ENG 125 Journey into Literature
Instructor Douglas Goss
July 28, 2012
The author of this paper decided to choose the poem entitled “The Boxer,” written by Paul Simon and Bruce Woodley in 1968. The author of this paper chose this poem because it is also “a modern rock ballad.” (Clugston, 2010), which is something everyone can relate to. One of the main elements that stuck out to the author is, as (Clugston, 2010) states, “its rhythm is irregular rather than repetitive; its stanzas have varied lengths.” “The Boxer” is a folk rock ballad written in 1968, that reflects the turbulent mood and trials characterized social change in the 1960’s.” (Clugston, 2010). This poem, or song, speaks out to people because it is written in a language that everyone can understand and recognize, also the feelings are something that everyone can relate to simply because it reminds people of a simpler time, the 60’s. In the first verse, Paul is saying that he is just a poor, quiet, boy who is hard headed and set in his ways, so to speak, and a person who hears what he wants to hear; (let’s everything he hears go in one ear and right out the other,) with that being said, he still stands firm in his beliefs and knows what he wants out of life. In the second verse he is talking about how scared he was when he left home and he was just a poor, young boy and about his hard times he had finding somewhere to sleep which was usually on the streets. The third verse was a little different; he is saying how lonely and lonesome he was back then and about how he did some things he now regrets. This is why people can relate to this poem/ballad; because everyone, at one point of their lives, has had some sort of regrets. Everyone can relate to regrets. That is why this poem/ballad reaches out and connects to people. The fourth verse was basically about his regrets that he has later in life about his past and how everyone changes now and again and over time. The fifth verse he talks about wanting to go home where he was comfortable and did not feel like an outsider, and about how he wishes he was gone from where he is, gone back home to live. So far, this whole poem/ballad has been told in first person lament; which occurs when the narrator (describing his or her personal action and thoughts) is a participant in the story. (Clugston, 2010). When he starts the sixth and final verse the point of view changes to third person point of view, which occurs when the speaker is not a participant in the story. It has two forms: omniscient point of view and objective point of view. (Clugston, 2010). The sixth and final verse is the most touching and heartfelt when people can really get the feel of where “The Boxer” is coming from and to connect with people. The whole ballad is about a young boy who left home at a very young age in search of his dream, which was to become a legendary boxer, and he also describes a lot of his ups and downs he encountered along the way, as well as the everyday obstacles in which he encountered, and finally about regrets and some changes he has made since he first left home. Within this poem/ballad there are several couplets; which are a pair of lines that rhyme, as it is in this poem/ballad. (Clugston, 2010). For example, strange and change, home and gone, rest and jests just to name a few. In one sense, the poem/ballad is a form of a lyric poem, which is a brief poem that expresses feelings and imagination; its melody and emotion create a dominant, unified impression as it has rhythm.(Clugston, 2010). The genre of “The Boxer” is poetry and as everyone knows, it is a ballad as well; which means that it is a story that is sung, as stated by (Clugston, 2010). Even though, the strong meaning and inspiration are extremely concrete, there are some metaphors, which is an image that imaginatively compares one thing to another. (Clugston, 2010).
The fighter is a metaphor, and the symbol for which it stands for is strength, strong will, and courage for overcoming all of the obstacles that was threw at him and still coming out with his head held high. This poem/ballad consists of eight stanzas with a total of 33 lines, (without the chorus), with the lines varying, six to eight lines per stanza, which is an arrangement of a certain number of lines, usually four or more, sometimes having a fixed length, meter, or rhyme scheme, forming a division of a poem.(Dictionary.com, 2012). The main element that most people can relate to is the way it is told because the entire poem is told in first person point of view until the last verse which is told in third person point of view. Another fine element is the lyrics to the poem, which is another reason everyone can relate to this poem at some time in their lives. These elements did somewhat affect the author’s reaction to this poem simply because he is telling a brief version of his story which tends to be more appreciated, and understood, and accepted. A brief summary of “The Boxer,” is it is about a young boy who left home at an early age in hopes of one day becoming a fighter , in New York City and all of the things he did just to try to survive and the obstacles he overcome which is what made him the person he is today. This poem/ballad has is strong with a lot of heartfelt meaning behind it. All in all, this is a great poem/ ballad for everyone to read or listen to it.
Clugston, R.W., (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, California. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved July, 28, 2012 at https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUENG125.10.2/ Dictionary.com. (2010). Definition of stanza, retrieved July 28, 2012, Retrieved July 28, 2012 from www.dictionary.reference.com