“Shine Perishing Republic”

Topics: City, Urban area, Industrial Revolution Pages: 2 (520 words) Published: September 21, 2012
Prompt: In1925, Robinson Jeffers published the following words in his poem “Shine Perishing Republic”:

“But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption / Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster’s feet there are left the mountains.”

To what degree do you agree or disagree with his sentiment? In a well-reasoned essay, challenge, defend, or qualify the validity of his advice for children today. Use appropriate evidence to defend your assumption.


The world began as an untouched, purely rural community. With time, urbanization has spread and taken over. Villages became cities, and cities became bustling metropolises that both inspire and intimidate. Robinson Jeffers, one of many who fear the expansion of cities and all that they bring with them, expresses his concerns in his poem “Shine Perishing Republic”. Jeffers urges Americans to keep their distance from the cities and their corruption. While people should be wary of the corruption and selfishness that drives cities, they should not let that sentiment deprive themselves of the diversity and unique character found in cities.

Many Americans voiced their doubts and fears about industrialization and urbanization when it first began in earnest around the mid-1800’s. A century later, in 1925, Robinson Jeffers echoes those feelings in his poem. It’s no surprise that these concerns are not unfounded. Cities are the breeding ground for powerful business and political leaders who are interested primarily in their own profit and benefit. However, as Jefferson puts it, “corruption never has been compulsory”. It is not that there is corruption because there is a city, but that there is a city because there is corruption. The cities “thickening center” is fueled by corruption and in turn drives the growth of the entire city. The seemingly uninhibited expansion and growth of the city is what frightens Jeffers the most...
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