From Alfalfa’s letter in The Little Rascals, “Dear Darla, I hate your stinking’ guts. You make me vomit. You are scum between my toes. Love, Alfalfa,” to the song Love Stinks by the J. Geils Band, it is apparent that heartache is felt by everyone. It can be experienced and dealt with in countless ways, but its universally-felt agony is what allows poets, singers, and writers to connect with their audiences in such a personal manner. In the poem “Getting Through,” Deborah Pope uses poetic techniques to make a personal experience accessible to a range of audiences. It is a poem of heartbreak that uses the devices of tone, language, structure, and relatability to illustrate the effect love can have on people and how hard it is to give that feeling up, even if it is not returned. The poetic tone of the lyrics in “Getting Through” expresses the inescapable crushed and drawn-out feeling of heartbreak, while also hinting at its refusal to become extinct. “So I go on loving you,…” informs the reader that the heartbroken speaker is confronting the source of his or her pain (14). Unlike many narrators addressing the subject, this crushed soul is not begging to be taken back, but instead wants the oblivious cause to be aware of the uncontrollable and persistent love felt toward him and the torturous pain that has resulted. Unfortunately, as anyone who has ever had their heart broken knows, these words are futile as they go “…hurtling past,/ like a train off its track/ toward a boarded-up station,” (18-20). The speaker knows that this admission of love will not change anything, yet she still feels the need to express herself. There are no hints of hope or of a change of heart. In fact, it seems like the heart has been broken for quite a long time since there is a “deepening skin” of dust and the heart of the recipient is compared to “…a boarded-up station,/ closed for years,” (12, 20-21). The refusal, or possibly the inability, to move...
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