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Analysis and comments on Southern Mansion by Arna Bontemps

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Comment 7 of 17, added on February 3rd, 2007 at 2:54 PM.

Certain and special ideas are in this poem.as a good example we can refer
to the words like poplar,marble and cotton.These things are all white,the
color of death.Or the use of the words representing sounds like
tinkling,dragging and iron clank.The use of one sentence at the beginning
and the end of the poem also is interesting.
There are some materials in this poem that refer to idea of DEATH.For
instance,the use of the words poplars,marble,cotton that are all white and
have the color of death.Or the alliteration in the first line by using the
sounds [t],[d] and [th].Ghosts,which are the most important feature in the
poem,also remind the reader this idea.Music echoing,which is a sound of the
music gradually disappearing,is another factor reminding death.
There are three different visions in each stansa of the poem.The first
stansa contains the seeing vision and the experience gotten by seeing.The
second stansa,however,refers to the hearing of the sounds.The last stansa
of the poem refers to the review of history by the sentence:"The years go
back with an iron clank"These three visions can have some emotional effects
on the reader in order to get the idea of the poem better.
The tense of the sentences in the poem is also important.All of the tenses
are different aspects of the present tense.There is no sentence with the
past future tense in the poem.This use of tense makes the reader closer to
the scene of the poetry and improves the effect of the poem.
If we have a good look,we see that there are some things apparently not
related at all.For example,the hand on the gate,the poplars,the ghosts and
the roses broken down by them and the dry leaf.But if we pay attention,we
see that thge choice of these things is very smart.All,except the
hand,refer to the idea of death.the hand also can be the hand of the poet
himself who is describing the scene while his hand is on the door.
The mansion usually is the place of joy,but in this poem its glory has
fallen.Maybe if its residents had not broken roses down,it would not had
happened.Roses can be symbol of the others' right in life here.
At the end I think that this poem is a very good poem for teaching
poetry.Because it has different ideas represented by different visions that
can create very useful comments in a class.

Siavash Ghazisaidi from Iran
Comment 6 of 17, added on April 10th, 2006 at 9:26 PM.

What does this poem mean exactly i would like to know so i could understand
it better..thank you

Tee from Canada
Comment 5 of 17, added on February 23rd, 2006 at 7:45 AM.

Great commentary on slavery and its wrongs

Jakima Davis from United States
Comment 4 of 17, added on January 30th, 2006 at 8:13 PM.

This is the best poem from my best poet!!!!!!!!!!

Nikki
Comment 3 of 17, added on January 30th, 2006 at 1:34 PM.

Yo this Poem is about weed i think..

Money Mike from Colombia
Comment 2 of 17, added on January 26th, 2006 at 10:59 AM.

i dont like this poem

Stephen from Australia
Comment 1 of 17, added on November 27th, 2004 at 7:03 PM.

Bontemps at first made this poem very confusing for me, and it took alot of
thinking to even understand what it's about. I think it has to do with a
slave, and his master's mansion and all of the music and happiness he heard
while he was out slaving in the feilds. The only music that the slaves
heard was the "tinkling of cotton"...basicly the slave chains dragging.
Bontemps uses time very wisely in the poem, he begins in the "now", takes
the second stanza to the "past" and then the third in the "now". The goasts
of dead men, I think, are the slaves comming back to the mansion to walk
that of which they could not during life. The usage of sound is very
prevailent in this poem as well, especially in the second stanza. The
author is able to portray the lack of music and joy that the slaves
suffured, hearing the distant music beauty in the mansion while they
endured the clinking of chains. The third stanza is focusing on the goasts
having "broken down the roses". I think (though this is rather a farout
stretch, and may be completly wrong...) that the slave goasts have come to
walk on roses; trod on the white man's garden; destroy the beauty that they
could never have. Lastly, Bontemps begins and ends the poem with: "Poplars
are standing there still as death", it entrances the reader in the scenary
and truley enhances the setting. A thoroughly intriguing, but confusing
poem by Arna Bontemps.

stephanie from United States

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Information about Southern Mansion

Poet: Arna Bontemps
Poem: Southern Mansion
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 15180 times
Poem of the Day: Dec 4 2000


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