Warren Pryor

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Poem Essay

Warren Pryor

From Farm to City

Feeling like the grass is greener on the other side of the fence is a common feeling. In the poem, Warren Pryor, the protagonist’s parents sacrifice everything “to free him from the stony fields, the meagre acreage that bore them down.” Warren’s parents only want what they think is best for him — and that isn’t life on a farm. “They blushed with pride when, at his graduation, they watched him picking up the slender scroll, his passport from the years of brutal toil and lonely patience in a barren hole.” But Warren’s parents are pushing him to pursue a career he doesn’t want. They see a new life in the city as more desirable than working the stony fields — the grass really is greener on the other side.

In the poem, Alden Nowlan suggests that the parents’ wish to ensure Warren escapes the farm is stronger than their son’s desire to choose his own path in life. Warren doesn’t fight his parent’s decision to send him away to school and off the acreage. “He was saved from their thistle-strewn farm and its red dirt,” they believe. “And he said nothing.” There are two views of the farm in this poem. His parents think of the acreage as a desolate wasteland and Warren sees it as home. While Warren is lucky to have parents who are willing to sacrifice to provide him a better life, it’s a sacrifice he doesn’t want. He should have told his parents how he felt.

In his job at the bank, Warren feels powerless and angry, “like a young bear inside his teller’s cage.” He feels conflicted because he doesn’t want to betray his parents’ choices, but he’s unhappy with his life. His “axe-hewn hands” are wasted, just as a bear’s strength would be if it was caged. Warren feels caged by his city life and he has developed his own desire to escape.

Warren Pryor shows how influential parents can be — in both positive and negative respects. If the poem were to be told from the parents’ point of view it would tell a completely...
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