American Gothic is one of America’s greatest poems that were written by Grant Wood in the 1930’s. The traditional painting came about, because of regionalism. This was in reference to the resistance against the Europeans, and it depicted the American life. Quite a number of interpretations can be drawn from the painting. It can stimulate imaginations of the people. Jane Yolen’s poem is an expression of the painting with the use of stylistic devices aimed at explaining the explication the artwork achieves. The poem by Jane Yolen is an effective mechanism that depicts the movement of the American people under Regionalism.
The poem is short in structure and uses short sentences in the stanzas. It does not contain a rhyme scheme at the end of every sentence. The poem uses a commanding tone on the onset of the painting’s introduction as it focuses on the hidden meaning. The author uses imagery in reference to the counting of cows and the symbol of a fork held by the farmer. There is a constant tempo of the poem in regards to the objective at looking in the past of the painting while referring to what lies ahead. It also uses foreshadowing in reference to the gaze of the farmer’s eyes and subsequent avoidance of direct contact of the farmer’s wife.
In comparison to Davenport’s explication of American Gothic, the poem highlights the simple explanation as concerns the struggles faced by the American farmers at the time of the painting. The explication uses symbolism to refer to the house and fork as means of settlement into city life for farmers who were accustomed to farm life. The gaze by the farmer’s wife is in hindsight of the distraught nature of the movement. The poem, on the other hand, refers to cows and herds that are figurative, while the explication does not contain their image. The explication and the poem both paint a gloomy mood in the representation of American life.
The last two lines of Jane Yolen’s poem on American Gothic state, “We are not what we own. We own what we would be” (McQuade and McQuade 522). These lines have a contradictory tone in expression of the meaning of the poem. The farmer and his wife own a new house on a city life setting. The pitchfork in hand symbolizes their livelihood of farming while the house shows a different environment to what they are accustomed. By stating that we are not what we own, this refers to the source of livelihood for the farmer and his wife. It implies that their choice has been forced on them, yet it hails from their customs and the early form of life.
The last line of the poem explains the meaning of the entire poem as it reflects on what the farmer hopes for in terms of income source. The farmer and his wife own a new house, and this shows the level of expectation in terms of their goals from the farm work into the adoption of a city life. This is in reference to the movement of regionalism that the Americans were in resistance against the Europeans. The Americans favored their traditional forms of livelihoods and the satisfaction that was brought about.
McQuade, Donald, and Christine McQuade. Seeing & Writing 4. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.
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