They sit in a row
outside the kindergarten,
black, red, brown, all
with those brass buckles.
Remember when you couldn’t
buckle your own
or tie your own
or tie your own shoe
or cut your own meat
and the tears
running down like mud
because you fell off your
Remember, big fish,
when you couldn’t swim
and simply slipped under
like a stone frog?
The world wasn’t
It belonged to
the big people.
Under your bed
sat the wolf
and he made a shadow
when cars passed by
at night.
They made you give up
your nightlight
and your teddy
and your thumb.
Oh overshoes,
don’t you
remember me,
pushing you up and down
in the winter snow?
Oh thumb,
I want a drink,
it is dark,
where are the big people,
when will I get there,
taking giant steps
all day,
each day
and thinking
nothing of it?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Anne Sexton's poem The Fury Of Overshoes


  1. saasoo says:

    I think this poem is about the difference between being a child and a grown up .you think life will be good,but alas; you will find a lot of difficulties to adapt to the reality and to be responsible for every thing you will do

  2. Miriam says:

    When I was young, I always used to wonder all about life and when I was finally going to “grow up.” I am now in high school, and as a student, I have wondered where all of MY teddies have gone, and where my nightlight is from when I was younger. I wished so much to start to be a part of my world and active, driving a car and taking difficult classes in school, I gave up so many of my childlike pleasures, my nightlight and my teddy, for instance. Instead of just being a child, I decided to be “Grown up” and tie my own shoes, a reoccuring element and symbol in this poem. This element represents the nature of children to be independant and like my parents.
    The world wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter, I had to learn. I had to learn to swim and learn to disregard my childlike fears of shadows and the dark. I exchanged these naivities for knowledge, for wisdom, and for the ability to make a difference and now it is my time to shine.
    Also, it is instilled in this poem that we are the dreamers of dreams and that we can be the “big people” who we have sacrificed ourselves to become, the aversion back to the thumb signals that maybe I’m not fully ready to go out into the world, maybe I’m not the best candidate, maybe I’m not just like that adult I see who is amazing and can do millons of things with just a few minutes to spare. I buckled you, shoes, a long time ago and I’m wondering you will kick in and I will be like my parents?
    I wonder when I can become the person I am meant to be… I wonder when I can take those giant steps. When we get to taking those big steps, we must keep on and cherish the moments we spend. We have waited for it all of our lives, it is our time to shine.
    Miriam Mus.

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