Roller Skate Man
The poem “Roller Skate Man” by Raymond Souster is about a legless man who gets around on a block of wood strapped to roller-skates. The central purpose of this poem is to make people realize that the way disabled people are treated in society is wrong. That is because the author/narrator describes the man to be physically unappealing by using words such as: “shrivelled body”, “freak” and “big head”. The words used to describe him are based on what society thinks of this particular person. It takes place sometime during the rush hour because in the second verse the author says “…speed between silk-stockinged legs...” meaning that he is speeding through many people. Also, in the second verse, the geographical setting is given by the author “…Queen Street…” Also, the fact that the man is clamped on a block of wood and uses his gloved hands to propel himself tells us that he is poor because he cannot afford a wheelchair to go around the city. Lastly, the central idea of this poem is to overcome obstacles no matter how big.
The entire poem contains one extended metaphor about a boat on a river. The development of the metaphor began in verse two when the author compared his hands to paddles, because the man uses his hands to propel himself and navigate around the street and pavement. Next, the author used “familiar waters” implying that the street he was on was a river and that he does this often; hence the word familiar. Because of the extended metaphor, we can infer that the block of wood may also be a boat navigating across the waters. When we put all the pieces together we get a full, clear image: The man was getting around on his boat (“block of wood”), paddling (“hands are paddles”), speeding against the current (“Silk-stockinged legs”) and all of this happening throughout the vast river (“Queen Street”). The tone of the poem was heroic because in a sense the author is praising the man throughout the poem by describing all the things he has...
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