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A comparison between “The Paltry Nude Starts on a Spring Voyage” and “What Are Movies For?”
Two distinct poems seem to share many similarities centralized in American culture and other non-American cultures that are integrated through many means. Wallace Stevens and Frederick Seidel’s poems both have the same rise into a different setting of what the original changed into something that will not retain its shape. It can be seen as of the American soil and spirit was sullied by the invasion of foreigners especially when one does not assimilate the cultures together.
However, one thing that they both had in common was the racism and discrimination that followed especially of events and norms that triggered such. Although it does not seem clear whether or not racism was encouraged during the poems, it only presented the mere changes within the society and how two cultures will clash and somewhat be in conflict. Ideas and beliefs are meant to be shared, but if either is disputed, it can lead to vast unwanted assaults and territorial rivalry.
The United States was depicted as the most influential nation of power that exceeds every nation, but now it has changed either for good or the better.
“Archaic, for the sea” depicts post World War I as a hectic time especially in countries with conflicts causing many refugees to increase suddenly and in search for a new home. When American presented itself as the land of opportunity, of course, refugees and many people who are enticed with the slogan would migrate their life there if need be.
When America started to become a melting pot nation, it did not come without its rough edges, and in fact, there is a bloody history trailing to that. The Harmonium seems like a voyage going through tough current. “Tired of the salty harbors, Eager for the brine and bellowing” shows to every waking hour, that destruction seems to catch up with them reminding them of the life they want to get away from is now haunting them. However, still, they tread on, knowing that the life they chose can lead to greener pastures. However, before that, there was also the pursuit of the economic boom that also attracted workers from outside. This was known as the great migration that inevitably leads the African American population to rise massively during the 1930s. Those people were desperate to any answer of the work call as long as they have their needs met, which lead to them performing odd jobs that later sees them as inferior especially post World War II.
Frederick Siedel’s Ooga-Boga relates to it but only in modern America in the early 2000s. “That squirts the soda,” depicts this a poem of post 9/11 and can be depicted as the terrible event that teased when the plane crashed the twin towers and “The whole hideous thing would have to be leveled” adds up to it. The events of the post World War I somehow collided with a sense of similar issues reigning in today’s world. The rise of patriotism when Siedel mentioned the white trash in the Southern moonlight which can be seen when America was colonizing other countries. This is something to ponder about because America has reached many countries and did not assimilate but rather forced their norms and cultures to non-Americans. This did not create a culture harmony, but rather disparity and they should conform to their ways. So now when immigrants are now coming to the United States, it is a painful reminder of how they let them be an American and not only as their own.
What the poem talk about is always the theme of familiarity and dissimilarity such as the effects of globalization has taken the world by storm and perhaps American was one of the countries that helped jumpstart it. Although, the unwanted consequences were the hugest flood of immigrants that were extremely massive compared to Steven’s time in which American can no longer be seen as a white nation. When America became a melting pot culture, it provided everyone the opportunity of either race or gender to live the life as a full American. “Across the spick torrent, ceaselessly, upon her irretrievable way” shows that the moment one should step foot in foreign soil will eventually change their ways to the other countries liking. They have rules and regulation that wished to be followed even though it might seem rough. “I am the crocodile of joy, who never lies” finally depicts the penultimate of change of how a raptor such as a crocodile seeks to harm with less remorse. This states that life is cruel and when seeking to different lands, it will not bode well.
In conclusion, Steven and Frederick’s poem tells a story in time from the early 1900s to the early 2000s of how distinctions were met and differences collided. It can be portrayed as when America crossed forth to other nations seizing them, but karma strikes them back as a massive amount of immigrants swept by their borders in search of opportunity. The racism that still occurred before and today is still present although in varying degrees If one wishes to create harmony with someone of a different culture, is to accept the assimilation of one another that hopefully another poem will not recreate the destruction a hundred years later.
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