Showing 911 - 920 of 921 annotations tagged with the keyword "Suffering"

Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Fiction

Genre: Short Story

Summary:

An astrologer and palm-reader is about to close up shop for the day. He tries to induce one last client to buy his services. The man initially resists, but then gives in. The astrologer then reads in the man's past that he had once been stabbed and left for dead in his village. The man had all this time been searching for his assailant. The astrologer reveals that the assailant had ?died four months ago in a far-off town.? The client is relieved and goes home. When the astrologer returns to his home, he tells his wife that once he had tried to kill a man.

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First Coffin Poem

Ignatow, David

Last Updated: Jul-11-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poet expresses his love for his own coffin. In fact, he is already in the coffin. He urges the reader to see his coffin as a bench for his friends to sit on, or as a coffee table. Though it would be “so much simpler, less gruesome / to use an actual coffee table . . . or a real bench,” that would show us to be rigid: “We must make one thing / do for another.” He urges the reader to use his “pine box,” to take it home, to make it a “conversation piece.”

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Suffering

Holub, Miroslav

Last Updated: Jun-24-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a powerful poem about the "ugly, grunting . . . disgusting creatures" the poet sees through his microscope. We know the creatures are dead, we know the creatures are sliced, we know they’re splayed on the pathologist’s slides. Are they microbes? Are they "bits of animals"? Are they cancer cells? No one asks "whether these creatures wouldn’t have preferred" to live "their disgusting life / in bogs / and canals" or to eat one another. No one asks any questions, "because it’s all quite useless . . . like everything else in this world," a world in which the poet meets "a lonely girl," a general, a rat, even "my own self at every step."

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A Flat One

Snodgrass, W.

Last Updated: Feb-22-1994
Annotated by:
Coulehan, Jack

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

Snodgrass writes about an old veteran who took seven months to die. The voice in the poem is that of a hospital attendant who provided some of the tedious, technical care that kept Old Fritz alive all that time. Though Old Fritz's "animal" may have "grown / sick of the world," his "mind ground on its separate / way, merciless and blind." He endured, he kept on living. Old Fritz raged against death, although he also "whimpered" and cried "like a whipped child . . . . "

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Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

I have never written against the dead, says the narrator, but in this instance, the death of her grandfather, she must. Why? Because, ominously, "he taught my father/ how to do what he did to me." The poem moves from a startlingly literal image of nursing the nameless dead, to the pocketwatch which was sent as a memento after this particular death, to specific personal memories of mistreatment at the hands of the grandfather. The narrator cannot regret this death.

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Late Poem to My Father

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: Feb-09-1994
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator has experienced an epiphany in which she can understand objectively, even forgive, her father’s abusive behavior toward her. She has seen in her mind’s eye her father as a child, in the bleak household where "something was / not given to you, or something was / taken from you . . . "; she wishes that the love she feels for her father now could have nurtured him as a child and saved him from becoming an alcoholic adult who mistreated his family.

 

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Waste Sonata

Olds, Sharon

Last Updated: Feb-09-1994
Annotated by:
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

A powerful lament over a father’s wasted life, and the "purgatory" of living in a household dominated by alcoholism and marital discord. Strong and graphic language weaves a complex web of conflicting emotions: hatred and self-hatred, scorn and pity, condemnation and forgiveness.

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My life closed twice

Dickinson, Emily

Last Updated: Dec-03-1993
Annotated by:
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poet tells of having suffered two great losses--losses so monumental that they are comparable to death. She wonders if another such devastating event awaits her in the future.

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Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
Chen, Irene

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The narrator describes the stages undergone by a person who has experienced great pain and suffering: numbness, loss of the sense of time, the great weight of depression, and finally a poetic comparison to the experience of freezing to death: "First--Chill--then Stupor--then the letting go--."

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Annotated by:
Chen, Irene
Aull, Felice

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Sonnet

Summary:

The poem begins by describing many things that love cannot do, including its inability to heal. The poet observes, however, that many have died "for lack of love alone"; and considers whether, in moments of suffering, she would trade love (which keeps the individual alive) for peace/release.

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