I, Icarus

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I, Icarus by Alden Nowlan
Dreams are the perfect worlds for all of us for dreams give us the chances to possess the goals we are craving for that we might not be able to have in reality. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, a famous German writer, artist, and politician, expresses his perspective about dreams: “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move hearts of men”. Through “I, Icarus”- one of the poems in the collection Bread, Wine and Salt by Alden Nowlan, we readers will get to know his childhood’s vivid dream.

Alden Nowlan produces a striking effect that leaves deep impressions in readers’ minds right at the beginning of the poem with its title “I, Icarus”. As to my understanding, the title refers to Greek myth which is about Icarus- the son of the master craftsman. Icarus’s father constructed two pairs of wings from feathers and wax for the purpose of escaping Crete, and also warned him not to fly too close to the sun. Ignoring his father’s caution, Icarus attempted to reach the sun, which resulted the wax to melt and cost him his own life. Through the title’s allusion and Nowlan’s act of putting “I” in front of the name “Icarus”, readers get some hints that this poem might be another story of catastrophic fall caused by over-ambition.

After a few first times reading “I, Icarus”, readers might superficially interpret the meaning to be about a flying dream, yet if we dig deeper, we will be able to comprehend the yearning to reach a superior dimension of Nowland. As a matter of fact, Alden Nowland was born in a small village in Nova Scotia; the constrictions had influenced him to foster the dream of breaking free to seek his own prospects. Nowland reflects back to his childhood and imagines he was flying beyond all the restrictions that had been confining him. Even though fictional elements play the main role in the whole poem, Nowland’s detailed description and firm assertion “There was a time when I could fly. I swear it. “(1), “I rose...
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