Showing 911 - 920 of 926 annotations tagged with the keyword "Suffering"

Medicine

Walker, Alice

Last Updated: Nov-11-1994
Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

An adult tells a very simple story about her elderly grandparents. In the morning the speaker wakes the sleeping couple observing that Grandpa, who is ill and in pain, gains comfort from the old woman in bed beside him. In fact the grandmother IS medicine that "stops the pain" during the night, a medicine contained "in her unbraided hair." Grandma's act of crawling into bed with loosened hair sustains him; it is an act of compassion, of love and an oblique reference to conjugal union.

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Annotated by:
Nixon, Lois LaCivita

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

For those considering a comprehensive overview of plague in Medieval Europe, Hirsch’s long poem is extremely useful. Comprised of thirty-five stanzas, it provides an historical account of devastation associated with the onset of plague in Venice in 1347. An inventory of behavioral responses to catastrophic disease illustrates that responses to AIDS frequently mimic irrational behaviors associated with earlier epidemics. There are references to hysteria, scapegoating, flagellants, illness symptoms, escape, desperate cures, and religious fervor.

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A Palsied Girl Goes to the Beach

Hunt, Nan

Last Updated: Oct-27-1994
Annotated by:
Squier, Harriet

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

In this poem, a young woman with cerebral palsy must withstand the rude stares of children and the withdrawal of adults as they watch her walk to the beach. The narrator has never had a normal appearing body. She likens herself to objects in nature: mantises, crabs, coquinas. While these comparisons are not exactly flattering, they allow her to feel that she belongs in the world of nature. Only in the natural world are her jerky movements considered normal. Sitting on the beach she feels "inconsequential." Yet, the way her body is able to "stay the waves" and "more than stay-Resist," suggests that she is not inconsequential.

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Up-Hill

Rossetti, Christina

Last Updated: Aug-08-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

The poem is an exchange of questions and answers that compares life to a journey. The journey is up-hill all the way, but at the end is an inn, a resting place, that cannot be missed and which has a room for everyone.

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Cold Head, Cold Heart

Piercy, Marge

Last Updated: Aug-05-1994
Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Summary:

This is a comic poem in which the narrator describes the experience of having a head cold.

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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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