A Stylistic Analysis of the Red Wheelbarrow

Topics: William Carlos Williams, Poetry, Word Pages: 6 (1745 words) Published: January 30, 2013
The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams

so much depends
a red wheel
glazed with rain
beside the white

I.Abstract: When I read it i think, all things are related to other things, interconnected, so that nothing stands alone. The objects depend upon each other to provide this vivid scene, alone they are commonplace, together they speak volumes. I think of the poem as a painting, by a modern artist, where choice of colour and shape and texture together create a work of art. Oppose practicing the learned rhetoric in poetry writing, Williams finds his subjects in such homely items as wheelbarrows. He believes that localism aline can lead to culture. Imagism finds its full expression in The Red Wheelbarrow, one of the masterpieces of William Carlos Williams. This paper analyses the linguistic features of this poem, including phonological, lexical, syntactic and semantic features, and we can have a more clear idea of this poem.

II.Key words: linguistic features,Semantic feautres, The Red Wheelbarrow,White Chickens


In the "The Red Wheelbarrow" we see a harmonious relationship between an manmade object (reflective of the human world) and nature. The red wheelbarrow sits unused and neglected, while rain seems to wash it clean and make it look brand spanking new. Chickens hang out with the wheelbarrow and keep it company. It almost seems like this wheelbarrow is part of nature. The absence of humans in this scene makes us feel the wheelbarrow's loneliness and makes us appreciate nature for paying attention to the wheelbarrow. Born on September 17, 1883 in Rutherford, New Jersey, William Carlos Williams was a poet who had an immense influence on the course of 20th century poetry. He wrote in varying style and technique and was often radically experimental. His work is fresh and clear, rejecting sentimentality and vagueness. It also reflects emotional restraint and heightens the sensory experience with articulated common speech. Williams's work inspired many poets and many generations to follow. His work is both easy and enjoyable to read. Stylistically, Williams preferred the line over the sentence. Williams was also influenced by many "-isms," two which effected him greatly are dadaism and cubism. He continued his writing until his death on March 4th, 1963. Williams was a highly acclaimed writer, two of his many honors include the National Book Award in 1950 and the Pulitzer Prize in 1963. The Red Wheelbarrow is one of the masterpieces of William Carlos Williams. It is a simplest poem which is composed of one sentence broken up at various intervals. It is truthful to say that “so much depends upon” each line of the poem. This is so because the form of the poem is also its meaning.

IV. Analysis

The poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” is actually a bright colored picture. The contrast of the white chicken beside the red wheelbarrow is a testament to the colors of the world we live in and that fall within the spectrum of our site. The fact that it is glazed with rain takes us back to the smells of youth when a storm finally breaks and everything is fresh and clean with the sun coming back out. The wheelbarrow is a symbol related to the idea of sustenance. The opening line of the poem "so much depends" is indicative to that William Carlos Williams wanted to write a poem which would create in us a thought process in regards to what is really important in life and link us to memories of our senses in the past based on the exposure an individual had to certain things.

Linguistic presentation of the theme

- Phonological features
In terms of sounds, quite apart from its images or its vocabulary, Williams intricately tunes the poem. The first and second stanzas are linked by the long “o” in the words “so” and “barrow” and by the short “u” in the words “much”, “upon” and “a”. “l” and “r”...
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