Analysis of the Poem "The Story"

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Life is like a journey, and we are like sailors that voyage to an unknown and brand-new territory everyday. There are things that we are willing to do, but, at the same time, we are all a little nervous that those things may backfire and hurt us. It’s a fear that comes naturally because we all know that we are too trivial to gain control over the world. In the poem “The Story”, Karen Conelly examined the confrontation between insignificance and vastness and conveyed the idea that human’s deepest fear is the fear of being consumed by things he does voluntarily.

The poem is highly metaphorical and symbolic. The story, on the surface, really is about swimming in the ocean alone. However, as we readers examine further, it’s quite obvious that there are meanings behind this superficial image. As a matter of fact, the ocean is a metaphor of greatness and mystery. We can also perceive it to be a symbol of life as we all “swim” in this ocean and are truly uncertain about what will happen next. The image of seaweed shadows is apparent in the first stanza, and they can apparently be seen as obstacles that we encounter in the journeys of our lives. In the third paragraph, the poet addressed that in the end, it is only a “drifting body” or a “dolphin”. This seems paradoxical because drifting body is a symbol of death and mortality, whereas, in sharp contrast, dolphins are universally viewed as creatures that are nimble and lively. The use of two completely polar things implies the uncertainty of life and supports the idea that life is fundamentally fearsome.

Several noticeable phrases serve as major roles in the poem’s delivery of message. In the first stanza, the poet wrote about fear to be filled in “thin arms”. The use of the word “thin” emphasizes the vulnerability of individuals when put against the immense ocean. Later on, the poet vividly illustrated the horror and fear that one feels by writing down “in your mouth your heart dissolves”. This...
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