Where I Come From
In “Where I Come From”, poet Elizabeth Brewster portrays the differences lifestyles between city-dwellers and country-dwellers, with a clear bias towards the latter. Brewster also expresses her belief that people are defined by the place they live in. Vivid imagery, structure, and poetic devices, are used by Brewster to convey the contrasts between city and country life.
Vivid imagery, created by Brewster, conveys the contrasting elements of city and country life. In the first stanza, Brewster describes city life to be monotonous and artificial. The “almost-not-smell of tulips” refers to how city planners install “tidily plotted little squares” of flowers in jest of “spring”. The tidy plots of tulips symbolise the lack of creativity city people have - everything must be in perfect, mathematical squares. The nature is artificial because it is controlled by the people in the city, and is too perfect, rather than natural and rampant. Energy, by default, is disorderly. The paradigm of artificial beauty is reinforced when more “art” is also “tidily plotted” in a “museum” with a “guidebook”. Brewster illustrates the traditional city museum, where art is sparsely hung and presented in a tidy, mathematical manner. The observers of the art are unable to interpret it for themselves, which is why they need “guidebooks” to tell them. Brewster also accuses city people of being conservative and too repetitive, when she paints the classic city scene picture of a “fountain in the center”. On the other hand, “where” she “comes from”, people are more free, and nature is authentic. The “acres of pine wood” paint a picture of an expansive forest, where one can freely roam, versus a dense city. Hens run in “circles”, like hens do, “clucking aimlessly”, because they are free. The “blueberry patches” and “violets” create imagery of authentic, beautiful nature - which they can still have without developed infrastructure or excessive money, ala “battered...
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