so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens.

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

64 Comments

  1. Melissa says:

    Because poetry is all about the interactive thoughts of the reader and the ‘drawing’ ability of the writer, every interpretation is valid. I would like to point out the use of the word “depend” in the first line & how man (wheelbarrow)is inter-dependent on nature (chicken & rain and soil). The inter-dependency of all living things represent a cycle of existence. Why red & white? Red would be the bolder, more vibrant color of roosters and white, the symbol of innocence & purity (the chicken). Masculinity & Femininity are also inter-dependent for the existence/continuation of life. The concept ‘wheel’ is different than the concept of ‘barrow’…likewise the concept of ‘rain’ and ‘water’. The words themselves depend on each other to complete the full thought. Williams has ‘drawn’ a simplistic rural scene that serves to point out our responsibilities, humility, and understanding of our existence in the natural world.

  2. john says:

    I dont understand the poem its to short man

  3. Rodney says:

    A child would not write “So much depends upon” nor would they say the wheelbarrow is “glazed in rainwater” thereby transform its aesthetic. Like good haiku, this poem says a great deal about life by observing the real in everyday life.

    Rodney

  4. Samantha says:

    I am an English teacher and so I love symbolism, etc. but people are reading way too much into these poems, things that aren’t there. So much depends on a wheelbarrow literally and that image is beautiful and simple. There’s nothing else necessary.

Leave a Reply to Rodney Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.

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.