Poem analysis: dolor by theodore roethke
In the English language “dolor” means to be in a state of great sorrow or distress, the poem further extends this definition by describing the melancholy an office job can cause. Loneliness, anguish, mind-numbing repetitiveness, all of these things is what an office worker must deal with on an almost daily basis. The poem gives an understanding of the how the workers feel while doing their jobs, the personification of the office supplies could metaphorical be the feeling of the workers, the long sentences structures could represent the long, boring days office workers have and the formal, diction only gives
Pencils also are seemingly mundane; the first sentence of the poem opens up with "I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils".
In line 7 the "ritual of multigraph, paper slip, coma" is describing the people who work in the reception room, lavatory, and switchboard lonely in the room and the endless process that they do all day, every day.
The poem is split into two sentence structures, the first sentence a long list and the second a long description. The speaker begins the first sentence with "I have known the" and begins to list the miseries of the office workers; the sadness of pencils, the dolor of pad and paperweight, desolation of public places. Then in the second sentence, which begins with “And I have seen”, describes the dust and the things it covers. The dust glazes the pale hair and “grey standard faces” of the workers. The description in that line gives some imagery on what the workers looks like, in fact, it paints the whole setting. Pale hair could mean that the workers are middle-aged or older and “grey standard faces” meaning the workers’ faces are all dull and expressionless. The last line and the lines before that describe what the workers are doing, their supplies and rooms gives the entire setting; expressionless people in a monotonous environment doing repetitive work.
The formal diction in the poem subtlety shows the