“Placing a $2 Bet” Poetry Analysis
“Placing a $2 Bet for a Man Who Will Never Go to the Horse Races Any More” by Diane Wakoski is an expression of animosity she feels toward her father after meeting him for the first time in 14 years. It is an exploration of her philosophy of life and how her unhappy childhood has impacted her. Wakoski writes about her painful relationship with her father and explores the distant and miniscule relationship between father and daughter. “Placing a $2 Bet” is a poem of Wakoski’s philosophy towards life and the men, specifically her father, who inhabit it.
Wakoski starts the poem not with the first lines, but with the title “Placing a $2 Bet for a Man Who Will Never Go to the Horse Races Any More”. The fact that she is placing a two dollar bet could mean that she is poor, but most probably means that her admiration for her father is extremely low since the minimum amount one can bet is two dollars. Wakoski then starts the body of her poem with the following line: “for my father”. The fact that this line is not capitalized could mean that she does not think her father is deserving of a proper introduction. However, the fact that she does start out with this line could also mean that she does care about her father and wishes they could have shared a relationship. This brings about the first complexity in her confused state of opinion. She then continues on with the following lines: “There is some beauty in sorrow and the sorrowing, perhaps not beauty perhaps dignity would be a better word which communicates life beyond just what the body dictates food clothing shelter.” Wakoski starts the poem in a bizarre fashion with a unique structure that at first seems confusing. However, Wakoski is indeed setting up her poem by introducing the idea that dignity overpowers beauty. Wakoski cleverly states that sadness and those that are sad have some sort of dignity. Wakoski changes the word from “beauty” to “dignity” to erase...
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