so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

Analysis, meaning and summary of William Carlos Williams's poem The Red Wheelbarrow


  1. Sarah says:

    I cant believe that this tiny, simple, little poem has provoked so many different interpretations

  2. dlrkdus says:

    The person who said the red, white and blue. for wheelbarrow, chickens and water. Water is clear, the ocean is blue because it is the reflection of the sky.
    And another mentioned that Williams wrote this poem after checking for strep throat. I read elsewhere that it was after he had delivered a baby who had died during the delivery. Where are you getting your facts?

  3. bob says:

    the background to this poem is that Williams, who was a physician, was with a terminaly ill child, looking out a window, he saw a wheelbarrow across the courtyard. he thought if he could just get the child to walk to the wheelbarrow, the child might have a chance to live. the child never made it out of the bed, and the poem is about how he paid more attention to getting the child to walk than to live.

  4. Big-D-Rob says:

    I know what it means
    its about poetry
    its not straight forward
    he is saying that so much depends on the little details to make poetry right

  5. b says:

    this poem exposes what is wrong with society. Other races, or the lower class have always had it rough. the red wheelbarrow is their form of life. old technologies, like the wheel, is how the wheel barrow works. The red stands out because is is the color people associate with several things such as violence, or communism. The white chickens are the bourgeois, businesses owners of the time period this was wrote in. They can survive without the support of the wheelbarrow, and so they are just beside it, not in any action with it. every line of this poem is something W.C.W. was trying to expose, and to try to make a change.

  6. Anthony says:

    what is so bad about this poem

  7. jon says:

    the pome is to small

  8. wow says:

    come on….both “sexy jew,” and “jessie,” both of your comments were uncalled for. sexy jew…yours is just TMI and jessie….nice sterotype! that could have been really hurtfull to some people….so i think you need to be more mature….both of you!

  9. jessie says:

    sorry…”sexy jew” but your comment was so uncalled for
    it proves your insolence.
    no wonder…your a jew!

  10. sexy jew says:

    i think it’s quite humorous to see that so many people waste their lives commenting on what they think this poem means. i mean…my dick is longer than this poem. he probably wiped his ass and described what the shit on the toilet paper looked like. there is no deeper meaning. if anything, this guy had Tourettes and randomly shouted out these words. they don’t mean anything. poo poo on you 😛

  11. ea says:

    Sorry, d, but Carlos can not possibly be using the word chickens without inferring that they are the cowards.

  12. d says:

    i somewhat agree with janen. i think the red wheelbarrow symbolizes the everyday little things that we take for granted. the white chickens is just to juxtapose and create an image in our heads. in that way, we already begin to notice the wheelbarrow more, as the colours contrast and red stands out. plus, the enjambment of wheel barrow makes one realize[it has wheels, and is shaped like a barrow].

  13. CHeese says:

    I believe that this poem is about the white and the other races subject, that the whites are chickens and that because they are white, they do not depend on the red wheelbarrow’s rain because they are white and in that idea, more dominant to themselves because they have more things, etc. The rest of the races depend on the red wheelbarrow because of what it gives them that they cannot get from a fresher source because of their race and racism. The red wheelbarrow is not fresh but it is the only other thing that allows the other races to survive which shows that they have hard lives where the whites don’t because of their race.

  14. janen says:

    i think the red wheelbarrow is a poetry which signifies every simple things in life that sometimes we try to ignore although it may be so helpful in a lot of times.

  15. Terrence Hopper says:

    I’m not sure what’s more amusing-
    the people who don’t like this poem
    or the people that do. If you want to
    know why I say that read The Red Wheelbarrow-
    Solved by Terrence Hopper at this website:

  16. Monina says:

    I LIKE TOTALY LOVE THIS POEM I LIVE MY LIFE BY IT i love it so much. its like so inspirational it makes me wanna ride a wheelbarrow and look at white chickens like yeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh

  17. Micha says:

    SOS…I just don’t get it, this poem seems so empty…and the worst part is that I have a poetry exam tomorrow!!!

  18. bob says:

    im doin a project on William and if anyone could email me information on what this poem means or anything you think would be helpfull for a grade 12 english project i would greatly appreciate it

  19. mike says:

    The person Jasmine who said this poem doesnt make sense is an idiot. Anyone can see that Williams has used his mastery of imagery to show much more than a red wheelbarrel, if you were to look for a deeper meaning then you would find one.

  20. Spinna says:

    The Kami-sama of all poems is the Williams. He uses such simple imagery of split second images to make one beutiful poem. The red wheelbarrow is swift and nimble in its simplistic word play that even a simple high school dropout to a child of the age of five could understand its profound and deep meaning. The king of poems is undoubtably this man. In fact this man is so masterful even he does not know how masterful he is. I truly weep for his passing and I will continue to mournh until my own life is forfit to the unyelding power that is death personified.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Do you have any comments, criticism, paraphrasis or analysis of this poem that you feel would assist other visitors in understanding the meaning or the theme of this poem by William Carlos Williams better? If accepted, your analysis will be added to this page of American Poems. Together we can build a wealth of information, but it will take some discipline and determination.