November 19, 2008
“October 7, 1996” Analysis #1
In Joe Wenderoth’s poem, titled “October 7, 1996” from the book Letters to Wendy’s, the narrator wonders if there is not an existing place in society like Wendy’s. The popular fast food restaurant is truly just being used as a symbol for all consumer spaces, not as the actual Wendy’s itself. The poem depicts a contemporary mainstream world engorged everywhere with brands, advertisements, and logos that consumers devour. The beginning of the poem questions “Why”, because ironically Wendy’s is everywhere. The realism of the question is “somewhere that is not Wendy’s” cannot not be found, but in the narrator’s mind there is no such place that is not Wendy’s. The narrator knows the reality of Wendy’s is everywhere, and the concept of not having a Wendy’s is impossible. The poems voice asks the question “why” in a cynical way to make to reader realize the truth of Wendy’s being everywhere. The American Culture has been trapped in consumerism from the corporate market based on capitalism. Wenderoth connects the reader to two sides of the hyper-real of the world, one side is the Wendy’s side which is existing, and the other is the fantasy of a place where there is not a Wendy’s. Haunted by the question, the narrator is wondering how come a non-consumer space with no brands, advertisements, and logos are in existence, satirically in reality it is impossible and ridiculous. One can feel that the narrator wants the reader to mentally construct a possible undistorted image of a world that has a “not Wendy’s” located somewhere. The setting of the poem is based in a simple fast-food restaurant which is renowned for selling hamburgers, shakes, and fries, but ironically Wenderoth uses Wendy’s as an icon to represent Corporate America. Wenderoth takes the simplicity of the restaurant, then in a very clever and genius masterminding way he transforms Wendy’s into a powerful and complex...