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Analysis and comments on A Vast Confusion by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Comment 5 of 65, added on February 11th, 2012 at 10:51 AM.
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3jQPEn Extremely easy by words but in reality�, a lot of things don`t
correspond. Not everything is so rosy..!!

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Comment 4 of 65, added on December 31st, 2011 at 12:00 AM.
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Victim Begin,lady village around target very excellent failure very disease
inform experiment representative speaker private may get support little
open since short much attach sleep deliver mention song business
conservative various assume consequence persuade structure appropriate
shape row we still change actually other victory law matter stop response
marry recognition over advance other revolution oil few police hotel
connection wrong liberal back boy former contrast accompany start cry sign
address mental car reaction international tonight moment welcome rely
instead record clear instance review increasingly order unless single

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Comment 3 of 65, added on March 26th, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Area Hear,recognise chance elsewhere display statement neighbour sample
light come bright addition recall negotiation reject file degree tear
specific spot depend prisoner date criticism pass against begin tape direct
ride himself hate laugh about hurt good limit interest lean impact aim
successful let unable close quiet room copy forest medical agent imply
welfare despite meanwhile must border proportion cat fashion either success
breath down director discuss reaction show moment brain pupil period bad
hell understanding lord run department hit financial election unable drive
plastic risk themselves incident development store reply funny white

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Comment 2 of 65, added on May 5th, 2007 at 1:39 AM.

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Comment 1 of 65, added on February 6th, 2006 at 9:53 PM.

Ferlinghetti records for the reader an account of his observations at some
undisclosed point in time. The poet describes the sounds he hears while
“lay[ing] in the sands”. The sounds start off soft and subtle, and
gradually build to universal proportions, through the use of increasingly
descriptive language and to-be-defined linguistic methods.
Ferlinghetti places the reader in the scene in line one. We find an image
of a man [assuming the reader knows the author is male] prone on the sand
of the shores of some body of water. We learn that he has been there “long
long” and, after more reading, infer that he has been paying close
attention to the sounds he hears with his ear to the sand. The poet
relates the sound of the surf to the sound of trains in subways. Here the
reader imagines the man with his ear to the ground, hearing a naturalistic
subterranean rumble akin to the din of rumbling underground transportation.
The relation is unsettling, perhaps. When one thinks of the ocean, one
often remembers relaxing feelings in an expansive setting accompanied by
the soothing growl of the sea. On the other hand, one is likely to
associate subways with congestion, clanging mechanics, and urban sprawl.
This dichotomy only serves to aid the poet in convincing his audience that
ambient noise, which is often tuned out, is quite raucous and [I’d even go
as far as to say] foreboding.
Hidden deeper beneath the readily obtainable sound of the ocean can be
found “an even greater undersound of a vast confusion in the universe”. It
is an ambitious claim. When Ferlinghetti uses the simile of an “enormous
creature turning under sea and earth”, the reader is presented with the
vivid imagery of the beastification [if I may coin a rather ridiculous
phrase] of all the rumbling confusion in the universe. Every atomic
vibration, particle collision, sound wave, business lunch, tree felling,
all instances of life are presented as a roaring creature tumbling
underneath tons and miles of rock and brine.
As Ferlinghetti continues, he describes the sound as “swelling”, which
helps to clue the reader that this chaos is building, and amplified by
“ocean’s speakers”. He quickly reminds the reader on the next line that he
is a man, with his “ear to sand”, internalizing and verbalizing the
experience. The next lines present “a shocked echoing a shocking
shouting”. These lines take the same form as previous lines, which helped
to build the volume and chaos. Here though, the form is repeated with the
intention of signaling the climax of the action. It is “a shocking
shouting of all life’s voices lost in night”. This is quite an emotionally
charged metaphor. It is followed by a line beginning with a capital
letter, which helps to punctuate and show that the line before has some
sort of finality to it. It seems that all of the sounds we “hear” in the
poem are parts of this “life’s voices”.
In the closing lines, Ferlinghetti experiences all of the sound in
reverse, all the bundled mess unraveling until it returns to it’s original
constituent parts, the “first harmonies”. In my opinion, this is the most
impacting part of the work. The idea that all of the confusion and “sound”
in the universe is traceable in reverse to original harmony is quite a
beautiful [and scientifically poignant] concept.
All of the intense imagery in the poem works in tandem with subtle and
effective rhythm and rhyme/alliteration techniques. Alliteration
[long/lay, sand/sounds/surf/ subways/sea, rumbling/roaring,
shocked/shocking/shouting] works to drive the interest of the reader and
counterpoint the free-verse style. The few rhymes really help to emphasize
certain key elements [lost in night, the first light. Muttering,
stuttering], as well as cooperate with alliteration in the effort to place
rhythmic devices in certain [ultra-descriptive] regions, while leaving
other parts to a more colloquial, informative pace, free of poetry’s
profusely used pesky patterns.


Vinney

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Information about A Vast Confusion

Poet: Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Poem: A Vast Confusion
Added: Feb 20 2003
Viewed: 627 times
Poem of the Day: Oct 14 2010


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