Professor Catherine Seltzer
2 February 2011
The Colour Yellow
The color yellow is a very significant part of Rita Dove’s “Thomas and Beulah.” Just simply the sights of the various ways the color yellow is used throughout poems like “Courtship” and “Taking in Wash” and also with the second section title “Canary in Bloom” can completely change the tone and setting of the poem being read. Yellow is frequently portrayed as a soft, warm, and happy color. In pictures, paintings, movies, and writings it’s often associated with joy and cheerfulness, and sometimes even love. As children, we would draw portraits of our family that included a big multi-color house, luscious green grass, and giant bright shining yellow sun with a happy face. Advertisers use yellow to sale the idea of a happy, relaxing vacation by simply including a beach with a bright yellow sun and clear blue sky in the background. The brightness of the color yellow almost puts a smile on your face. Rarely is the color yellow seen in a depressing painting, a bad massacre scene in a play, or described in a gloomy rainy setting of a book. Color can strongly impact or alter a person’s mood, feelings, or perception of a situation. The happiness and joy carry over to one of the early poems “Courtship.” The poem describes how Thomas attempts to woo and seduce Beulah with his gift, his mandolin clinging to his chest, and his money. In the poem he presents Beulah with a yellow scarf. He knows that he can replace it if he wants and believes she will like it. His perception of yellow could mean that he views her as a warm person and the yellow scarf compliments her warmth. The scarf could also represent security and he wraps it around her as her protector. I believe that Thomas feels that he can give her a good life and that this scarf symbolizes the security, warm and love that he wants to give her. In the second half of “Courtship, Diligence” titled “Thomas...
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