Boy at the Window Analysis
By: Richard Wilbur
Patricia A. Murray ENG125 Introduction to Literature
Tara Whitehead – Instructor
February 9th, 2013
Reading Response to a Poem – Boy at the Window by Richard Wilbur
In Richard Wilbur’s poem Boy at the Window, the narrator tells of a boy seeing a snowman left outside in the cold, with darkness approaching, and relates the boys’ feelings for the dangers of the night that the snowman must face. The narrator also illustrates the perspective of the snowman, and it’s feelings for the boys’ fears. I interpret the poems’ theme as…pity for another. It is a lyrical poem in which the author engages ones imagination and produces feelings in its’ reader. It appears to have a songlike quality.
The first element of interest in this poem is setting. Richard Wilbur, the author, begins the poem from the perspective of a boy seeing a snowman “standing all alone”, “in dusk and cold”. The use of this language gives the idea that the boy felt the snowman was lonely and in an uncomfortable, bleak situation. He fears for the snowman. He weeps hearing the wind preparing for “a night of gnashings and enormous moan”. Gnashing, meaning to grind one’s teeth together, normally as a sign of anger, is used here to instill a sense of anger and agony. The “enormous moan” brings to mind loud moaning sounds that are scary to the boy.
The first stanza ends with the narrator talking of the snowman returning the boy “a god-forsaken stare / As outcast Adam gave to Paradise”. This religious reference refers to the boy being in “paradise” while the snowman, compared to Adam, has been cast out into the “non-paradise”. The poem ends, again describing the setting where the boy is as “such warmth, such light, such love”. This language use creates a warm, safe, loving atmosphere or setting for the poem.
Another key element of interest for me was characterization. The two characters, the boy and the
References: Clugston, R. Wayne (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, CA. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/sections/copyright Tiger Snooze. Retrievable at: http://tigersnooze.wikispaces.com/Richard+Wilbur The Free Dictionary by Farlex. Retrievable at: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/lyric+poem Wikispace. Retrievable at: http://hutchinson-page.wikispaces.com/file/view/Poetry+Analysis.pdf English Poetry 23 – Wordpress. Retrievable at: http://englishpoetry23.wordpress.com/2011/10/09/boy-at-the-window-analysis/