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Analysis and comments on Yes, I have a thousand tongues by Stephen Crane

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Comment 14 of 94, added on March 7th, 2008 at 3:17 PM.

a tongue often represents a language. I believe this is a world reference,
the world speaks a thousand languages, but only one language is that of
truth... not a literal language mind you... not like English or Spanish.
But a figurative language. It would then make sense if you thought of the
word dead as describing a dead language, such as Latin. A dead language
that the world no longer uses.

Alex from United States
Comment 13 of 94, added on February 3rd, 2007 at 7:45 PM.

-i try not to be, but i am a liar- thats it... thats all there is to this

Mike from United States
Comment 12 of 94, added on February 27th, 2006 at 4:36 PM.

in the Iliad (book 2) Homer says he needs 10 mouths with 10 tongues to
catalogue the greeks' ships. Virgil makes a jokey allusion to this in the
Georgics, saying he needs 100 mouths/tongues to name all the trees there
are. I think he might say something similar in the Aeneid too but can't
remember the reference. Basically I think it became a topos in classical
literature, with quite a few Latin writers post Virgil (lucilus, persius
spring to mind, poss there are others) saying they needed 10/100/1000 extra
mouths/tongues. Not sure if Mr Crane is alluding to the classical
tradition, but there it is.

DC from United Kingdom
Comment 11 of 94, added on February 1st, 2006 at 8:57 PM.

You are taking this too literally. The 999 tounges represent lies and that
it is easier to tell a lie than to tell the truth.

Comment 10 of 94, added on November 28th, 2005 at 10:39 AM.

Isn't this poem stange? He finds it easier to lie than tell the truth then
he dies?!? Why would he have 1000 tongues any way?

Bec from United Kingdom
Comment 9 of 94, added on November 6th, 2005 at 3:05 PM.

There are times that I have found myself in a cold-hearted rage, poison
coming up from my heart and out my mouth, NOT listening to the small voice
inside me saying, "you're going to regret this."

Comment 8 of 94, added on September 28th, 2005 at 9:03 AM.

I believe Crane is talking about his characters. He has spoken in a
thousand tongues, but everyone is a distortion of his true voice. His
inner world can only be expressed through these fictional voices because he
believes his ability to express himself authentically is dead. On some
level I think he believes we all have this problem.

Bryan from United States
Comment 7 of 94, added on May 16th, 2005 at 2:20 PM.

What most amazes me about this poem is that, according to the information,
he wrote it five years after he died.

Which toungue was that?

Kevin from United Kingdom
Comment 6 of 94, added on April 18th, 2005 at 10:12 PM.

The poem isn't really that complicated. Crane is just trying to point out
how it's easier for mankind to lie then to speak the truth. As one lies
more and more the truth becomes lost, hence the other tongue is "dead in
his mouth". Haha...speaks a thousand languages.....ohhh...that's a laugh

Hannah from United States
Comment 5 of 94, added on April 17th, 2005 at 9:43 PM.

Stephen Crane is telling us that he has a thousand tongues, which probably
symbolize personalities. He is telling us that he has many personalities
and that they all lie. He tries to use the one that is true to himself, but
it doesn’t work, *dead* as he says. That is showing how he probably
conforms to society and shows them all the different things they want to
see that he never has time to use his other *tongue* and it later dies. As
it dies, it shows that he is basically dead to himself and can’t be real
and doesn’t know how to be himself or speak the truth because he had to
have so many other aliases. We all fight within ourselves and when we let
the fake parts control us then we lose ourselves and we die to us, and only
live to society.
i like this poem very much, it is very symbolic!

Elizabeth from United States

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Information about Yes, I have a thousand tongues

Poet: Stephen Crane
Poem: 4. Yes, I have a thousand tongues
Volume: The Black Riders & Other Lines
Year: 1905
Added: Jan 31 2004
Viewed: 958 times
Poem of the Day: Aug 15 2000

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