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Robert Gray’s poem, “Flames and Dangling Wire” Essay

How does Robert gray enable the reader to shape the speakers discovery and it’s concequences in “Flames and Dangling wire”?.

The impact of a discovery can be far reaching and transformative for an individual and a broader society. As conveyed in Robert Gray’s poem, “Flames and Dangling Wire”, the audience is invited to discover both the grim experiences at a rubbish dump and in turn uncover the frightful vision of carelessness and environmental degradation in our world. From stanza one, we as an audience are presented with an the visual imagery of an ever burning rubbish dump. As a society, we are lead to believe that harsh environmental impacts are out of our reach, due to the far distance between us and the problem. From this oblivious mindset, we are often provoked to ignore the negative connotations, that we as humans are having on our earth, from simply being swept up in a daze of ignorance.

From stanza one, we are introduced to see our world through a different perspective. We are placed mid action, in a scene where the protagonist is driving to a rubbish dump from the concrete jungle city. The protagonist is in turn, travelling from the familiar into the unfamiliar over the metaphorical border, which in turn enables him to rediscover and discover aspects of himself and in turn his surroundings. From stanza one, we are presented with an image of the distance between the rubbish dump always burning and the city, “driven like stakes into the earth..behind us”. This portraying that our waste is not in foreign locations, but in turn closer than we ever dare thought, like a predator slowly crawling towards its prey. In stanza 2, we are confronted with visual imagery of “Fog over the hot sun”.

Unclear, and unable to see our true source of light, Gray references both our destruction of natural elements in life and in turn the suspension in horror films, where the moon is blanketed by a heap of clouds, to allow the true monsters to come out in the dark of night. In this situation, we are the “shadowy figures”, however we are not only out in the dark but also during the day. Further on in stanza 3 of the 7 line stanza, Gray introduces us to a hellish imagery. “Forking over rubbish on the dampened fires”, we as an audience are immediately engaged, due to the rubbish personifying us as people, being thrown into the fires by our own enemy “The devil”.


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