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Interpretive Essay Topic

The interpretive essay will be focusing on three poems in American literature. “I Walk in the Old Street” by Louis Zukofsky fills the senses with nostalgia, along with a sense of wistfulness for the past. It is in this line of thought that the poem is an allusion to the South, in the history of the United States of America. The Old South, during the pre-civil war period, is refreshed in the memory of the current generation time and again, like leaves in the springtime that grow each cycle of seasons.

And upon commemoration, it either is transformed, or remains unchanged, in the minds of the people that decide to visit that street of the past. The culture of the South may be multifaceted through the barrier of time, or like the stars, constant and seemingly eternal. It may appear so near and bright, and yet unreachable and distant. Without any way to interfere with what has occurred during the days of the Old South, which is now irrevocably gone together with slavery in its vast plantations, the scene is similar to looking in a house through a window.

No doorbell can signal the presence of a visitor, or any intruder. Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” symbolizes an invitation to the Hippie lifestyle permeating the decade of the seventies in the United States. The ideology of love, peace, and harmony, together with nature, is used to sway others to embrace and appreciate such way of life. The gentle tone of the text, and use of flowers, and nomadic attitude wherein one is invited to come and live with a person to acquire pleasures, all point to the counterculture of Hippies.

In the poem, “Meeting at Night” of Robert Browning, night represents the period wherein Great Britain denied its British colonies representation in Parliament in London. This dark period is one of non-independence and subjugation to the laws and taxes enforced by a government that did not allow them representation in law-making. Thus, the spark of the beginnings of the American Revolutionary War was borne of the night, amidst a long journey through land and sea, as many obstacles and difficulties were in the way, before like minds of freedom-loving people could finally meet and ignite the fires of independence.

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