leaving the house and has no job: all her confidence and self-esteem have been destroyed because her face is so scarred and ugly. This physical disfigurement has made her unnaturally shy and timid, and she shuffles meekly around the house. What makes Maggie’s situation even worse is that her older sister Dee has had a good education, moved to te north and is full of confidence and a sense of her own ability. Dee has all the things that Maggie lacks.
In the chapter ‘Half and Half’ in The Joy Luck Club, Rose remembers her feelings of angst when her brother Bing drowned in the sea, while she was supposed to be supervising her younger siblings. She felt she was to blame for the death of Bing and vividly remembers her mother’s grief.
Morrison, Toni. Sula. 1991. London: Picador. Print.
Tan, Amy. The Joy Luck Club. 1994. London: Minerva. Print.
Walkwer, Alice. The Complete Stories. 1994. London: the Women’s Press.