21 February 2013
“Nighthawks” by Samuel Yellen is a poem about three individuals who are troubled with life. These individuals are occupying the same space and they appear to be relatively close from each other, but they arein fact disconnected from one another. The speaker sets a hopeless tone to help the reader analyze and really understand the characters’ feelings.This is a poem based on a famouspainting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night.Yellen wants his readersto be able to recognize that caring and affection is the easiest way to a successful and joyful human interaction. The poem’s setting takes place at “the corner of Empty and Bleak” (1) and the time is the “night’s most desolated hour” (2). Empty corners and night hours are an infamous mix. Evil deeds are performed at desolate corners during odd hours of the night. In the corner is “Al’s Coffee Cup or the Hamburger Tower” (3), only cheap and plain shops would stay open till late hours at night and the servers would use language like “be with you in a jiff” (7). Inside the establishment there are “three nighthawks seated there” (6). Yellenuses nighthawks because the characters meet at night and hawks are lonely animals which “in this drama do not speak” (4). Another connotation is to perceive hawks as ferocious and independent creatures or how Yellen better describe them “patrons of life” (6). One of the nighthawks, “[t]he single man whose hunched back we see” (9) challenged his fate when he “put a gun to his head in Russian roulette” (10). Even though he “won the bet” (11) his body posture indicates he is troubled or pensive. “And now he lives his x years’ guarantee” (12). The speaker wants to clarify that the character might off cheated death that time by dying is inevitable. Then, we have “facing us, the two central characters” (13). They “[h]ave finished their coffee, and have lit [a]...
Cited: McMahan, Elizabeth, Susan X Day, Robert Funk, Linda Coleman. Literature and the Writing Process. Ninth Ed. Boston: Longman. 2011. Print
Rafeeq O. McGiveron (1998): Yellen 's Nighthawks, The Explicator, 56:3,148-149
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