Poem Explication

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Patrick Primeaux
Dr. David Pulling
English 1002
March 13, 2013
Describing Linda Pastan’s “Pass/Fail”
This poem was written in a style using free verse. This means that there is no rhyming repetition and it sounds pretty much like a speech given by a person. The author of this poem, Linda Pastan, wrote this poem in 1975 to give the reader what she experienced through images. In this case, the images portray the worries of taking an exam and how to study. An (image) is a way to express to the senses through language. The most often used in the world of poetry is visual, providing verbal pictures of encounters that the poet had – imaginary or fake. But on the other hand, poets sometimes appeal to other senses and not just one. In the case of “Pass/Fail”, Pastan is describing what might happen as you go through the process of taking an exam and the anxieties. Pass/Fail1975

You will never graduate
from this dream
of blue books.
No matter how
you succeed awake,5
asleep there is a test
waiting to be failed.
The dream beckons
with two dull pencils
but you haven’t even10
taken the course;
when you reach for a book -
it closes its door
in your face; when
you conjugate a verb - 15
it is in the wrong
language.
Now the pillow becomes
a blank page. Turn it
to the cool side;20
you will still smother
in all of the feathers
that have to be learned by heart.
The first 3 lines says “you will never graduate from this dream of blue books.”(lines 1-3). There are some people that can study and when it is time to take the test, they pass it with flying colors. But, there are certain types of people that exams make them feel the anxiety that makes them dream about the failure. The person can study for as long as they want, but before they go to bed, they are thinking, “oh god, what am I going to do? I studied as much as I can and I still don’t remember anything. I don’t know if I am going to pass this test...
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