Abandoned Farmhouse

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Heather Wiley
English 2027, sec. 1
Essay 1
October 29, 2012
“Rural Rags”

Ted Kooser’s poem “Abandoned Farmhouse” depicts an image in which the reader can visualize themselves walking through the ruins of an unfortunate farming family. The ill-fated family is illustrated to be one of a simpler time with a conservative outlook. Each member of the household seems to have a specific duty to the family. The fact that the father of the family took on farming as an occupation slightly puzzles me due to the description of the fact that there were no crops growing in the fields, but boulders were prominent. Kooser’s talent of constructing each line with a careful choice of words leaves the ready wondering what really happened to the forgotten family.

The roles of the family members during a simpler time are described throughout the poem. The father figure of the house hold is depicted as a “God-fearing man, says the bible with the broken back” (4-5). This leads the reader to believe that he read his bible on a daily basis and ran his family with a gentle touch. The wife of the family is prominently featured in lines 9-10. The lines state “A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall papered with lilacs…”. The fact that the woman took time to decorate the bedroom walls leaves the reader to believe that the family has lived here for an extended period of time. The “jars of plum preserves and canned tomatoes” (13-14) also state that there was a woman present for quite some time because it takes a tremendous amount of time to can of all of these preserves. They also had a child together “says the sandbox made from a tractor tire” (11-12). He or she also lived a simple life with a doll dressed in overalls and plastic cow laying in the yard. The child of a farmer usually dreams to have a simple life filled with dreams of tractors because that is all they have ever known.

The life that the family built together leaves the reader wondering if it was intentional or...
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