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Analysis of “The Catch” by Stanley Kunitz

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The lesson being taught in this poem is that there is a price for everything we have, and knowledge cannot be captured in a “bottle”. The dragonfly is described in the poem as this little delicate creation which is very maneuverable and acrobatic. Less image than thought is saying the dragonfly has very little to show on top where things are obvious, this is an effective simile because people tend to think of bugs as having a very small brains. The dragonfly later on becomes the victim of the father. The child would not suspect that something as little and innocent looking can actually have a catch to it. The dragonfly is being compared to a hidden price is a very effective simile because it can disguise it self and not be found until it is too late. The poem also says “Swoosh went the net with a practiced hand” and the author implies that the father is an experienced man who already ran into something that had a catch to it, he is trying to use the bug as an example to his son to teach him what he learned the hard way.

The dragonfly is killed when it’s captured and that shows how you can kill knowledge when you try to capture it. Killing the knowledge when trying to collect it is the whole catch to it. I can relate to the lesson taught in this poem. I can think of a lot of times when my parents talked to me about something but later that week I’d go and do the exact opposite. For example every winter my mom told me to wear my jacket but I’d just run off outside without it and every winter I would get sick, now that I grew up a bit I understand why she was telling me that. Very little can be learned about life just from words, to really understand something you have to go and try it out yourself. Later on you start understanding why adults tell you all these things that you didn’t want to listen to. When people become adults they try to pass the lessons they learned onto their children who are the exactly the same way their parent were when they were little.

Teachers, professors and educators try to capture everything they know into a text book and pass it on to students but they cannot learn from dry texts alone, to learn something you have to go out and apply what you learned to make the knowledge live inside your head. Knowledge is a lot like powdered milk and water, knowledge is powdered milk and experience is the water. The powder by it self is pretty useless but it contains nutrients, vitamins, calcium and other things you need, water is pretty good by it self just like experience it helps you survive but it’s very plain. However when you mix the two together they create a new great thing, milk and live knowledge which you can apply to your experience and make yourself very constructive and useful in life.

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