Not Waving but Drowning

Topics: Suicide, Meaning of life, Suicide methods Pages: 2 (844 words) Published: April 21, 2006
"Not Waving But Drowning"
When a person first read the poem "Not Waving But Drowning" by Stevie Smith they might think that it is just a simple portrayal of an accident, a person drowning. However after reading the poem a number of times and carefully examining each lines it is easy to find the symbolism, the hidden meaning behind this poem. The inconsistent narrations give a clear idea of several sides of the story and making it easier to understand. With the passers-by and the main character's different point of views it is effortless to uncover a more profound meaning of this poem and why the main character is "Not waving but drowning."

This poem not just about a man who is simply drowning but actually about a man who is committing suicide due to his loneliness. The poem starts right away with which seems like the end because it is describing the main character drowning. However, with the incident being presents first it gives way to questions of why that person is dying and how. Then the narration switches from a passers-by or a news reporter to the main character when it says, "I was much further out than you thought and not waving but drowning." This last sentence in the poem also raises questions why this person who is drowning and not waving for any help? The only logical answer for this is that this is not an accident but something that that person is planning to do at that specific time. There are no other explanations for this kind of situation because if this were to be a real accident, the shock would have taken that person by surprise and regardless if he wants help or not he will wave out of natural reflexes. Along with that, it takes a lot of effort to stay out of the water and this method requires a lot of hand movement but the narrator is not waving at all when he drowns. So once again this has proven that this is not just an accident at the beach but a suicide.

In the second stanza, the narration then switches it back to a passers-by...
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