Analysis of “We Kept a Jarful of Keys”
By Francis B. Tatel
The poem is about two persons in love with each and never thought that their love would fade away as time goes by. But it does. They forgot to reserve something for themselves. But they cannot do anything about their current situation because they have already gone so far, so they better accept the situation and bear it with dignity.
For me the “keys” in the poem refers to the decisions the couple made in their lives while still on the process of courtship and knowing each other deeper. They kept on making and making decisions without contemplating the issue very well. And what is the issue in the poem? It is none other than the most universal theme in literature-LOVE. The couple fell in love with each other and injudiciously decided
to tie themselves to each other by the virtue of marriage although they didn’t know yet each other that much. They didn’t know yet of their commonality of interest and desires; their compatibility. So they married each other. They rushed towards what they completely believed as “kingdom of joy” only to find out they had made the worst choice in their lives. The “keys” also opens the doors leading to their past experiences but they decided not to open the doors, not to use the key. “Let them stay there.” Let us forget our past. We know we they will not affect us. Let us just love each other. Never mind our past. The couple said to each other.
So they gave all to each other. Not thinking to save some for future needs. They lavished on their love to each other. They felt so happy, no problems at sight.
But one day the two woke up in reality! They don’t love each other anymore. No! What they felt before was foolish love. It was not true love. And both were hurt. They don’t know what to do anymore. So they said “let the keys be there” meaning whatever is there, let it us take it. No turning back. As Aristotle had said “A real gentleman bears the accident of life...
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